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Durham Cathedral Door Knocker“Living Testaments:
How Women’s Ministry Renews Ecclesial Imagination for the Church”

Baptist women and Roman Catholic women. Called to ministry in denominations that don’t ordain women. Stories of four women will help me show how their lives are both a living testament to the spirit’s work and a living judgment of the church. They challenge the gendered structures of power and male normativity of the US’s two largest Christian denominations.

Looking forward to giving my paper and being in several days of interesting conversations with men and women from a variety of countries, religious groups and theological perspectives. The Ecclesiology and Ethnography conference at St. John’s College in Durham, UK, is outlined here.

And besides that I’m going to enjoy the cathedral and castles of Durham.

Paper Abstract: 

In 2008 women constituted 15% of U.S. clergy and led 10% of U.S. congregations. The numbers range across denominations, inviting this question: What does women’s entry into ministry (lay and ordained) mean for ecclesiology, the life and doctrines of the church? Findings from two qualitative studies of ministry illustrate more fully how Roman Catholic and Southern Baptist women’s lived experience sharpens the focus on ecclesial meaning. Women called to ministry – lay and ordained – are living testaments to a renewed vision for church, and they are living judgments on harms and shortcomings of the church, and their stories renew ecclesial imagination for the church. Their stories 1) bear witness to situated possibility of the Spirit’s work; 2) expose and challenge the sins of sexism; 3) show everyday dilemmas over resisting and subverting power; 4) reframe doctrine and practice from the margins, renewing ecclesial imagination for the church.