The Christian Church is in urgent need of reform. At the Threshold, with your help, is demanding that Christian leaders restore dignity to women at all levels of ministry and membership. Join the effort now by signing the online petition at change.org. The full text of the petition is at the bottom of this article. Go to change.org and add your name to the movement. Then spread the word — the petition only grows if you share it. Who will you ask to sign it today?
Women once held a much higher position in the church. The book of Acts and the epistles testify to women serving as missionaries, church leaders, deacons, prophets and apostles. But as the church became a powerful institution rather than a persecuted minority, women’s roles were suppressed. The church has worked shamefully hard to maintain a two-tiered system in which women are second-class Christians. Although women’s status differs in various Christian traditions and denominations, the subjugation of women in the Church is evident in nearly every expression of Christianity. In some congregations, women must cover their heads and remain silent during worship. Even in churches where full leadership participation is open to women, studies show that female clergy are more likely to be assigned to declining churches in rural areas, and more likely to occupy “associate” rather than “senior” positions, resulting in a gender pay gap.
Two egregious offenses have dominated the news this year, highlighting the need for reform: The Church of England recently voted against women bishops, and the Vatican publicly attacked its own nuns. Roman Catholic nuns in the United States have come under fire for supporting issues like women’s ordination that go against the Vatican.
Text of petition below. Please sign this petition at change.org.
“There is neither Jew or Greek, there is neither bond nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
St. Paul to the newly formed church, Galatians 3:28
Nuns stand admonished by the Vatican hierarchy for their ministries on behalf of justice, peace, and compassion.
Women in the Church of England, in a November vote, were denied the opportunity to serve as bishops.
These are but recent examples of the subjugation of women by the institutions of the church. This failure of the church must be addressed. We ask you to join together from across boundaries of denominations, nation-states, and faith communities to admonish the leaders of The Christian Church!
We call on the leaders of the church — and of all churches — to restore full human and Christian dignity to women at all levels of ministry and membership. Please sign this petition now, and forward it on to everyone you know who might join us in signing it.
We use the word “restore” with intentionality, for we must restore the roles that were present at the threshold. The first evangelists were women. Acts and the epistles testify to women serving as missionaries, church leaders, presbyters, deacons, and apostles. But the increasingly powerful institution of the church caved in to the patriarchal culture of the Hellenic Roman Empire and suppressed women in all but subservient and marginalized roles. The church has worked shamefully hard to maintain a two-tiered system in which women are second-class Christians. Although women’s status differs in various Christian traditions and denominations, the subjugation of women in the church is evident in nearly every expression of Christianity.
Take our two recent examples:
- Nuns in the United States have come under fire for supporting issues like women’s ordination and for engaging matters they regard as issues of justice and peace. The Roman Catholic Church does not ordain women as deacons or priests, much less bishops. Bishops who ordain women and priests who speak in favor of women’s ordination have been subject to censure and the stripping of their sacred orders.
- In November, the Church of England upheld its ban on consecrating women as bishops, lacking six votes (in the House of the Laity) to make a 2/3 majority in all three houses (Bishops, Priests and Deacons, Laity) but it was approved by 42 of 44 dioceses. Barring women from the episcopate has no theological basis, and is inconsistent with the Church of England’s ordination of women to the priesthood.
The world and the churches of the world are in a transitional period in history. Now is the time to add your voice and foster the spirit of reform in your life and your faith. We feel women should be once again treated as equals in the church, and regain the right to work in all churches at the same levels as men.
Please sign this petition and forward it to everyone you know. We will send this petition with your signature to the Pope and every Cardinal, the incoming Archbishop of Canterbury and every bishop in the Anglican Communion, Southern Baptists and all other mainline Protestant denominations, Greek and Russian Orthodox, and many others. If you wish us to send the petition to a particular institution, group, or person, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.