A New Day
As she takes up her position, she encourages everyone, men and women alike, to mutually respect one another and give each other equal voice.
Read on for snippets of her commissioning message, plus some of her conclusions about what she sees we can become as men and women work together.
As I step into the role of President for Baptist World Alliance Women 2020-2025, I sense God asking me to find and/or create spaces for women and men to flourish together.
This would mean creating ministries that are open to both, that affirm both, that have mutual respect for one another and give equal voice one to the other. For too long, women have been asked to be the silent contributors to the Kingdom. Their ministries and efforts have been greatly appreciated, yet their voices have been hushed. That time has now finished. It's a new day.
Taking it further
At the Baptist International Conference on Theological Education that met in Nassau, Bahamas, July 5-7, 2019, the decision was made to not only re-affirm the resolution of the Baptist World Alliance entitled "Women", adopted in Nassau in 1988, but to take it further.
There was a call for churches and church leaders to repent from the teachings and practices through which they have prevented women from flourishing as human beings, created in the image of God and full members of the body of Christ. The call went even further: to be open to the Holy Spirit to bring conviction, inspire discussion, and provoke transformation in individual lives and communities by affirming the God-given call of women for service in the church, so that their stories may take rightful place in the wider story of Christ's body in the world.
The challenge was given for all of us to learn, and then use language that is affirming, to both women and men in worship, communications, and publications and to work intentionally to create equal space for women in all leadership roles in the church, Baptist conventions and unions, and across the entire Baptist World Alliance.
How do we do this?
As I look at the place women have in our Baptist churches, and with this call being proclaimed globally, I believe there is a need for us to understand how to stand together, how to discuss issues together, how to make room for one another, and how to avail each other of the others' gifts. God has a Kingdom purpose for the entire body of Christ to flourish - male and female alike - and we are being ushered into that era where we will see it come to pass.
I, for one, am excited that we get to not only see it, but also, be catalysts of change to bring this transformation.
So what do I see?
I see a global ministry where women and men champion one another and stand together (Zeph 3:9); where they understand the responsibility in the Kingdom and encourage one another forward (1 Thess 5:11); where they meet regularly (Heb 10:25) and are aware that they are not alone (1 Cor 14:26); where they gather and await the move of the Spirit of the living God. (Acts 2:1) and where they stand firmly alongside one another (Gal 3:28), in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the sake of the gospel (Phil 1:27).
Men and women alike have a mandate to love God fully and love others with acceptance and dedication.
Let's stand respectfully and confidently together in the calling God has given us.
Let's seek out spaces of commonality to work for the mutual benefit of all.
Let's openly share tables of discussion for the strengthening of the Kingdom.
Let's together seek His Kingdom first.
Let's go into all the world with a spirit of unity to proclaim the name of Jesus.
It's a new day.
Karen Wilson and husband Mark live in Westerna Australia. They attend attend Inglewood Community Church, a Baptist Church close to the city of Perth. There she serves by hosting services/communion, and occasionally preaching.