Over the last few years the Churches of Christ have made great progress in moving toward gender justice and equity. And yet, more progress can be made.
Given that the Churches of Christ have a free church structure, with each local church governing itself, the bible lectureships hosted by our universities are important places to have critical cross-congregation dialogue, advocate for change, and shape our collective imaginations. And lectures such as the Pepperdine Lectures and the ACU lectures have made great strides in including the voices of women.
To date, however, women have not been invited to give a Keynote sermon at our lectureships. One Voice for Change is a movement seeking to change that, a year long effort to request that women be invited to participate in the Keynote sermons at our lectureships.
Thus, this year, 2013, will be a year of conversation, advocacy and prayer.
One Voice for Change button to jump start conversation and networking. And wear a button yourself if you find a friend handing them out so that you can show support and catalyze conversation.
And beyond that show of support, engage in prayerful conversation with members of your local congregation, expressing your desire to see a woman Keynote at our lectures, and also for women to preach in your own local congregation.
And you can Tweet out or Facebook a link to One Voice for Change. Feel free to use whatever social media you have to say you would be supportive of woman delivering Keynotes at our lectureships.
You can follow One Voice for Change on Twitter.
And you can pray. Pray that the Churches of Christ come to fully embrace a Restoration vision of the Acts 2 church:
Acts 2.17After next week One Voice for Change be looking for prayer and conversation at the upcoming lectures at Abilene Christian University in September.
"In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy..."
If you aren't attending a lectureship this year you can start following the One Voice for Change website to participate in other forms of advocacy. I'll try to keep you updated as well.
And a final important note about advocacy efforts and your prayers. First, remember that our lectureship directors do not have the power to make these invitations. Invitations are in the hands of university leadership and Boards of Trustees.
[Note from Mike Cope, Pepperdine's Lectureship Director: Andy Benton's father passed away last night, and he requests an increased measure of sensitivity for Andy next week. Condolences to the Benton family.]
That said, the most important form of advocacy is with your local congregation. For two reasons. First, while universities can lead they also follow and respond to their congregational constituencies. So work at the local level is crucial. Second, and more importantly, the broader vision isn't for our lectureships but for gender equity in the church.
May the Kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven.