I’m asking for your cooperation today. First a question about women in ministry and then some guidelines for participation. The question: Why is it that, in denominations that have chosen to ordain women, ordained women are not being appointed or called to churches of 350 or more members? Now the guidelines:
First, I don’t want this post to turn into a debate about whether or not women should be ordained. I know some of you think that women should not be ordained. If you are tempted to write in something like “Because God doesn’t want women ordained,” please don’t. This post will be one for you to watch and listen to, or choose not to read; it might be good for some of us to hear how others think about these matters.
Second, if you participate in a denomination that does ordain women, I’m particularly interested in what you think of the article in the NY Times about this topic. I will make a few points to generate discussion, but do read it if you can and then come back and let us know your thoughts.
Third, I’m very much interested in what you (if you participate in an ordaining-women denomination or are open to such) think; and I hope my readers who disagree with women ordination will listen to what these others think.
Fourth, I’m especially interested in why this is the case in the Evangelical Covenant Church, the sponsoring denomination at North Park University.
Some facts from this article:
“Women now make up 51 percent of the students in divinity school. But in the mainline Protestant churches that have been ordaining women for decades, women account for only a small percentage â?? about 3 percent, according to one survey by a professor at Duke University â?? of pastors who lead large congregations, those with average Sunday attendance over 350.”
” People in the pews often do not accept women in the pulpit, clergy members said. â??Itâ??s still difficult for many in this culture to see women as figures of religious authority,â? said the Rev. Cynthia M. Campbell, president of McCormick Theological Seminary, a Presbyterian seminary in Chicago.
The Rev. Dottie Escobedo-Frank, pastor of Crossroads United Methodist Church in Phoenix, said that at every church where she has served, people have told her they were leaving because she is a woman.
At a large church where she was an associate pastor, a colleague told her that when she was in the pulpit, he could not focus on what she was saying because she is a woman. A man in the congregation covered his eyes whenever she preached.”
Women are now in major positions in denominational leadership and in the academic community, but are not finding their way into the local church pastorates of larger churches.
NY Times Article: By the way, the picture is of Alise Barrymore, our former campus pastor, and at Emmaus Community church where I recently preached. What a great church she is co-pastoring!