The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Commission for Women proposed a redesign of the churchwide organization to replace the references to “work on behalf of women” with “gender justice,” in the ELCA’s efforts toward clergy sexual misconduct prevention.
"'Work on behalf of women' can easily be heard or reduced to 'women's work,' which represents a dangerous misunderstanding" of the commission's mandate, said Agnes S. McClain, committee chair. "Work for justice around issues of gender is work done not for the sake of women alone, but for the sake of and for the health of the whole church," it said.
The proposal was presented to the Rev. Charles S. Miller, ELCA executive for administration and executive assistant to the presiding bishop, during the Commission for Women’s meeting in Oct. 15-16.
The committee explained that the words “work on behalf of women” should be replaced with “gender justice” to keep with the sensitivity of the situation.
McClain explained that after reading the current restructuring proposal – which was released in august - "we felt like we had not been listened to in all of the times we have consulted with the planning team."
"We decided that, if we did not let our voices be heard this time, this would be our last shot at trying to make some changes," McClain said. She said the discussion with Miller was heated at times but ended on a positive note. "We felt that he heard us.”