Archive for July, 2015

Frustration Within the Sisterhood: Building the Right Relationships

6 comments Written on July 28th, 2015     
Filed under: Testimonies and Stories

Veronica Gilliard is a member of New Life Covenant Church in Atlanta, Georgia. She also serves as secretary of the Southeast Conference Women Ministries Executive Board. She is also currently a student, pursuing her PhD in Educational Leadership with a specialization in Higher Education. In her spare time she enjoys cooking, bowling, and reading.

women arguingGroups that are ascribed inferior status are often delegated less power in the public eye. Women, in 2015, are still a perfect example of this notion. Whether we are discussing being paid cents on the dollar, still being rejected in some aspects of church leadership, or consistently being portrayed by the media as both hypersexualized and less intelligent than our male counterparts, the world has been clear in it’s message: women are second-class citizens, a means to an end.

As frustrated as women are with the misogyny and patriarchy of our world, many of us are equally, if not more frustrated with an unlikely group – other women.

God made no mistakes when making us women. And God’s choice to do so makes us daughters of the King Most High, in short, princesses. While some of us think of this identity as a gift that vests us with agency, what we often witness when relating to other women about their own agency, or lack thereof, is more reminiscent of the typical fairy tale princess who is trapped and awaiting a dramatic rescue from her macho male hero.

While women will undoubtedly need male partners on this long journey toward equality, we ought not trade their voice for our own. Women must not prod men to speak up for them, on their behalf, in pursuit of equality, while they themselves remain quiet. Instead, we ought to partner with men while also unashamedly advocating for ourselves. But how do we effectively advocate for ourselves? It all goes back to relationships. Continue Reading »

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3 comments Written on July 21st, 2015     
Filed under: Testimonies and Stories


Brian Wiele is Lead Pastor at River Ridge Covenant Church in Olympia, Washington, and serves as Chair of the Commission for Biblical Gender Equality for the Evangelical Covenant Church, which exists to equip the church to articulate the truth about Biblical equality regarding gender; and to advocate for women in ministry and leadership in all possible venues within the church. He recently spent time at CHIC (Covenant High In Christ) a youth conference of the ECC which takes place every three years.


I had every intention of sleeping on my flight to CHIC. I’m not a fan of flying before 6AM, but I felt it was best to accompany with the nine people attending from our church. My primary reason for participating in CHIC, however, was not to serve as one of their chaperones. Representing the Covenant’s Commission on Biblical Gender Equality, I was praying that God would direct me into meaningful encounters with students and leaders who sensed that God was calling them into vocational service.

Little did I sense that the first person would be on that flight.  Sitting in the row with me was a teenage girl heading to CHIC with her church from Redmond, Washington. A delightful young woman reading a very interesting book, she and I engaged in mostly small talk. I learned later, however, that on the next flight, she asked her youth pastor’s wife (Ali Hormann) about me.  She was thrilled to learn that there would be opportunities at CHIC to explore ministry, as she is sensing God’s call on her life.

Cathy KaminskiThis was just the first of several opportunities that surfaced during the week. The rest centered around the little table in The Hub where I sat each afternoon.  Admittedly, I was “luring” some to speak to me with the promise of a $15 I-tunes card.  Students were encouraged to write about why they love having a woman pastor or youth pastor, with the plan of giving out three cards on the last day. One of the winners, Pastor Kathy Kaminski of Trinity Covenant in Cincinnati, is pictured with some of her students. The other winners were Julie Portillo of Faith Covenant in Manistee, Michigan and Dawn Burnett of Celebration Covenant in Omaha, Nebraska. Continue Reading »

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The Church in the Round: An Image of Biblical Equality

3 comments Written on July 14th, 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.

One of my favorite books on ecclesiology (that just means theology that focuses on the church) is Letty Russell’s The Church in the Round: Feminist Interpretation of the Church. Russell presents a single central image for her theology of church: the table. She draws on the biblical images of the eschatological banquet table, of Jesus dining with tax collectors and sinners, and of the last supper. This image of the church as a table, particularly as a round table, calls the church to be a place of equality, hospitality, and justice.

Russell draws on three specific table concepts to ground her work: a round table, a kitchen table, and a welcoming table. Perhaps central to these is the image of the round table. These images connect well with the Evangelical Covenant Church, a denomination that began with individuals gathered into small groups, perhaps around a table, to read and study the scriptures. It connects well with a denomination that emphasizes relationships and a sense of family, those who might be gathered in the kitchen for coffee and conversation. It connects well with a denomination that believes all who have faith in Jesus Christ should have a place at the table, an equal place regardless or race, gender, class, or age. Russell’s images evoke what is at the heart of the denomination and push us to consider the full implications of our commitment to the church as a fellowship of believers committed to the whole mission of God. Continue Reading »

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Life With Mentors

2 comments Written on July 7th, 2015     
Filed under: 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 photoThe other day I was leaving home to meet a friend for dinner and on my way out the door, one of my roommates asked whom was I meeting? I said “a friend, who is really more like a mentor.” My roommate said, “Oh I wish I had a mentor!” I stopped for a moment and thought, how cool it was to have someone like this friend, someone that I look up, and ask for advise, but who encourages me, and pushes me in a good way, to continue writing, and dream together about continuing my education. This friend has become more like a mentor. In my first post on this blog I shared about two of my friends who inspired me about pursuing seminary education and about following God’s call into my life. But then there’s been other women who along the way have impacted my life and who continue to be of support.

In 2009 I had the amazing opportunity of doing an internship at Bread for the World. Bread is a Christian advocacy organization that focuses on issues of hunger and poverty. It was there that I became friends with a woman who since then has influenced my life so much, and whom I love dearly, Sister Margaret Mary Kimmins, a Franciscan nun from New York City. Before getting to know Sister Margaret Mary the image I had about nuns was completely different, I always thought all nuns wore habits and lived secluded in convents. But what a surprise! Sister M as my friend Dulce calls her, does not wear a habit nor lives in a convent. She actually loves city life. It was through her that I learned about Catholic Social Teaching because she not only talked about it, but she lives it. A woman who lives her faith and loves people, she was everyone’s favorite person at Bread. She’s so much fun and I loved working with her, there was never a dull moment. It was because of her that I stopped drinking bottled water, for example, and learned to be more conscious about the use of water, which is a very strong Franciscan value. I also learned about her justice work, and even had the chance to participate in an immigration rally with her. Continue Reading »

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