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About 30 female church leaders celebrated the history of women in the Christian Reformed Church while attending Synod 2018 (the annual leadership meeting of the CRC).

“We named courageous women from the past, present, and future of our denomination,” said Denise Posie, the CRC’s director of leadership development for women and ethnic ministry. “We can’t neglect the history.”

Posie asked the women to share what God was “stirring up in their ministry.” They shared stories within the large group and in smaller groups.

“There was the feeling of ‘You belong here, you’re important, you have a voice,’” said Carol Bremer-Bennett, World Renew-U.S. director.

The group then walked outside and read a liturgy together by candlelight.

Posie came to synod to have conversations about women in ministry, she said. Women’s leadership is, she believes, “the greatest challenge in our denomination.” Over a quarter of CRC churches (27 percent) do not have any women in church office. Just over half of churches have female elders and deacons on council.

“When [past synods] agreed to hold two positions on women in office, we didn’t think about how do we live that out?” Posie said. “There is lots of work that needs to be done. It begins with love, humility, and a willingness to do the work.”

Posie wants to build a team of people both for and against women in office and meet together regularly to “hold these tensions in ways that honor God.” Meanwhile, she is planning a special celebration for 2021, which will be the 25th anniversary of the first female ordination in the CRC.

That history of women in the denomination was emphasized in a video shown to synod Friday evening. According to the leadership development ministry, the CRC now has 149 female pastors, 101 of them ordained as ministers of the Word.

Synod 2018 is meeting at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., from June 7-14. For continuous coverage while synod is in session, download the Banner app on your mobile device or follow The Banner Magazine on Facebook or @crcbanner on Twitter. You can find more tweeting by following hashtag #crcsynod. News stories will be posted at several times daily. For CRC Communications releases and the webcast, please visit

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