Women’s Services Capture the Vision
by Commissioner Doreen Edwards –
Territorial President, Women’s Organizations
Above all else, we will be people who care. Wherever we minister we will accept responsibility for the care of all God’s creation…
Catherine Booth, co-founder of The Salvation Army, had a vision for women in its ranks. She wrote a pamphlet, “Female Ministry,” in 1859 in defense of a woman’s right to preach the gospel. It was reprinted in 1975. The issue of female ministry was so critical to her because she was convinced that this was Biblically justified and mandated. She avidly defended her views from the Bible and envisaged the use of women in ministry as an indispensable aspect of the stewardship of the gifts, talents and abilities which God has graciously granted to women in his Church.
In the early years of the Army, the vision was a reality and women were at the forefront of pioneering the work of the fledgling movement around the world. Along the way, however, the vision became blurred. The version for today is: That we would recapture the ground that was given to us by our founders; that women will see themselves as equal partners in the ongoing ministry of the Army; that they would prepare themselves to take advantage of the opportunities that will be presented to them for ministry.
The Role of Women’s Ministries
In the context of the vision process for the territory, the women are way ahead. In 1996 a national Home League study committee was set up to evaluate the Home League program and to make recommendations for its future role in meeting the needs of the women of the corps and community.
The work of the committee was presented to the National Women’s Commission in 1997, who in turn made some adjustments; these were approved by the Commissioners’ Conference.
As a result of the study, some national requirements were removed, giving the corps and division the privilege of creating programs relevant to the women in their community.
Coming out of the study we have broadened the ministries to women using the title Women’s Ministries, under whose umbrella we have the Home League circles and focus groups. There is something for everyone.
The fundamental purpose for Women’s Ministries is: To win women for Christ, encourage spiritual growth, and provide Christian fellowship; promote a purposeful Christian life; work toward the betterment of the home, the community, the nation, and the world; recruit soldiers and link families to the fellowship of believers.
This is in sync with the Vision for the territory as we seek to carry out our four- fold aim of worship, education, fellowship and service. We are happy to be in the vanguard of making the Vision a reality.