Increasingly, the culture of silence is being broken – with love, care, and understanding – on issues such as physical abuse, rape, family, and community conflict. Salvationist women, in concert with women clergy and lay leaders of other denominations, are discovering that being encumbered by traditions from another era may indeed become ‘the encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us’… Women in ministry, both lay and clergy, are eager to join hands and hearts to accomplish God’s purposes because theirs is a shared vision. But the partnership they desire is an authentic partnership, one that is based on what they can contribute.
These women envision a Church that leads the world on issues of social justice, a Church that accepts women and men as equals and helps them live integrated lives, a Church that helps women fulfill their responsibilities and contribute to all aspects of mission and ministry. They envision searching for ways they can contribute to the whole body of Christ.
If this vision is to be fully realized, the Church must be willing to own its decisions regarding the woman’s role. The Army is no exception. Women must accept the challenge and seize opportunities for making full proof of their ministry. Catherine [Booth] fought the battles using the weaponry available in 19thcentury England. However, in the week she died, she issued a solemn warning that she feared the women of The Salvation Army were not going to rise up to take the place she wished for them.
We’ve come a long way regarding women’s rights in the workplace. We’ve come a long way regarding women’s rights in ministry. But the fact remains, for every glass ceiling in the corporate world, there is a stained-glass ceiling in the Church. We must never allow women of the Army to be ‘ceilinged.’