“Equity Live” kicked off this week with Rev. Dr. Irie L. Session interviewing Rev. Sheila Sholes-Ross and me about Equity for Women in the Church, an ecumenical movement to facilitate equal representation of clergywomen as pastors of multicultural churches in order to transform church and society. Our mission is not only to advocate and network for clergywomen to facilitate access and congregational receptivity, but also to dismantle patriarchal and white supremacist church practices and structures so clergywomen can thrive in pastoral positions.
These are some of the questions that guided our conversation.
- How did Equity for Women in the Church begin?
- What experiences have you two had that paved the way for your founding of Equity for Women in the Church?
- What is the mission of Equity for Women in the Church?
- Why is there still a need for an organization like Equity for Women in the Church?
- Describe Equity’s current projects.
- How can we inspire more men to join the work of dismantling patriarchy so there can be equity for all in church and society?
- What is your vision for the future of Equity for Women in the Church?
- How will “Equity Live” contribute to making this dream reality?
Equity for Women in the Church is partnering with The Gathering: A Womanist Church in creating “Equity Live” with a mission of dismantling the interlocking injustices of sexism and racism that impede clergywomen.
Although the number of women in theological education has increased to almost 40%, only about 10% of pastors of all Protestant churches are women. The percentage of women of color who find places to fulfill their call to pastor is much lower. In many denominations the percentage of women pastors of all ethnicities is lower than 1%. The average compensation of female pastors is much lower than that of male pastors, although clergywomen are more likely to have seminary degrees. “Equity Live” addresses these inequities, bringing change through the power of diverse voices advocating for women in ministry. “Equity Live” will contribute to gender and racial equality in church and society.
Here is a comment from one of our supporters about the need for “Equity Live.”
“For too long women have been silenced in our churches and not allowed equity in leadership positions. It is time for women to be heard and supported to help save our world. Women ‘hold up half of the sky,’ as the saying goes. Hope for better days is here through storytelling of strength, courage, creative ideas of women that can benefit all.”
Upcoming “Equity Live” conversations will include Rev. Dr. Alfie Wines, who initiated events on the theme “I Wish Someone Had Told Me: Women Gifted and Called to Ministry and the People Who Love Them.” Starting with these events and her blog article on the Equity for Women in the Church website, she developed a book titled I Wish Someone Had Told Me: Equity for Women in the Church, scheduled for publication in 2020. The book, with Dr. Wines as editor, will include chapters by clergywomen and clergymen, seminary and university professors, and family members of clergywomen.
“Equity Live” conversations will also include Rev. Andrea Clark Chambers, who created “Calling in the Key of She,” a program of Equity for Women in the Church that provides resources to develop and maintain “female-friendly” congregations who live out their beliefs that God equally loves, calls, values, affirms, and embraces the gifts of all females in the church. “Calling in the Key of She” guides congregations to work toward justice and equality for women and girls, and in so doing to transform everyone. The goal is to move beyond imagining to working to create equitable congregations in order to create a more just world.