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One woman’s letter to the College of Presidents

01 Jan

Hope___Breast_Cancer_Awareness_by_allentattoo

The following letter, which was sent to the LCA College of Presidents, expresses one woman’s story and her desire for women’s ordination.  Her story makes plain that the issue is no longer about theology. Current generations clearly long for men to remove the barriers to women’s pastoral leadership.

The College of Presidents
August 2012

I pray…that…words may be given me…Eph. 6:19 (Ed: Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel)

Some helpful advice given to me on retirement was;- maintain an influence in your area of expertise. My area of expertise is teaching but particularly from the mission perspective of Christ’s final command on earth. God’s love has led me into mission and I am amazed at the words and ideas I am given.

When I was not expected to live in 2003 with a serious infection, there was a shortage of Lutheran pastors and so no one available,  so I needed to be a pastor to myself during a long stay in hospital. God was with me all the way (as was my wonderful husband and family and prayer groups all over Australia in different denominations). God worked in me with love and brought healing and even enabled me to minister to staff in the hospital. In an extremely difficult time God was awesome! I was given that experience so I could advocate for women pastors one day. How I would have loved a woman pastor when I was so sick. I feel so sad for women who are dying without that support.

When I had recovered some months later a friend said to me “God has prepared you for jobs to do so you better be ready for what is set for you”.

God has given me people to care for,  but one thing I have been led to is the  Lutheran Women’s Ministry Network because I have felt the aching need for women pastors(there are not enough men to start with!). A German trained woman pastor friend and I presented a paper on Women’s Ordination in Tanunda in the late 1960’s and it was enthusiastically received by both pastors and nonpastors.

Last year when I had cancer a lovely woman pastor came to me in hospital and what a wonderful Spirit filled time that was. I was so happy to meet her again at the TIME TO SOAR Conference in Adelaide in July…..what a blessing! May God grant this blessing to more women.

On Sunday I was saddened to find that 3 more  (45 years old & younger) families in leadership positions left our Lutheran Congregation to a denomination which recognises God’s call to women and men. Lutheran Congregations keep losing  people in this age bracket as they study God’s word and the reality becomes obvious to them. I do praise God who calls women and men and inspires churches who will ordain them. I am sad that the LCA is losing these wonderful women and men.

There is not one Scripture in the Bible that forbids women from preaching, but on the contrary, there are many verses that encourage both men and women to preach the Gospel.I don’t need to expand on this as you all spent more time at the Seminary than I did. Anyway, spreading God’s love is too urgent an issue, to argue about permission when Jesus’ command is clear.

In his letter of August 10th Mike mentions culture and, while it has been Lutheran culture in Australia to have “men only” pastors I believe God is asking us to put aside that cultural belief and obey the command of “Preach the Gospel” Only Satan wins when we maintain our culture of restricting women.

The call to me from God, to be a Christian teacher, has always been so clear and borne such fruit that I know that when God calls women and men to be pastors it is clear to them too. Walking through our busy  Shopping Centre this week the thought came to my mind  “ALL these people…who is bringing God’s love to them?” The immediate answer was “Probably nobody”. How sad that we, the LCA, are closing doors by excluding women from being Preachers of the Gospel.

I have 2 cousins who are pastors. One of them is a man so the LCA ordained him. The other is a woman so she had to leave the LCA to be ordained, although she still has a heart for the LCA. I enjoy her emails recounting the exciting opportunities God gives her as a pastor and also the way the church she is serving is growing because God is blessing her preaching of the word.

I have a son and daughter both called to be pastors. The LCA ordained my son but my daughter will need to go to another denomination, at this point in time, to be ordained. They both serve the same God and God is blessing both of them as they go and tell.

God called me to mission as a young person. We had a lovely woman pastor in our town when I was a child and she was an inspiration.

I spent time in the remote highlands in New Guinea where, as a woman I needed to participate the same as a man…teach, preach etc. for the Lutheran Mission.

In Australia God’s call to me was mostly teaching until I was called as part of a small team, to establish a mission congregation and school in a city. Again, this was no time to opt out of leading worship and sacraments just because I was a woman. God was leading people to us so we all needed to respond and do what had to be done.

I am pleased to read on the LCA homepage “in effect it is people in the pews, rather than church leaders, who determine the direction of our church”. I have sometimes felt that we were being told what to think but this is a God pleasing statement and gives me hope.

One thing that has been puzzling me is why we can’t advertise our Women’s Ministry Conferences in the Lutheran like other things  such as Travel, Funerals, Wine etc. We are happy to pay for the advertisements like the others do. I’m eagerly looking forward to the next conference. Praise God!

 

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9 Comments

Posted by on January 1, 2013 in politics, women's ordination

 

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9 responses to “One woman’s letter to the College of Presidents

  1. Karin

    January 1, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    Thank you for sharing this letter with us. I wonder whether she received any reply from the College of Presidents.

    Karin

     
    • Katie and Martin

      January 1, 2013 at 10:19 pm

      Yes, a considered reply came from Pr Semmler, but it was felt inappropriate to publish it in this forum.

       
  2. Christoph Donges

    January 1, 2013 at 7:45 pm

    I support WO but I don’t know how she can say “There is not one Scripture in the Bible that forbids women from preaching”.

    I am sure everyone reading this is aware of 1 Tim and 1 Cor.

     
  3. qhermit

    January 1, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    Thanks for letting us see this letter. Thanks for sharing the ways that God has used your ministry.

     

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