Gender Inclusive and Egalitarian Churches

 in the Church of Christ Heritage

updated:  01/28/2014

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The churches listed below have all become more inclusive to participation by women in the worship, leadership, ministries, and teaching.  Each congregation has decided through much study how inclusive they would like to be.  Some congregations are inclusive only in the worship and teaching ministries while others have removed all barriers to women being able to use the gifts they have received from God.  Some of the churches listed are churches with a strong Church of Christ tradition, who associate with Churches of Christ, but do not have Church of Christ in their name.

The guidelines developed for listing these churches are as follows.  If the answer to one or more questions is YES, then I will happily include congregation in my directory.

a) Are women welcome to use their gifts in leading public worship (leading prayer, giving communion talks, leading singing, and/or reading scripture)?

b) Are women welcome to use their gifts in proclamation by preaching from the pulpit?

c) Are women welcome to use their gifts and knowledge in biblical instruction, to teach all age groups regardless of gender in bible classes?

d) Are women welcome to serve in leadership positions such as pulpit minister, worship leader, deacon, and elder (*not including positions such as children’s minister or women’s minister)?

e) Does the church publish a clear statement of purpose to be an egalitarian church or gender inclusive church on their website?

*We prefer not to list churches where the only position for a woman is the children’s or women’s minister; though this often represents a small step forward, many churches that presently have these staff positions do not allow women to serve or participate in any other part of worship, teaching, or leadership, and thus cannot be characterized as gender inclusive, equal, or just.

I have tried to accurately describe the gender inclusiveness of each church listed with the information I have obtained.  The information may or may not be completely accurate and will be updated should better information become available.  If you are a member of any of the listed congregations and feel the description is not accurate, please contact me.  If you are a member of a gender inclusive Church of Christ as described above and wish to have your congregation listed, please contact me so that I may list your congregation.  If you know of a gender inclusive Church of Christ that does not have a web site, I will list it with contact information on my page once I confirmed the accuracy of the information.  Be sure to state in the subject line of your email "Gender Inclusive Church of Christ" and include a brief description of the congregation. The goal of this list is to collect as many links to gender inclusive Churches of Christ as possible so that Christians who consider gender equality and inclusion in the church important can find churches where the Galations 3:26-28 approach to worship, work in the church, teaching, and leadership is important. An alternative method of being listed is now available through shared information with the GAL328.org web site Wiki Project: Gender Inclusive Churches of Christ

admin@wherethespiritleads.org

italicized sentences with quotations marks are taken directly from the church's website or excerpted from an email

 

United States

California

 

Camarillo Church of Christ, Camarillo, CA Alan Beard, senior minister

From an email received from Alan Beard:  "I can verify that Camarillo Church of Christ meets the A, B, and C qualifications."

 

Conejo Valley Church of Christ, Thousand Oaks, CA.  Andy Wall, Preaching Minister

Email from a member: 

"Thanks for your work listing gender-inclusive churches. I would encourage you to add the Conejo Valley C of C to your list (Thousand Oaks, Ca). Conditions A, B, and C apply."

Culver Palms Church of Christ, Los Angeles, CA.  Mark Manassee, senior minister    

From their website:  "God calls men and women to use their gifts in all aspects of the church's life."  On July 09, 2013, the Culver Palms leadership made the following announcement: 

“As a result of our ongoing study of scripture, we discern God’s call on the Culver Palms church to fully use the gifts of men and women to share God’s word through preaching in order to build up the body of Christ here and for the good of God’s kingdom…"

The Culver Palms Leadership”

Palo Alto Church of Christ, Palo Alto, CA     Scott Falkowski, Minister

From their website:  "We have a number of men and women who serve the church in specific leadership roles."  Women serve as deacons, and in other positions.

Pasadena Church of Christ , Pasadena, CA

From their website:  "We are a more progressive Church of Christ that is gender inclusive. We try to live out our Christian walks without the legalism and fundamentalism that has given so many Churches of Christ a bad name. We want a second chance to live out our calling in a fresh way that is enlivened by God's Holy Spirit...diligently trying to follow Him."

University Church of Christ, Malibu, CA  Rich Little, preaching minister

From their web site:  Leadership in worship is not limited to those formally recognized as ministers and elders. You will see Christian men and women from various walks of life taking active roles such as reading Scripture, serving communion, and participating in prayers. We are concerned to include all members in our worship in ways that are biblical, orderly and meaningful.

 

Colorado

 

added on 09/04/2013

Littleton Church of Christ  Centennial, CO     Collin Packer,  lead minister

From their web site:  "ReNew Worship
Our 10:30 am worship service is a place where you can listen, sing, and engage in worship. The worship team is on-stage during the songs, video is used throughout the service, and both men and women are involved in various parts of the service. The ReNew service runs approximately 75 minutes."

 

Connecticut

 

Connecticut Valley Church of Christ  Windsor, CT  Richard Maddeaux, Minister

"The congregation itself represents a diverse group of servants from a variety of backgrounds; yet as a small congregation, we pursue the integration of each person as an active participant in God's work in the world. This includes welcoming both men and women to serve. Our belief, after extensive study of scriptures, is that as far as God is concerned there is no distinction between what a man or a woman may do in any gathering of CVCC."

Stamford Church of Christ  Stamford, CT.   Dale Pauls, Senior Pulpit Minister;  Naomi Walters, minister in residence.

