Women and men are co-heirs of life (1 Pet 3:17) in creation and redemption. They are created in God’s image (Gen 1:26-27). They are redeemed in Christ and are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise (Gal 3:28-29). They are daughters and sons of God (2 Cor 8:18) and sisters and brothers in Christ (James 2:15). The Church fails the Lord if it fails to honour, protect and nurture women and men.
Women and men are co-workers. They are made to work in partnership in God’s service (Gen 2:18). This is particularly expressed in marriage, but is true in many other relationships and particularly in the church (Rom 16:1-3, 6-7, 12,15; Phil 4:3; Col 4:15). The Lord Jesus gives gifts to women and men in the church to serve each other for the common good (1 Cor 12:4-11). The church is deprived of the Lord’s blessing when women and men are not encouraged to serve according to their gifts and in their callings.
The Presbyterian Church of Australia holds that the office of Minister of Word and Sacrament is open only to qualified men. Many congregations and members of the PCNSW allow only men to hold other roles of teaching and leadership. The Assembly affirms the biblical basis for these convictions (1 Tim 2:11-12; 1Co 14:34), recognising that the application of these principles varies among congregations. It is timely to have a respectful discussion about ways of engaging women in the courts of the Church to discover the mind of God for our this Church at this time.
The Assembly commits itself to exploring ways in which women can serve as fully as possible in the Church and be engaged in decision-making. The Assembly encourages Sessions and Presbyteries to consider how they can also encourage and support such service.