Women in the Church

Some are unnamed or forgotten, others are disregarded or put “in their place.”  Yet, the lives of women, named and unnamed, are embedded in the larger story of Christianity and its roots.

In this Series, originally offered as weekly Lenten reflections at Glastonbury Abbey, five women shine a light on and name the names of women seldom, if ever, heard when Scriptures are proclaimed.

Learn of the “dangerous memories” of Biblical women–the dramatic, creative and often heroic actions of women in Hebrew Scriptures. Their dynamics in the face of resistance are models beyond their times.

Within the Jesus Movement there was the critical presence, resourcefulness and faithful leadership of women. Their roles are reflected in different ways in New Testament writings but not always included or highlighted in lectionary choices so we miss them.

By the first centuries of Christianity the ministry of women is often in shadow. Their names remain unfamiliar to western Christians. Hear their names and discover their diakonia, their ministry of service, as the early communities of faith grew and suffered.

The medieval years offer the prolific and recently revived works of major women mystics, one of whom is a Doctor of the Church. The depth of their spiritual experience reaches through the centuries to offer a fitting and fruitful theology for today’s world and challenges.

Finally, more and more women in the 21st century are trained and formed as pastoral ministers of the church. They bring years of experience into reflective dialogue with the process and theology of Vatican II.  During this time of Synod- with the church poised for a paradigm shift in leadership- women are uniquely placed to ask critical questions for the whole church: do we practice what we say we believe about the inclusive, Christic identity in Baptism?  What then constitutes membership and fullness of ministry?

The recordings of each talk can be accessed below; simply click on the link to view on Glastonbury Abbey’s YouTube channel:

“Unsung Heroines of the Old Testament: Models for Our Time,” Dr. Alice Laffey

“New Testament Women in the Ministry of Jesus and St. Paul,” Dr. Regina Boisclair

“Women in the Early Church,” Karen Goltz, Obl OSB

“Women in the Medieval Church: Theologians of Our Time,” Dr. Julia Upton, RSM

“Precedents and Presence: the Pastoral Call of Women in the 21st Century Church,” Dr. Carol Stanton