Archive for March, 2015

The Women Who Follow Jesus

6 comments Written on March 31st, 2015     
Filed under: Testimonies and Stories

Corrie Gustafson is an ordained ECC minister who currently serves as the pastor to women at Peninsula Bible Church in Palo Alto, California. She is the PSWC liaison to Advocates for Covenant Clergy Women (ACCW) and is a regional coordinator for Advocacy for Victims of Abuse (AVA). Corrie blogs regularly at 

Gustafson, Corrie_crEven though 2,000 years have passed between Jesus’ death and my birth, I want to do anything and everything I can to enter into his story. Following the church calendar and observing Lent have become valuable spiritual practices for me. They help me grow closer to Jesus.

During Lent I fast more and pray more. I read the Gospels with the attentiveness of an actress taking up the script (and the role) of a lifetime. How I wish I were an eyewitness of Jesus Christ! Careful reading, a healthy imagination, and the Holy Spirit have become a portal into my savior’s world.

As I’ve joined Jesus’ story this Lenten season, I’ve found myself zeroing in on the women – where they are, what they are doing, and what emotions they display. As a woman, a pastor, and a writer, I’m often disappointed that we don’t have a gospel account penned by a female disciple. After all, “Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs.” (Mt. 27:55)

Jesus had many more than 12 disciples, a fact which we too often forget. Remember that he sent out 72 disciples to proclaim the coming of the kingdom of God! I picture bands of disciples spreading out from Jesus like concentric circles. The women who followed Jesus and cared for his daily needs were certainly near the center circle. Whether or not they were formally commissioned among the 72, I imagine many women were overcome with the joy of the Lord. I picture them breaking away and hurrying back to their villages and families to share all that they had seen and learned at the rabbi’s feet. Continue Reading »

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The Ongoing Struggle

4 comments Written on March 24th, 2015     
Filed under: Resources, Testimonies and Stories

Evelmyn Ivens was born in Mexico and moved to the United States during her teenage years. She graduated from North Park Theological Seminary in 2013 with a MA in Theological Studies and works at the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) in Chicago. Evelmyn has lived in Los Angeles, CA, Washington, DC, and Chicago, IL, enjoys traveling and learning about other cultures. She’s passionate about issues of immigration, hunger, poverty, and human trafficking.

Evelmyn photo I’m one of those people who get to read news from Facebook and/or Twitter, thankfully the people I’m friends with or who I follow in social media post and share interesting things, and actually good reads most of the time. So the other day I came across a post from and one of their most recent campaigns poverty-is-sexist. The statement reads: “Being born female in one of the world’s poorest countries means your life will be harder, simply because of your gender. Unlocking the full potential of girls and women wouldn’t just transform their own lives, or even their families’ – it could help end extreme poverty for good.” UN Women also launched a similar campaign not too long ago called heforshe, “Men raising their voice for change! The fight against gender inequality is a battle to end poverty, violence against women and promote women’s economic empowerment.” This month the White House announced the initiative, letgirlslearn  through USAID (United States Agency for International Development), a program that would provide girls with an opportunity of education around the world.

On the one hand it is encouraging to see these campaigns and programs not only from international NGOs but also from countries like the US.  We need those resources especially in countries where child marriage is still a reality. On the other hand, it fills my heart with sadness, that in this day and age, we still need those campaigns and programs to understand and appreciate females. Every year International Women’s Day is celebrated, and even though much has changed for good, and women can vote, for example, which is awesome! Our wages are still lower than our male counterparts, and for women of color, the struggle is bigger trying to break the barriers of gender and race. There is an ongoing fight for gender equality. Continue Reading »

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Why I Believe in Women In Ministry

1 Comment » Written on March 16th, 2015     
Filed under: Testimonies and Stories

Dominique Gilliard is a pastor, theologian and activist. He also serves on the board of directors for the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA), and as the director of racial righteousness experiences for the Pacific Southwest Conference of the Evangelical Covenant Church. You can find his blog at and follow him on Twitter @WEB_DuBois_Ture. The following was initially posted on Dominique’s blog on March 6, 2015 and he submitted it to be used also on this CBGE blog.

