One item that was not fully resolved at the 2012 General Assembly Agenda in Orlando was WOMEN in MINISTRY. Item 15 expressed a general desire to permit women to be fully represented in all roles within the church. It was NOT a gender issue, but rather a leadership one – an issue of ministry and of responsibility, if you will. Coming from a long line of women ministers in the churches, one cannot be impartial to the issues involved in this item. As Bishop Nick Park wrote:
The removal of these outdated and senseless gender restrictions, in my opinion, makes such obvious good sense that there’s not much more I can say on the subject. Needless to say, I will be voting for this item, even though it comes about 100 years too late!
ITEM 15 included the following 5 points of change:
- A pastor’s spouse serving as his or her assistant – again not a gender issue, since we currently have women serving as pastors
- Women serving on a Congregational Trial Board in disciplinary cases – their perspective has been long needed
- Women serving on the Church of God Publications Board – reasonable as 2/3 of members are women
- Women serving on the US Missions Board – perhaps World Missions Board should be added
- Allows women to serve in positions that have until now been restricted only to men
What ITEM 15 is NOT?
- It is not a gender issue, but clearly a leadership one
- It is not a theological issue – even conservative theologians agree with women ministers in the church
- It is not a liberal issue – historically, some of our most conservative ministers have been women
- It is not a cultural issue – although many would like to take it there
It is an issue of choice – the right the make choice and the right to give choice to others.
With all this in mind, should ITEM 15 be revisited in 2018?
How do you think it will benefit the church worldwide?