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Reflection On The Future Of Women's Ministries
By : Marj Dredge
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In October 2006, the National Gathering for Women was held in Melbourne. It was a great time of renewal and refreshment as women gathered to worship, learn and celebrate their faith. It was a time for making new friends and renewing old friendships. However, at the business meeting it was agreed by women’s ministry representatives from around Australia that this would be the last time such an event would be held. It was a decision based on the reality that no state was willing to commit to holding another one; the costs involved in bringing such an event to fruition are enormous; the cost of travel to the event is beyond many of our women and, more importantly, there is a continuing decrease in interest beyond the local church. All this seemed to indicate that future events would simply not be viable. The Gatherings have been held approximately every two to three years since 1995 and have seen a decreasing response in terms of attendance. Each State has had a turn, so it seemed a good time to declare that they had run their course.

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Comments / Feedback
Keith Skillicorn
Thank you, Marj, for raising this issue. When I joined Churches of Christ, way back in 1944, I was inspired by what we called, in those days - "Our Plea". Nowadays, it would seem that many of our theologians believe we have outgrown such concepts as "The Priesthood of ALL (including women) Believers" . It is not that "Our Plea" has become redundant, rather does it need upgrading. To help in that regard, there is useful material - "Jesus, Women and the Ministry" - at the following website :-
Harold Hayward
It was inevitable that changing demographics and urban sprawl would have an effect on centralised women’s ministries. Doubtlessly a loss of a sense of “sisterhood” has also contributed. But as Marge has suggested there are opportunities, albeit limited, in other communional activities for women in ministry.

Of broader concern is the collapse of lay networks across our communion. When the CWF in NSW folded in 2003 it not brought to an end 109 years of service but also removed the last lay network in this state. In a drift towards a kind of episcopacy, control has become more centralised and the only network in place is clerical.
Harold Hayward

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