Women in church work

"Doing Theology”: A Phenomenological Exploration of Knitting in the Lives of Contemporary Mennonite Women

Author
Gwen Ann Gustafson-Zook
Abstract
This research project explores the theological meaning in knitting for a small group of contemporary Mennonite women. Using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis, including a five-week focus group (Knitting Circle) and intensive interviews, the study validates knitting as embodied theological practice. This research expands understanding of “doing theology” to include making things as a means of embodied theology, thus adding breadth, balance, and substance to the experience of doing theology. The results of this study promote an understanding of lived theology that celebrates creativity and embodied practice as significant and realistic expressions of faith as well as a means of doing theology.

Perspectives on sexism : a study of the role of women in male- female relationships

Author
Franklin Mizzi
Abstract
This project is designed to provide evidence that an understanding of the relationships between men and women which are based on superior-inferior positions, and that women are subordinate to men cannot be validated.

Chapter One presents perceptions of power from a purely social science perspective and from a theological perspective.

Chapter Two investigates some sections of the Old and New Testaments, and some formative theologians who have had great influence on various Christian belief systems, to determine if these sources favor the dominance of men over women.

Chapter Three is devoted to how women see themselves in the current situation in society, in the church, and in marriage. Some feminist authors and social scientists who discuss equality of the sexes or the lack of it are given the opportunity to state their cases.

Chapter Four is a presentation of three case studies in which various psychotherapeutic models were used in thecounseling sessions. This chapter demonstrates the impact of the abuse of power, and suggests that correcting this misuse of power gives hope of establishing the solidity such unions should have.

Chapter Five is a series of summary reflections based on the project as a whole, with particular attention to the three case studies. The vulnerable sharing of power in a loving way does not diminish the bonds of marriage. In fact, the bonds of marriage are strengthened to weather storms when there is vulnerable sharing of power.

The Psychological Impacts of Abortion in Women and a Ministry Model to Develop Restorative Care in the Church Through Biblical Counseling

Author
Jenifer Christine Wakefield D.Ed.Min.
Abstract
January 22, 1973, opened the door for legally obtaining abortion upon demand. This legal decision allowed women from all levels of society to have abortions. The psychological impacts of abortion touch the local church as four out of ten women who have chosen abortion attend a church. Planned Parenthood [PP], the world’s largest abortion provider—reports 43 percent of all women will experience abortion at least once by forty-five years of age.
The American Psychological Association [APA] denies the existence of psychological distress after abortion. The reader will soon discover the contradictory nature of the 2008 APA report and the stance of the Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion [TFMHA] whether or not abortion causes a negative psychological impact. Through specific research, the project will show that women who choose abortion and experience adverse effects need to be able to turn to the local church, and the local church needs to have trained leaders in restorative care ministries to help post-abortive women. This project will reveal the links between abortion and negative psychological impacts and possible long-term physical and emotional issues. Finally, this project will suggest a ministry training model for leaders in the church through biblical counseling.
Chapter 1 shows the history of abortion and its impacts on women. Chapter 2 contrasts how the world and evangelical church care for post-abortive women. Chapter 3 reveals the results of an anonymous survey of ministry leaders and why a need exists for biblical counseling in the church. Chapter 4 explains why discipleship and biblical counseling are needed for women. Finally, chapter 5 presents a training model on how to help post-abortive women in the church through biblical counseling.

THE BINARY CHURCH: THE IMPACT OF GIFT REJECTION ON THE BASIS OF PATRIARCHAL GENDER IDEOLOGY

Author
Vanessa Bickle D.Min.
Abstract
Refusal of gifts as a result of stereotypical gender biases based on patriarchal ideologies negatively impacts women and men in the service of the church. Through qualitative and quantitative methods, it was recognized that ecclesial practices like role limitations, gender-based ministry, and forced identities contribute to experiences of exclusion, shame, and potentially gender incongruence. The failure of church leaders to recognize and eliminate these practices leads to the estrangement of women from the church and from God. Rigid gender normativity and the false association of non-stereotypical gender behaviors with the morality of sexuality prevents the church from being a community pointed toward God with its doors open to all those seeking refuge. Ecclesiastical essentialism is proposed as a transformative model that allows men and women to fully engage in the life of the church today without concern for unyielding gender binaries, serving the church as God intended when male and female were created in the image of God. Accompanying methods for reconciling detrimental ecclesial practices are provided.

