Courageous and Compassionate

Contributing Writer
Pastor Scott Hannon
St. John Lutheran Church Amherst, NY

Without women my church would close. Our worship attendance would drop by 65%. Our prayer group would cease to exist. The altar would not be cared for. Supplies would not be in stock. Our worship resources would not be prepared or published. Our committee meetings would go unscheduled. Our members in need would receive significantly fewer phone calls and cards. Our new parents would not be taken meals to ease the load at home. Our new members would not be as warmly welcomed into our community. Our relationships with other churches, food banks, not-for-profits, and ministries would end. Our Bible studies would be scarce. Indeed, our church would close.

When my wife and I found ourselves at a point of critical need, it was the women of our congregation who offered help. The weeks before and after the births of our three children were also filled with help, comfort and aid from the moms in our church who’ve been there before. In seven years of ministry, I have never had a man tell me he will pray with me or for me. Meanwhile, the women of my congregation are always eager to offer up petitions. At points of life and death, transition and turmoil, crisis and catastrophe, I have found that more often than not it is women who step up to help.

This past week we had the opportunity to ponder what it would be like in a world without women. And from a church standpoint, I can tell you that it would be disastrous. And so, I feel compelled as the pastor of a church that depends on women, as the husband of a courageous, fierce, and loving woman, and as the father of two beautiful and brilliant daughters to say that I shudder to think about a world that denigrates women at all. Moreover, I lament that gender inequality still exists. I lament that there are wage disparities, harassment in the workplace, and institutional sexism.

As I reflected this week on the critical role of women in my congregation, I recalled the beginning of the Jesus movement. I believe it is noteworthy to remember that while we often lift up the role his twelve male disciples played in the movement, that at His point of need – at our Savior’s point of deepest crisis – it was women who were present. Remember, it was women who went to the tomb after he died. Women were there to witness his death. Women were the first to witness his new life. And thanks be to God for the women who continue to offer witness to his new life today. We rely on you. We depend on you. You are strong and wise. You are courageous and compassionate.

To the women in my church and in my life: I see you. I love you. I can’t imagine a world or a church without you.


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