“It is just a week to highlight the role of women in ministry,” said Dr. Cheryl Johns, PTS professor. “We have not been as fully inclusive as we should have, but more than others.”
Johns said the Church of God has a strong history of women in leadership roles. However, a decline began in the 1950s in response to culture shifts within the American society.
“It is within the primal memory of [the holiness tradition]. It is a memory of the inclusion and empowerment of women. So we don’t have to go outside, necessarily, to the secular world,” Johns said. “... Long before the mainline churches were ordaining women, we were ordaining women in the 1920s.”
Dr. Sang Ehil San, PTS vice president of academics, agreed.
“At our very beginning, we had eight members who kind of began the whole Church of God movement. The majority of them were women. That is how we began,” San said. “We are trying, in a way, to preserve that, capture that in a positive, constructive way.”
Grace Church International’s Antoinette G. Alvarado and Karen Holley, PTS professor, will speak on Tuesday, April 23, and Thursday, April 25, respectively. The chapel services will be held at 11 a.m. within the Cross Memorial Chapel.
A panel discussion will be held Wednesday, April 24, with Dr. David Roebuck, Pentecostal Research Center; Dr. Lisa Stephenson, Lee University professor; Dr. Daniella Augustine, LU professor; Dr. Angela Waltrip, PTS and LU professor; and the Rev. Cathy Payne, Church of God of Prophecy.
According to Johns, panelists will discuss holiness and the empowerment of women. They will address questions among themselves, as well as those of the audience.
They will address Biblical and societal influences on women in ministry.
“For instance, our denomination in Peru has territorial bishops who are females. If you go to Peru, you have a different story than we have here,” Johns said. “I think when you are dealing with a conservative Southern culture, you have to work harder.”
For more information, call Karen Holley at 423-478-7973.