When we talk about ordained ministry in the Reformed tradition, we often think only of the ministers of the Word and Sacrament. But our theology, our liturgy, and our order tell us that deacons and elders are every bit as much ministers, with different functions and amenabilities, but callings and ordinations just as valid as those in the third office. What’s more, the first women ordained to serve as elders and deacons were elected and ordained in 1973, meaning 2023 marks half a century of ordained women’s ministry in the RCA.
On March 18th, 1:00-3:00 pm Eastern Time, the Reformed Church Center, working with the RCA Office of Women’s Transformation and Leadership, will kick off the RCA’s celebration of half a century of this vital ministry with “Women’s Stories Day 2023: These Are Ministries, Too!” There will be a time of devotions, a time for stories of the work of women elders and deacons around the RCA, a time for sharing, and the 2023 Hazel B. Gnade Lectures in RCA Women’s Studies, giving context to this change and its special impact on Black churches.
This program will be virtual, so that women and men from across the denomination and around the world may take part, but the Reformed Church Center will be premiering a new Zoom Event Space, where participants will be able to visit and learn outside of the main webinar.
Anna M. Jackson is co-pastor, with her husband, Dwayne, of Second Reformed Church in Hackensack, New Jersey. She was the 2020-2021 Hazel B. Gnade Fellow in RCA Women’s Studies at New Brunswick Theological Seminary, where she studied the phenomenon of matriarchs in Black RCA congregations and the larger church in the 1970s and 80s. Prior to going to Hackensack, Jackson was pastor of Queens Reformed Church in Queens Village, New York, and has served as a member of various denominational committees and commissions as well as the General Synod Council.
Lynn Japinga is professor of religion at Hope College in Holland, Michigan, and a minister of the Word and Sacrament in the RCA. She was the 2019-2020 Hazel B. Gnade Fellow in RCA Women’s Studies at NBTS. A prominent teacher, lecturer, and author in the RCA, Dr. Japinga is the author of Loyalty and Loss: The Reformed Church in America, 1945-1994 and Preaching the Women of the Old Testament: Who They Were and Why They Matter.
Ancela Fransisca Rumikoy is pastor of the Reformed Church of Metuchen, New Jersey, and moderator of the Council of Pacific and Asian-American Ministries. She will be our leader for our opening devotions.