Following the report of the Ad Interim Committee on Women Serving in the Ministry of the Church, there has been continuing debate about how its findings might be applied. Several overtures now before the General Assembly address the question.
One of those, from Northwest Georgia Presbytery, suggests that an existing provision of the BCO could bring closure to the debate while properly acknowledging women leaders.
The overture proposes that churches who wish to do so could acknowledge the officers of their women’s ministry with the laying on of hands to serve the church and assist the deacons as provided in BCO 9-7. The manner of the election and appointment of these women leaders would be at the discretion of the session.
Dr. Jim Whittle, India Director for Equipping Leaders International, Inc. and author of the overture, believes this proposal offers a middle ground between those advocating the ordination of deaconesses and those who oppose it.
“I have long believed that the proper solution for the PCA is a clearer advocacy and commissioning of the leadership of what used to be called Women in the Church,” he says. “Paul could have called these leaders, ‘deaconesses,’ but he didn’t. I think Overture 40 offers a solution that a majority of commissioners could support.”
The overture has been referred to the Overtures Committee for its recommendation.