Women in Ministry

The Evangelical Covenant Church affirms the call to ministry for all persons. We have ordained and fully credentialed women since 1976 and we seek to be a diverse and welcoming church that affirms the calling and gifts of the entire body of Christ.

Covenant Documents

Click here to learn more about available Covenant-produced articles, books, and resources that address the call of women to pastoral ministry.

Advocates for Covenant Clergy Women

The Advocates for Covenant Clergy Women (ACCW) is a subset of the Covenant Ministerium that works to help women clergy fully live into their calls. The women and men of ACCW work in advocacy, education, resources, and fellowship to move toward a stronger and more egalitarian Ministerium. ACCW meets at conference and national Covenant gatherings.

Women clergy are found in increasing numbers in the Evangelical Covenant Church. As of February 2021, there are 487 active credentialed women (26% of 1858). There are 94 women serving as senior or co-pastor (12% of 777).

Purpose: The purpose of ACCW shall be to provide an organized body to address the unique concerns of clergy women who are ordained, commissioned, or licensed, and those women who are responding to a call in vocational ministry in the ECC. The purpose shall be accomplished through the following means:

  • Advocacy: To promote the calling of women ministers to leadership positions throughout the ECC by working with ECC leaders, conference superintendents, and local congregations.
  • Fellowship: To support women called and gifted by God for ministry by providing fellowship, encouragement, and mentoring to clergy women and to women who are considering entering professional ministry in the ECC.
  • Resources: To provide resources for educating Covenanters at the denominational, conference, regional, and local levels regarding issues directly related to clergy women.
  • Education: To provide opportunities for continuing education for the membership.

ACCW team:

  • President: Jeannette Conver
  • Secretary: Tracy Welker
  • Conference Liaisons: Susan Cosio, Jon Lemond, Devyn Chambers-Johnson, Liz Jensen, Barbara Bjelland, Tammy Roach, Glynis W James-Watson

Project Deborah

Gifted and godly people are all around us, but sometimes they remain invisible and untapped. Who are the women in your congregation called to lead? In the book of Judges, God raised up Deborah to lead the people of Israel as a trusted judge, prophet, and military leader. Through Project Deborah we seek to move the Covenant to a place where we recognize, mentor, and celebrate called and gifted women in our midst. Click here to learn more.

Commission on Biblical Gender Equality

The Commission on Biblical Gender Equality exists within the church as a voice and advocate for continued progress in this story. The commission exists to educate people in biblical gender equality; to advocate for justice in the structure of the church regarding gender; to equip the church to articulate the truth about biblical gender equality; and to advocate for the modeling of women in ministry and leadership in all possible venues within the church.

Due to shifts in leadership and staff positions, we are in a season of rebuilding this commission. For the next year, we will be focused on the following:

  • Amplifying the voices of women in the ECC, especially our BIPOC sisters.
  • Collaborating with ACCW, FFW, and the Ministerium to further develop projects and resources that encourage egalitarian values within the ECC.
  • Collaborating with ECC conference superintendents and staffs to promote and expand egalitarian resources and support for the women serving in these contexts and establish goals fitting for each conference.
  • Collaborating with ECC executive ministers to evaluate existing structures within the ECC to determine if they are equitable and reflect the denomination's commitment to egalitarian theology, polity, and praxis.

The Biblical Gender Equality Commission consists of the following people: Mary Peterson, Nilwona Nowlin, Mark Mathis, Julia Styles, Alicia Guldberg Reese, Deb Auger (NPTS representative), Janet George, and Matt George.

Fostering the Flourishing of Women

Fostering the Flourishing of Women (FFW) is an ECC denominational initiative integrating intentional pathways and resources for all women to flourish in every season of life, ministry context, and personal call. Through advocacy for women, ministry collaboration, and egalitarian education, the FFW team will support and empower women to flourish within ECC Mission Priorities, 11 regional conferences, local churches, and ministry partners.

What makes FFW distinctive: FFW works collaboratively with teams and committees on fostering the flourishing of women through networking, resourcing, and benchmarking. Click here to learn more.

FFW team:

  • Director: Marilyn Williams
  • FFW Advisory Team: Marilyn Williams, Brian Wiele, Joy Lawerance, Tiana Coleman, Katherine Schoen, Caitlyn Stenerson