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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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What women clergy care about

Economics and social welfare issues top the personal agendas of women clergy in eight mainline Protestant denominations, including the ELCA. That's the finding of a survey reported in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion (June 2000). This most-mentioned concern also held the top spot in a similar study the decade before.

Coming in next of nine categories of concern were tolerance and rights, public order and gay rights. "[Our] results show that the social theology of women clergy leads them to pay persistent attention to the core social justice issues of poverty and public order," the authors state.

While women clergy still are a minority--just 12 percent of the pastors in the ELCA, for example, in this 30th anniversary year of ordination--the authors point out that their numbers are growing and so is the potential for their agendas to influence congregations and denominations. "[It] may also be that women clergy may one day have the power to shape the public agenda," they say.

The bottom half of their concerns? The political process, abortion, defense and foreign policy, the environment, and spirituality and morality.


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