Women in Church Leadership
Women in the Early Church

laura jamesWomen Officeholders in the Early Church

Jesus and Women

Women Leaders in the Ministry of Paul

It is an unfortunate fact that many people mistakenly believe St. Paul was anti-woman. Yet Paul worked closely with women leaders such as Phoebe, Junia, Lydia, Eudia, Syntyche and Prisca, who with her husband Aquila, he called his “Coworker in Christ Jesus.” We rarely hear about Christianity’s founding mothers. This could be because the Romans: 16 text naming women leaders with whom Paul ministered is never read on a Sunday, and so our preachers never tell us about them.

Read more about Paul’s view of women in this enlightened article by Barbara Reid from America magazine.

In a February 14, 2007 address Pope Benedict affirmed the important part played by these early women missionaries and evangelists. He gave a lengthy address quoted here in part:

Nor was the female presence in the sphere of the primitive Church in any way secondary...It is to St Paul that we are indebted for a more ample documentation on the dignity and ecclesial role of women. He begins with the fundamental principle according to which for the baptized, ’There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus’ (Gal 3: 28)...The Apostle accepts as normal the fact that a woman can "prophesy" in the Christian community (I Cor 11:5), that is, speak openly under the influence of the Spirit, as long as it is for the edification of the community and done in a dignified manner... In short, without the generous contribution of many women, the history of Christianity would have developed very differently.”

FutureChurch offers free downloadable resources to educate and celebrate the women who founded house churches, evangelized, and endured great hardships to spread the good news as “apostles to the Gentiles” alongside their brother, Paul.

 

Additional Resources are available for purchase in the FutureChurch Store