Minister’s June Message
June 01, 2018
When attending the General Assembly on Tuesday 22nd May I joined women in ministry, as well as friends and colleagues, to process up the mound in Edinburgh into the quadrant of New College to pay tribute to women’s role in the church and to honour the women and men who fought for many, many years for women to be accepted as Church of Scotland ministers. I owe all those women and men a huge debt of gratitude.
There are still a very few people who believe that there is no role for women in Church of Scotland ministry; I disagree with them because I believe that women have always played an important role in the history of our Christian faith. The book of Acts and some of Paul’s letters make it clear that the first Christian churches met in homes hosted by woman of faith. In 1 Timothy 2:12, Paul expresses his opinion about women in ministry when he says, “I do not allow women to teach or to have authority over men; they must keep quiet.” Paul personally preferred to practice his faith this way. However, it seems that while Paul preferred woman to keep quiet, Jesus never made that distinction. The story of Easter tells us that women stayed with Jesus at his crucifixion and that they were the first to receive and share the good news of his resurrection. This meant they were the first ministers of the New Testament.
On Wednesday 22 May 1968, the General Assembly passed the deliverance that allowed women to become eligible for ordination to the ministry of word and sacrament on the same terms and conditions as men. This decision changed the Churches Scotland forever. Today, around 30% of ordained ministers in the Church of Scotland are women. On Tuesday 22 May, this year, the Church of Scotland celebrated the historic 50th anniversary of the decision to ordain women as ministers on the exact date of the anniversary.
I feel greatly privileged and humbled to be able to take part in such celebrations as a women minister in the Church of Scotland. I thank God for the faith and courage of those who made my ministry possible for me, by their commitment to the belief that the role of leadership in the Church is not, and was never meant to be, exclusive to one gender.
As this is the final Good Neighbour for a couple of months, I wish you all an enjoyable summer that will refresh, renew and inspire you to play your part in the work of the church, here at Greenbank or further afield, that God is calling you to play your part in.
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