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Second Annual Women in Leadership Gathering Held

June 12, 2018
Women shared a liturgy by candlelight.

Women shared a liturgy by candlelight.

Carol Bremer-Bennett

About 30 female church leaders celebrated the history of women in the Christian Reformed Church while attending Synod 2018. This was the second time such a gathering was held.

“We named courageous women from the past, present, and future of our denomination,” said Denise Posie, the CRC’s director of leadership development for women and ethnic ministry and the organizer for both years’ events. “We can’t neglect the history.”

Posie asked the women to share what God was “stirring up in their ministry.” This included ordained ministry, but also stories about leading as elders, deacons, agency directors, and other types of leadership.

“There was the feeling of ‘you belong here, you’re important, you have a voice,’” said Carol Bremer-Bennett, the World Renew-U.S. director.

The group then walked outside and read a liturgy together by candlelight.

Posie came to synod to have conversations about women in ministry, she said. Women’s leadership is, she believes, “the greatest challenge in our denomination.”

This is, in part, because the Christian Reformed Church in North America remains split on how it feels about women in ordained ministry positions. Currently, of the 819 churches that have reported, 224 (27%) do not have any women in council, 174 (21%) have women deacons, and 421 (51%) have women as both elders and deacons on council. There are also 149 female pastors, 101 of them ordained as ministers of the Word.

“When [past synods] agreed to hold two positions on women in office, we didn’t think about, how do we live that out?” Posie said. “There is lots of work that needs to be done. It begins with love, humility, and a willingness to do the work.”

Posie wants to honor and celebrate all the ways that women serve and lead in their churches, not only on council. She also wants to bring together a team of people, some of whom are for and others against women in office. She hopes to have them meet regularly to “hold these tensions in ways that honor God.”

Meanwhile, she is planning a special celebration for 2021, which will be the 25th anniversary of the first female ordination in the CRC.

“The story of women in ministry is one that is still being told,” said Posie on Friday night after delegates watched a short video outlining the history of women’s leadership in the CRCNA. “Each one of you is part of God’s plan for building the church by using your God-given gifts for his glory. I’m glad we’re on this journey together.”

For continuous coverage of Synod 2018 including the live webcast, news, video recordings, photos, reports, liveblog, social media links, and more visit