Begin by praying the Collect for Grace and Collect for Purity.
Collect for Grace:
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us safely to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Collect for Purity:
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we might perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Read: Romans 16:1-16 and Psalm 106:1-12
While today’s reading has little practical application to life for most of us, it is still important. It is clear from reading this that St. Paul considered certain women to be fellow apostles and church leaders. While there are many people who believe strongly that women have no place in church leadership, evidence of the early Church suggests otherwise. Paul relied on the leadership of many women in the local churches which he planted as he moved throughout the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
Methodists have been affirming the ordination of women since the 1920s, in the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1939, the MEC joined with the Methodist Protestant Church and Methodist Episcopal Church, South to form The Methodist Church. Women were not ordained after the merger until 1956, when the General Conference voted to give women full clergy rights and benefits. Today the UMC has over 8,500 women serving as deacons, elders, and bishops.
Some people believe that women should not be ordained. If this is your belief, take a few moments to consider why. Is it just because you’ve always believed this? Is it because of your interpretation of certain Bible verses? Ask God to help you see clearly in this matter. Whatever your belief about the ordination of women may be, take care that you do not throw rocks at those who believe differently from you. Take a few moments to pray for the clergywomen in our Annual Conference.