“There are practical obstacles to women during intervals of pregnancy, giving birth and nursing, of which the female employees usually take extensive leave from their employment. Being occupied in priestly work may cause complete negligence in the role of a housewife and in rearing of children.”
I am a woman, a mother, and an ordained minister.
I have also been deeply involved with the work of ecumenism for nearly twenty-five years.
There are two main areas of ecumenical work. The first is the work that different churches and traditions can do together as Christians witnessing to our shared faith – work on justice issues, social issues, and mission. This work has often been referred to as the “life and work” side of the ecumenical movement.
The second area focuses on working together to overcome the doctrinal and structural divisions that separate us from one another. There are considerable theological differences between different traditions about how we understand the meaning of communion/eucharist, for example. There are also considerable differences about how we understand the practice of ministry, specifically, who can be ordained to serve as ministers in the church.
For me, the theological differences that prevent us from being able to share the cup and the bread together are painful markers of the ongoing divisions among Christians. But when it comes to the issue of ordination and ministry – as an ordained woman, the division is not only painful, it is personal.
Continue reading What Motherhood and Ecumenism Have in Common
In the mountains of Romania, nestled amidst chickens, peacocks, horses, dogs, and a lovely pair of domesticated rabbits, forty-five theologians, biblical scholars and church leaders have met together for the past week to talk about how to move together toward Eucharistic fellowship and the visible unity of the Church.
Representatives from Roman Catholic, Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist, Anglican, historic Peace churches, and for the first time an official representative from the Pentecostal tradition have come from thirty-one countries to talk together about the issues that divide our churches and to seek together ways to be the church together in the world.
In the midst of fragmentation, denominationalism, and a wide range of practices and beliefs among Christians around the world, the question of the “unity” of the Church has been an ongoing passion and concern for many Christians. Based in the belief that we are called to be one Church under Jesus Christ, one of the themes of the modern ecumenical movement has been to explore the question of how the churches might work together toward “visible unity.”
Continue reading What Does “Visible Unity” Look Like?
The ecumenical movement and me
Growing up as a cradle Presbyterian and a preacher’s kid, Presbyterianism was my sociocultural world. When my father got angry with me or my sister, he would often preface his remarks with the exasperated endearment, “Child of the covenant!”
As an adult, I asked him why he did this. He explained that it was his reminder to himself of the sacred nature of his responsibility as a parent and of the vows he had made at our baptism. What it taught me was that I wasn’t just his daughter, I had a larger family, a covenant family—and that our baptismal vows were a lifelong commitment.
Continue reading Why I’m Ecumenical
[third in a series of posts addressed to understanding denominations and ecumenism]
What would you die for?
To save your children? To save your spouse? To ensure world peace? To promote your religion? Would you die rather than renounce your beliefs? Which ones? As we enter Holy Week, I often think about Jesus’ death and try to figure out what to make of it.
Continue reading On Death and Denominationalism