The spirit of unity and respectful listening which characterised the first session of dialogue on the question of ordination of women was maintained as delegates continued their conversation on Friday morning.
Lay delegates and pastor delegates, men and women, younger and older people joined together to explore the two key texts which divide opinion on this issue: 1 Corinthians 14:34,35 and 1 Timothy 2:11-14. Paragraph 11 of Article VI (The Ministry) of the Theses of Agreement enshrines the LCA’s current official teaching on the matter of the ordination of women.
Co-chairs of the Ordination Dialogue Group, pastors Thomas Bohmert and James Haak, reminded delegates of the importance of listening again to Scriptures; to ask what the Spirit is saying to the churches in these passages and what the text is saying to them.
They reminded delegates and table facilitators that it was vital that all around the table have a voice, and, as the buzz of conversation grew in the room it was evident that this was so.
Once again the tone was respectful; perhaps a little more muted in some respects, but no less focused. My impression was that delegates were growing in confidence in the process, that they trusted their tablemates, regardless of whether or not they agreed with what they were saying. It wasn’t so obvious in their words—I do not eavesdrop—but in their body language. Again they leaned in, smiles abounded, and as they moved in to a time of table prayer, the spirit of love and concern for each other was strongly evident.
As Pastor James Haak closed the session he remarked, ‘I’ve just dropped in on the biggest Bible study I’ve ever been a part of; 500 people all studying the word together!’ (He was referring to the delegates in the room and also to the more than 50 convention visitors participating in dialogue in the Redeemer chapel.)
The second dialogue session ended in the same way as the first: in prayers around each table. The Eighteenth General Convention of Synod continues.
by Rosie Schefe, editor The Lutheran