The last month was filled with events and conversations about egalitarian theology and gender justice. Our team was encouraged to meet so many people who are stepping forward and boldly advocating for women at all levels of church leadership. Here is a short recap that we hope will encourage you as well.
FEBRUARY 15 – Sydney, Australia
Gail spent an afternoon with Bev Murrill and Marg Mowczko, two strong advocates for women in leadership. Bev is a founder of the Kyria Network, which started about the same time as The Junia Project. (Fun fact: Kyria gifted us a portion of their conference income, and the amount covered the room rental for our Sarah Bessey event last fall.) Bev served with Christian Growth International before relocating to Australia to continue her work with leadership development.
Marg is the founder of Newlife, a website providing materials on Christian theology, church history, and gender equality. Marg’s articles are scholarly yet accessible and easy to understand. We constantly use Marg’s work as a resource for The Junia Project. As we shared our experiences we marveled at how God is using each ministry to support the growing egalitarian movement. It was fun to meet these mission partners in person, and the time was much too short!
FEBRUARY 18 – Azusa, CA
As part of her job with the Wesleyan Holiness Consortium, Kate helped coordinate a conference for Southern California Pastors and Leaders. She also participated in a panel on “women in ministry” that called attention to the WHC’s commitment to support women at all levels of church leadership. The group of 200+ pastors was overwhelmingly supportive.
Favorite moment? When Pastor Larry Walkemeyer stood up and encouraged everyone to actively champion women in ministry leadership, not simply support it.
FEBRUARY 20 – Glendora, CA
Kate serves as the coordinator for the WHC Freedom Network, a group of abolitionists in various Wesleyan denominations. In February Dr. Mimi Haddad, President of Christians for Biblical Equality, gave a presentation to the group and led a discussion about the importance of egalitarian theology to abolition work. The talk greatly encouraged the group and helped them think about how to incorporate an egalitarian worldview into their anti-trafficking work.
Katie snuck over before the start of the meeting and we got to talk to Dr. Haddad about The Junia Project and how much we love CBE 🙂
FEBRUARY 21 – Los Angeles, CA
Kate attended The Justice Conference and wanted to share two highlights:
At the pre-conference, Dr. Mimi Haddad presented “Cultivating a Biblical Worldview on Gender: Man and Woman Renewed in Christ.” This woman is incredible! Her presentation gave the biblical basis for gender equality and underlined the importance of this worldview to justice work. Her research is incredibly important to the conversation about justice, and gave all in attendance a firm foundation going into the conference weekend.
At the main conference, Eugene Cho spoke about how Jesus treated “outsiders,” highlighting the woman at the well. He also pointed out that the mistreatment of women is the oldest injustice in the world, and that the Church has contributed to this injustice.
I was brought to tears and the crowd cheered when Cho yelled “LET WOMEN PREACH! LET WOMEN LEAD!” It was a great moment! I am so thankful for Cho and his courage to be the only main session speaker to talk outright about gender injustice in the Church.
FEBRUARY 27 – Azusa, CA
The Junia Project presented “Gender and Calling in the Church” with Shauna Niequist. Katie and Kate hosted the evening, with help from Karen Winslow of Foothill Community Church, Leslie Wickman of APU’s Center for Research in Science, and Elaine Walton, Director of the Women’s Resources Center at APU. Over 300 people attended. Shauna did an amazing job speaking about her mother Lynne Hybels, and her journey to finding her calling in the Church. She also gave practical advice both to women going into ministry, and to men on how to support women in ministry.The event was a huge success! Thanks to all of you who participated. (For those who weren’t able to attend, Shauna blogged on this topic here.)
MARCH 7 – Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Finally, Kate and Gail were invited to the Salvation Army College for Officer Training at Crestmont. Captain Annalise Francis was a tough act to follow. She gave a fascinating lecture on egalitarianism and traced its connections to SA founders William and Catherine Booth. Kate then presented The Junia Project as a resource for ministry leaders. We were so impressed with the caliber of both the students and the professors. Thanks to Major Tim Foley for the invitation!
We’d love to hear about what’s been going on in your area. Please feel free to share any egalitarian updates in the comments!