On April 29, Women at General, a student-led group at The General Theological Seminary hosted a panel discussion entitled "Ordained Women Called to Servanthood and Authority: Embodying the Paradox Inside and Out." Recognizing that Jesus called his disciples to lead as one who serves, saying of himself, “I am among you as one who serves” (Luke 22:27), and yet Jesus taught as one having authority, and gave authority to his disciples to do works in his name and to “bear fruit, fruit that will last” (John 15:16). The panel addressed, among other topics, how ordained women – indeed all those called to ordained ministry – can find balance in embodying the paradox of being a servant-leader, while bearing fruit in an authentic way.
The Rt. Rev. Chilton R. Knudsen, Assistant Bishop, Diocese of New York led off the discussion and then passed the stage to the other panelists representing the neighboring diocese and General Seminary:
• The Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers, Canon for Missional Vitality, Diocese of Long Island • The Rev. Dr. Kris Lewis, Rector of Trinity Church, Seymour, Diocese of Connecticut • The Rev. Ophelia Laughlin, Rector of St. George’s-by-the-River, Rumson, Diocese of New Jersey • The Rev. Lauren Ackland, Rector of Grace Church, Madison, Diocese of Newark • The Rev. Deacon Denise LaVetty, Interim Director of Deacon Formation Program, Diocese of New York • The Rev. Dr. Amy Lamborn, Professor of Pastoral Theology, The General Theological Seminary
The Rev. Danielle Thompson, GTS Chaplain, moderated, and the Rev. Canon Jeanne Person, Canon for Pastoral Care, Diocese of New York, opened the discussion with prayer.
Some quotes as tweeted by GTS student, Lauren Holder:
"Christian community is not about compliance, it's about faithfulness." –Amy Lamborn
"To be a leader is to cultivate the spaces where others can find authority and power." –Stefanie Spellers
"I need to inhabit my authority so that you believe me when I tell you that you have it, too." –Stefanie Spellers
"My authority has grown as I have served." –Ophelia Laughlin