Women in Church Leadership
Women and the Word
Background on the Project

FutureChurch provided concrete suggestions to leaders of the International Synod on the Word (October, 2008) of ways to listen to women's voices, particularly in preaching and proclaiming the Word. The suggestions were:

  • Invite women biblical experts. No women theologians were included in the 2005 Synod.
  • Devote more pastoral attention to Jesus' and St. Paul's inclusion of women leaders.
  • Expand opportunities for women preachers so both women and men can hear the Word through the lens of Christian women.
  • Restore biblical women leaders to lectionary readings in which their witness was diminished or deleted. (See "Women in the Bible and the Lectionary" by Sr. Ruth Fox from May/June issue of LITURGY 90, © 1996.)

In the two years leading up to the Synod, nearly 20,000 paper and electronic postcards were sent to church leaders and synod delegates. These proved instrumental in assuring that FutureChurch requests would be discussed at the Synod.

Also influential were the packets of materials containing lists of women biblical scholars and extensive documentation of the “amnesia in the Lectionary” about biblical women leaders sent to twenty-five English-speaking bishop delegates from the U.S. the U.K., Ireland, Australia, the Philippines, Canada, India and Africa. This comprehensive information seeded the discussion of the hidden women of the lectionary that we were told took place in “a number” of the twelve small groups where the main work of the synod was accomplished. Packets were also sent to Archbishop Nicola Eterovic general secretary of the Synod of Bishops, Cardinal William J. Levada at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, who was one of the synod presiders, and Pope Benedict XVI.

Daily reports from Rome during the month of October were emailed to various FutureChurch lists and posted on the website. We were gratified to discover than at least 300 people per day opened the email containing the reports.

Vatican Synod 2008 “Lineamenta” Document