By Jim Lyon
From its inception, the Church of God movement has been an advocate for gender equity, seating and celebrating both women and men in all chairs of ministry and church leadership. This theology and practice are grounded in a deep vein of Scripture which elevates both men and women as the imago dei. At the dawn of the New Testament church, the apostle Peter quotes the prophet Joel, saying, “In those days I will pour out my Spirit even on my servants—men and women alike—and they will prophesy” (Acts 2:18 NLT).
Over centuries, this truth has too often been lost; the embrace of this truth was one of the Movement’s first countercultural signatures and remains so today. As a people, we must not only speak the truth, we must also live and model it, opening doors for women in ministry and encouraging the exercise of their calling.
To this end, Church of God Ministries has been proud, for many years, to be in a partnership named Qara (a Hebrew word meaning to call or to proclaim), together with Christian Women Connection and the Anderson University School of Theology and Christian Ministry. Qara seeks to advance the cause of women in ministry, providing support, fellowship, information, and inspiration for those answering the call. Leadership for this partnership is provided by the convener of Qara. MaryAnn Hawkins, dean of the School of Theology and Christian Ministry, was Qara’s first convener; she was succeeded, in 2016, by Randee Doe. And now, as the year 2019 opens, I am pleased to announce that Arnetta McNeese Bailey will take the mantle and serve as our new Qara convener.
Arnetta, of course, is no stranger to positions of leadership and influence in the church. Her role as executive director at Christian Women Connection has given her a national profile in the Movement, but her service in many ministries, including in the local church, has given her deep experience on many other front lines, as well. Her ascension to this new post as Qara convener is framed not just by her responsibilities at CWC, but as an ordained clergywoman in the Church of God.
You can catch up with the work of Qara in the weeks ahead by watching for new links in CHOGnews to the Qara newsletter. We thank God for MaryAnn and Randee, for their investment in Qara in days gone by; we thank God for Arnetta as she will help us all continue to move forward, strengthening and empowering women in ministry.
Jesus is the subject. And he gave a woman the privilege of first proclaiming his resurrection. We all stand in the shadow of Mary Magdalene, saying, “I have seen the Lord.” May his Spirit propel all of us, like Mary Magdalene, to sure-footed and certain testimony of his goodness.
Visit Christian Women Connection online at www.christianwomenconnection.org.