In 2009 the ELCA Churchwide Assembly voted to develop a social statement dealing with women and justice.
As a part of the process of developing this statement, a series of listening events are being held throughout the church so that the task force can get input from as many church members as possible about what issues they would like this statement to address.
In order to facilitate communication and build awareness, each synod has individuals trained as Process Builders. Process Builders act as a link between the task force writing the statement and congregations. I am the Process Builder for our synod and have led two listening events so far. I am available to lead a listening event, or just come and speak to your congregation about the statement or process.
We are also fortunate enough to have a member of the task force in our synod, Kit Kleinhans, Professor of Religion at Wartburg College.
“It’s exciting to work together with such a dedicated group of women and men from throughout the ELCA who are committed to justice for everyone in our society” says Professor Kleinhans. She goes on to say:
Many of the ELCA’s existing social statements (like health care, economics, and criminal justice) address social issues in which women are disproportionately disadvantaged. I expect that the social statement on Women and Justice will refer to some of the work that’s already been done, but will also reflect theologically on what it means to take seriously the claim that all people are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) and that in Christ “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female” (Galatians 3:28)
I have been impressed with the level of discussion that has taken place so far at our two listening events (one at Synod Assembly and one at the Synodical Women’s Convention). It is clear this is an important issue to the women who have attended the listening events. I think it is important for men as well and want to encourage you to come to one if you have an opportunity. I am willing to come to conference meetings to lead one. The task force needs to hear from a wide variety of people.
Again, from Professor Kleinhans:
When we talk about sexism (or any other –ism), we’re talking about social structures that systematically privilege some people and disadvantage others, based on categories like gender, age, race, etc. Naming sexism as a sin doesn’t mean that all men are sexist. It means that we all, women and men alike, live in a society in which there’s not a level playing field.
For more information about the Women & Justice visit the website:
Pastor Joelle Colville-Hanson
Director for Evangelical Mission, ELCA