Listening - Gender Justice
Graced listening and beholding
Baptists have been accrediting women in ministry for 100 years. However, despite ordaining women for longer than other denominations, significant challenges still exist for present day Baptist women and we are lagging in equality within some of our practices and structures. In 2020 we are still hearing painful stories, the silencing of women’s voices, misogyny, sexism and outright rejection because of gender. This is not acceptable and is a deep cause for lament.
In 2019, Jane Day was invited to offer sustained input over three years to make progress and to overcome barriers towards greater equality in ministry in Baptist life. To date there has been much progress in equipping and enabling. There has also been an intentional offering of one-to-one and group coaching, as well as creative opportunities for women to serve at a local, regional and national level. The area of most concern is the lack of opportunities for women’s stories to be heard. The Gender Justice Group is exploring opportunities for a deeper listening of their narrative, alongside a focussed piece of theological research.
Cultivating Communal Life:
The presence of a spiritual community can help us to hear God better. In our churches many people actually long for this kind of attention yet there are very few communal practices that cultivate our life together. The reality is we have not paid attention to women’s stories and have either brushed them off as anecdotal or more worrying demanded evidence to back up the painful stories. We are on holy ground and treading gently as we seek to cultivate our communal life in offering safe spaces for women’s stories to be heard.
Circles of Connection:
A weekly practice for women to support intentional connection, openness and mutual support. The purpose of the circle is not to offer solutions to one another or advice, nor is it a place where women join to be fixed. It is simply an hour of conversation, listening to one another, mutual support, and making community. Participants are invited to talk about how they are and to be open and honest as they respond to some or all of these questions:
(a) How are you, right now – in mind, heart, body?
(b) What is most important to you at this moment in time?
(c) What is challenging or difficult at the moment?
(d) Who or what is supporting you right now?
(e) What resources, strengths or qualities are you drawing on?
(f) What do you need or long for at the moment?
(g) What are you learning from answering these questions?
For further information and resources, please see the Gender Justice area of our website
Click here to contact our Gender Justice Group
to find out more.