I would not be the pastor, nor the Christian, that I am today if it weren’t for female leaders in the Church. There have been women, in all levels of leadership, who have played indispensable roles in my faith and spiritual formation. I have been pastored, taught, and discipled by women who are called, anointed, and commissioned by God. These women are not in violation of Scripture; they are continuing a long legacy of women whom God has used and worked through to lead the Church and build the Kingdom. These women are boldly and faithfully living into their created purpose.

The Bible is full of examples of women serving in a variety of leadership positions in both the Old and the New Testament. These women serve as leaders in the Church and in the broader life of the religious communities in which they serve. From Debra, Huldah, and Miriam in the Old Testament, to a plethora of woman like the apostles Lydia and Junia, Anna the prophetess, Phoebe the deacon, Priscilla, Martha, Mary, Euodia, Syntyche, Tabitha (sometimes translated as Dorcas), and the nameless woman at the well in the New Testament — these women all represent a variety of different leadership roles that women are called to serve in and throughout the Body.

Moreover, in both the Old and Testament we see God at work, pouring the Spirit out upon males and females, indiscriminately. This Pentecost is prophesied in the Old Testament book of Joel (2:28-32) and actualized in the Acts account (2:17-21). Biblical scholar Linda Belleville reminds us that during Pentecost “the women among Jesus’ disciples were enabled for witness just as the men were (Acts 1:8, 14-15; 2:7-18). The result was a major paradigm shift from the male priesthood of the Jewish cult to the charismatic worship format and gender-inclusive leadership of the early church.” The book of Acts, known as the record of the early church, attests to this. Throughout the book, the significance of women in leadership is mentioned frequently. Continue Reading »

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Do Women and Men Lead Differently?

1 Comment » Written on March 9th, 2015     
Filed under: Book & Commentary

Jo Ann Deasy is an ordained Covenant pastor currently serving as the director of institutional initiatives and student research at the Association of Theological Schools in Pittsburgh, PA

IMG_0041When a church considers hiring a woman associate pastor, they often do so because they believe a woman will provide balance to the pastoral team. There is the assumption that she will lead differently, reach different people, understand pastoral ministry from a uniquely feminine perspective. In 1993, sociologist Ed Lehman decided to find out if this was really true. He surveyed over 500 clergy, half male and half female, as well as the laity in their congregations, asking them about their approach to leadership and how it was perceived by their congregations. The results, published in the book Gender and Work: The Case of the Clergy (1993), have been debated ever since.

Lehman’s work found that differences in leadership between male and female clergy were often minimal. Lehman did find that female clergy were slightly more empowering than male clergy. He found that female clergy tended to lead with their congregations rather than over them. He also found, though, that male clergy also often led in ways that were culturally considered more feminine, empowering, and coming alongside. Continue Reading »

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The Way We See Things

2 comments Written on March 4th, 2015     
Filed under: Testimonies and Stories

Mary Peterson serves at Highland Covenant Church in Bellevue, Washington and was recently elected as the President of Advocates for Covenant Clergy Women.


The internet phenomenon regarding the color of a dress last week had me thinking about how we perceive things to be true because that’s the way we see them. We look around at the world, make judgements and proclaim what we know. Case closed. Or is it?  On Sunday, I read an article called What Is Blue and How Do We See Color? which describes the way we learn to see colors. According to the article, ancient cultures had no word for the color “blue.”  So for thousands of years, people talked about the heavens, the sun and the stars, but never about the blue sky. There were no words to describe “blue.”  Imagine not being able to describe or notice blue eyes, bluebonnet flowers, blue oceans, blue post-it notes, or even sapphires. The author, Kevin Loria, says this

“It’s about the way that humans see the world, and how until we have a way to describe something, even something so fundamental as a color, we may not even notice that it’s there.”

Think about that: “Until we have a way to describe something,… we may not even notice that it’s there.” There’s a lot of people out there who have yet to notice God. Maybe they don’t have words to describe who God is. Maybe, like the people in the ancient world, they have yet to discover God, because words fail us.  A huge part of my role as a pastor is to teach people the language of faith- the words we use to describe God. We teach the kids that God is love. We talk about how Abram and Sarai set off to far away places and discovered that God was there, too. We tell the stories of the Exodus, the desert, the exile, the prophets. At Advent, we wait for the birth of Jesus, Emmanuel. When people saw the amazing things Jesus did and heard the wonderful things he spoke, they wanted to know who he was- his name. Each week, we remind the kids that Jesus is the light of the world and that we no longer live in darkness. Continue Reading »

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