As Women's Leadership Developer, I assist congregations in developing a theology and practice for identifying, cultivating, and releasing women to use their gifts in the church.
Posted in: The Impact of Re-branding
Thank you for your question Kristen. The brevity of the article doesn't adequately communicate the complexity of our decision. I'll attempt to fill in and clarify a few things. Although it's difficult to convey the tone of the healthy conversations that took place in Council and with the congregation through out this process.
First, it's worth mentioning that we didn't approach this decision with a desire to "get rid of our denominational identity", to be "more appealing", nor "to appear non-denominational". The decision was part of a larger conversation to clearly communicate our commitment to and life in Jesus Christ. We chose to humble ourselves by removing our middle name to be inclusive and accessible to those who didn't grow up in our tradition. The motive for minimizing of our middle name was not an attempt to achieve something better. We lowered ourselves so others could experience the richness of reformed faith.
We are still Christian Reformed; we just don't lead with it. We lead with being followers of Jesus Christ.
I hear you Hilda. You are not alone in your pain and discouragement. This anniversary is giving us an opportunity to learn and grow in our understanding. Change began in 1970 by simply asking a question. Perhaps the question posed to churches through the Yearbook survey will do the same. Thanks for your comment.
Thank you Jill! Thank you for staying connected to people who don't share your perspective, for continuing to ask questions, and for sharing your experience of being blessed by the ministry of women.
Harold, I'm sorry for the mockery you experienced and for the pain it continues to cause. Without a doubt there has been pain inflicted by brothers and sisters on both sides of this issue. We have a lot to learn about the unity Jesus desires for us. May the Holy Spirit empower us to live into these words are from Jesus's prayer in John 17, "I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me" (verses 20-21). Bless you Harold.
Chad, For the sake of unity, Synod 1995 decided to recognize that there are two different perspectives and convictions both of which honor the Scriptures as the infallible Word of God on the issue of whether women are allowed to serve in the office of elder, minister, and evangelist/commissioned pastor. There's no argument that unity is messy, but unity broken when either perspective claims their position is the right and only interpretation of Scripture. I appreciate and share your love for the Word of God, that we have in common.
Thank you Kelly! Your testimony to your wife's calling and gifting makes my heart sing. Willemina's ordination service is the one I reference in the article. My mom (Ellen Van Til) was so excited to witness her ordination at Talbot Street in London. I hope you and Willemina will join us at the Inspire 2022 pre-conference celebrating women's ordination and the men and women who support us and make it possible (more details will be forthcoming).