A Mistake to Assume, Rather than Seek to Understand
By Jen Isaac, Morweena, Man.
I recognize the frustration of those who feel held back by EMC policies in regards to women in pastoral roles. However, I am saddened and disappointed by how quickly we assume the worst of our brothers and sisters in Christ who disagree with us.
I have heard it said that in the discussion of women in leadership we need to keep two things in mind. Egalitarians don’t have their beliefs because they are throwing out Scripture, and complementarians don’t have their beliefs because they want to “keep women down.”
If you believe women shouldn’t be pastors because you believe the Scriptures say this, that is not sexism. You just interpret Scripture differently than egalitarians. If you have this belief because you feel women are inferior, that is sexism. It’s about the heart. We damage the church when we attack each other instead of trying to understand each other’s hearts.
Deeply Concerned with Ministerial Decision
By Aberdeen EMC Executive Committee, Winnipeg, Man.
The Aberdeen EMC congregation believes in a God that welcomes everyone to the table and affirms each person for their gifts regardless of gender, ethnicity, country of origin, disability or sexual identity.
As a congregation, we embrace this inclusive spirit and have been blessed over the years by several woman pastors called from our midst, as well as many other women who led—and continue to lead—our congregation with humility, wisdom, and discernment. Given this, we are deeply concerned with the decision of the EMC Ministerial to continue to refuse to recognize the leadership and bless the ordination of women pastors.
The Aberdeen congregation has been a part of the EM Conference for many years, and we have valued our relationships with the conference and our sister churches. For this reason we have not always spoken up when we should have. We need to speak up now. We want to bless each church and the conference as a whole as it seeks to be true to its calling. We hoped that our sister churches could extend the same blessing to us, and others like us. With this most recent decision, it seems that this is unlikely to happen.
To continue to deny women the opportunity to fully use their gifts to further the work of the church is contrary to our understanding of who we are called to be as followers of Jesus, and we are troubled and disappointed with this action.
Women Need Their Voices Heard
By Suzanna Hopcraft, Winnipeg, Man.
In her July 2021 editorial, Rebecca Roman stated, “Those with the most to lose don’t really get a say in the outcome.” It is quite the opposite of Proverbs 31:8–9 where the Bible talks about speaking up on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves.
In this case, because only the credentialed ministers can vote and the majority of those members are male, it means the people (women!) that need their voice to be heard are not being heard. Through this vote, it seems women like Teresa Enns Zehr are told that they are not fully capable as pastors because of their gender, and therefore cannot be ordained or have their votes count at Ministerial meetings.
It is a contradiction to have the Conference say that they can only give those lead positions to male pastors and yet say that each church can decide for themselves. The BLO cannot support both egalitarian and complementarian views at once, as they seem to be agreeing with the egalitarians through their statement. Not every woman should have a leadership position, but neither should every man have a leadership position if he is not gifted in that area.
Jesus was all about empowering and enabling people to use their gifts, and in this matter it seems as though the Conference is determined to not enable and empower believers in their gifts.