Monday evening, during Synod 2018 on the Calvin College campus, thirty women of multiple generations sat in a circle celebrating their giftedness in Christ Jesus. This was a time to celebrate CRC women leaders of the past, present, and future.
It has been a journey. The older women in the circle remember a time in the past when they gathered at synod as observers, pray-ers, courageous champions for a cause that they never thought would be fully realized in their lifetime. Many tears have been shed on this journey - tears of pain, tears of disappointment, tears of conviction, and tears of hope for the next generation of girls and women.
The young women seated in the circle are that next generation. They were barely toddlers when the tears of their predecessors were shed. And now, in this circle, in this moment, new tears are shed - this time by young women planning to enter seminary, ready with eager expectation to step onto a new path of leadership in the CRC that is open to them. These are tears of joy! Joy for the opportunity, joy for the humble privilege of developing and using their God given gifts in ministry, and the sheer joy of belonging in this circle of witnesses and participants in this journey.
For those of us more ‘senior’ members of the circle it was truly an opportunity to see what God has done since 1973, when the first synodical committee was formed to study women’s leadership in the CRC. Denise Posie, Director of Leadership Development for Women’s & Ethnic Ministry, asked if this was a ‘kairos’ moment. Wikipedia states that Kairos (καιρός) is an Ancient Greek word meaning the right, critical, or opportune moment. Yes! For the women gathered this was a kairos moment. It was a moment to witness what many thought was impossible - the opportunity for the full use of gifts in the CRC by all of God’s children - both male and female. It was a moment to bless the next generation of women leaders as they embark on their journey of faith. This was a moment to realize that God has brought us to this place - the circle is being completed - and God alone has done this wonderful thing! We may not have fully arrived, but we have seen answers to prayer, promises fulfilled, God’s kingdom advancing.
The Spirit-filled, momentous evening ended outside in the darkness under the stars, participants again forming a circle, each lighting a candle for all of the women, past, present, and future who have served and will serve God in the CRC. Holding this light representing hope, partnership, and participation in the gospel we sang, “My friends may you grow in grace and in the knowledge of our God and Savior. To God be the glory, now and forever, now and forever, amen!”