Enhanced women's leadership in Maasai churches by the Bible Women Training in Longido District in Tanzania

Author
Kyung Sik Bae
Abstract
"The purpose of this project is to burgeon women's leadership of Maasai in the ten churches established in Longido district in Tanzania. Women's leadership plays a pivotal role in the evangelization of Maasai. I would refer this model to the Bible Women that is manifested in the history of World Mission, especially in the early days of the Korean Mission era, which has a powerful effect in the mission field. Most women in Africa are reduced in the value of women by the male-dominated cultural patterns. Furthermore, women of Maasai are limited to pregnancy, childbirth, and nurturing by the idiosyncratic social status and role established by traditional culture. Due to this influence of African culture, women's role is reduced even in the church and is regarded as less important than men. Just as the sex ratio of all churches in the world is much more women, Maasai churches in Longido are filled with women, and the women sustain the church. This project uncovers that Maasai women are restoring the image of God through which they are constructing the women's role in the church as well as in the community." -- Leaf [2].

“FAITHFUL TO HIS PROMISES”: GOD’S CALLING OF STARRY HASMATALI AS AN HISTORIC INDO-TRINIDADIAN MEMBER OF THE CHURCH OF GOD IN TRINIDAD AND CANADA

Author
Duane Sterling Sims M.A.
Abstract
This paper is concerned with the case story of Starry Hasmatali, who was raised in Trinidad and immigrated to Canada: first to Toronto and then to Moose Jaw. I have decided to interview her in particular, because she was an integral member of an historic Indo-Pentecostal family in the Church of God (Cleveland TN), in Trinidad. With her late husband, Edward D. Hasmatali, they brought the Church of God (CoG) to the island, and were deeply involved in leadership training and church planting.

Indo-Trinidadian Pentecostalism seems to be somewhat of an overlooked area of academic study, thus in interviewing Starry, I will seek to uncover their experiences in ministry in Trinidad and Canada, particularly in relation to their historic connection to the Church of God. I have also chosen to concentrate upon Indo- Trinidadian Pentecostals, since they comprise a significant section of the population of that country.

Empowerment through storytelling : the story of the patriarch Jacob as a life-transforming experience for women

Author
Elena Melnikova
Abstract
The project responds to women’s hesitance to accept leadership in church regardless of numerous examples found in Methodist heritage. Data analyses indicated that women need empowerment coming from a Bible story interpretation, its personal appropriation and self-awareness gained through sharing stories. The author wrote from the pluralistic ministry perspective and used feminist theology and the Old Testament story of the patriarch Jacob to empower women through storytelling to take on leadership in ministry. The project curriculum addressed questions of calling, promise, growth, conversion and maturation, and could be widely applied in the church and seminary education.

[Note about entry: Abstract submitted to the Atla RIM database on behalf of the author. The text appears in its entirety as it does in the original abstract page of the author’s project paper. Neither words nor content have been edited.]

Divine imagery in the spiritual lives of women lay ministers

Author
Esther H Sanborn
Abstract
Currently, the majority of lay ministers in the U.S. Catholic Church are women; wisdom can be gained from experience of women who have persisted long-term in lay ministry. Divine imagery in the spiritual lives of twelve women lay ministers from greater Chicago was explored through qualitative interviews. Using practical theology methods, findings of this ethnographic research was engaged with dialogue partners from Christian tradition and contemporary disciplines--Teresa of Avila's The Interior Castle, psychology-spiritual development theories, and feminist theological perspectives. From these mutually critical conversations emerged implications for the formation of lay minsters and proposals for ongoing praxis.

A course designed for Christian women unpacking the spiritual gifts for service

Author
Leonette Y Lewis
Abstract
This research project designed a spiritual gifts curriculum for Christian women. The project evaluated the effectiveness of a four-week seminar in educating Christian women on the topic of spiritual gifts. This course assisted the women in the discovery of their spiritual gifts and aided in identifying ministries in which they were gifted to serve. This course of study focused on spiritual gifts and their functions for women who may or may not have known of their spiritual gifts and may or may not have served in ministries or were serving in ministries outside of their spiritual giftedness in the church. By taking thirty Christian women, ages nineteen and older of various church denominations through this course of study, the women gained knowledge of spiritual gifts. A pre-test/post-test was administered to the students to gauge their knowledge of spiritual gifts before and following instruction. This data revealed an increase in knowledge of spiritual gifts. Also, a spiritual gifts assessment was administered to assist in the discovery of their spiritual gifts, and the one-on-one ministry interviews aided in identifying other ministries in which the women were able to serve.

Discovering the primary hindrances women face in fulfilling their call to ministry

Author
Kristen N Caldwell
Abstract
The purpose of this project was to discover the primary hindrances that women face in fulfilling their call to ministry. This was done by constructing a survey that was bases primarily off of 11 themes that surfaced in the contemporary literature. A total of 75 surveys completed by women clergy (senior pastors, assistant pastors, ministries of youth and children, professors, chaplains) in 18 different denominations were analyzed. Out of all 24 statements, all 11 themes were hindrances for at least 15 women. For 19 statements, at least 1 in every 3 women dealt with the hindrance presented.
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