"is a multi-racial, gender-inclusive Church of Christ. We honor as our spiritual heritage those attempts that began in America early in the 19th century to restore the life and spirit of Christianity as envisioned by Jesus and his apostles."  Another early leader in the full equality and inclusion of women in all areas of church service, ministry, and leadership

 

 

Georgia

 

Northlake Church of Christ, Tucker, GA  Ike Reeser , Senior Minister

"Because we believe that every person has gifts to serve the church and the world, we welcome both men and women to participate in all ministries and in our worship assemblies. If you would like to learn more"

 

 

Illinois

The Lakeview Church of Christ, Chicago, Il  Sean Wicks, Minister

From an email from Sean Wicks The Lakeview Church of Christ in Chicago, Illinois transitioned to being a fully gender-inclusive church in 2010.  Since the transition, Lakeview has a 5-person leadership team consisting of 2 women and three men; women regularly participate/have access to all elements of our worship service, including leading worship, giving our welcome address, delivering communion thoughts, praying, reading scripture, making announcements, and preaching a sermon.  We are trying to be a gift-oriented church, concentrating on putting to work the gifts of each person in our community.

 

 

Indiana 

 

added on 02-16-13

Franklin Church of Christ Franklin, Indiana  Guy Langston, senior minister

From an email from a member/ex-elder: "Women- Serve as Deacons and Ministry Leaders. Oversee communion, Serve communion, Open the service, close the service, Lead the congregation in prayed, Teach in mixed groups, are ministry Leaders. On two occasions have given the Sunday morning lesson (Sermon if you wish), are on the worship team, play instruments, sing solos, duets, etc."

 

 

Maryland

 

Church of Christ in Columbia, Maryland 

by Email from K. Rex Butts, Leadership:  "We are a gender inclusive church which affirms the spiritual gifts of both Christian men and women who serve with our church as ministry leaders during worship offering prayer, communion meditations, reading of scripture, and serving on the worship team.

 

Massachusetts

 

Brookline Church of Christ, Brookline, MA    ministers:  Chad Smith, Nate Lollar, others

"When worshipping at Brookline you will notice that women participate in public worship more than you may be used to in most Churches of Christ.............Brookline seeks to use the gifts God has given us without regard to gender because we have found two distinct imperatives that compel us to do so. The first imperative is clear in the doctrine of creation. God created humankind as equals-"male and female he created them"."

Pittsfield Church of Christ, Pittsfield, MA   Russell Moody II and Charles Young, ministers

"Our assemblies are intentionally relaxed. Our leadership seeks to utilize the giftedness of all our members. This means that men, women and children may be participating in our worship under the oversight of our elders. We understand the passages in both I Timothy and I Corinthians (often cited to limit women's participation) to be a corrective of chaotic circumstances. When "decency and order" and "edification" are the norm, everyone is encouraged to participate."

 

Michigan

 

Ann Arbor Church of Christ Neighborhood Church, Ann Arbor, MI  Darryl Canty, minister

From email from Darryl Canty:  "At our church we believe that women can do anything except be an elder."  

 

added on 12/28/2012

Rochester Church of Christ, Rochester Hills, MI. Adam Hill, Minister of the Word

Rochester Church is committed to nurturing and empowering every disciple to most faithfully utilize their gifts in service to Christ, Christ’s Kingdom, the church, and the world. To this end, women regularly use their gifts in our worship assemblies by reading scripture, leading prayer, giving communion talks, leading singing as a part of the praise team and in solos, and participating in dramas. Within our adult Bible classes, women serve as part of our teaching teams, and regularly teach adult Bible classes of both genders. In addition, women are regularly invited to co-preach alongside the Minister of the Word. While women do serve as Ministry Leaders and Pastoral Care Ministers (we do not have “Deacons” as an office currently, although, were it added, women would certainly be included in that office), as of now (Sept, 2013) women are not given the role of Shepherd (elder) or Minister of the Word. While not fully egalitarian at this point, we are committed to justice and inclusion and growth as we live out the gifting and blessing of God together. 

added on 12/28/2012

Trenton Church of Christ, Trenton, MICharlton Taylor, Senior Minister

From an email from Charlton Taylor:  "women serve communion, give announcements, sing on a standing praise team, read scripture, participate in drama, teach, serve as ministry leader and we also have women serving on our Vision Team, one of our primary leadership teams.

 

Troy Church of Christ, Troy, MI. 

From their web site:  "After many years of studying and prayerfully reflecting on women’s roles in our public gatherings, our church family concluded that part of being true to Scripture was to include women in various capacities while embracing unity and peace. The result is that both men and women share in the responsibilities of serving during our assembly through Communion, Bible Reading, Prayer and Testimony." 

 

 

Missouri

 

East Sunshine Church of Christ, Springfield, MO    Jay Baker - Coordinating Minister

"Male and Female Participation— While it is non-traditional in many Churches of Christ for women to participate in public roles in worship, at East Sunshine women participate in a variety of ways that we believe are biblical. We believe that men and women are gifted by the Holy Spirit in a way that builds up the church and brings praise to God. In the New Testament, both men and women used their gifts in the worship assembly for these purposes"

 

 

new: 10/26/2013

McKnight Crossings Church of Christ,  St. Louis, MO  Jeff Crider - preaching minister

From their web site:  "A Traditional worship meets in the auditorium. This a cappella worship is rich in the church of Christ heritage. A Contemporary worship meets in the gym. This relaxed worship style is led by both men and women, with instrumental music accompanying our congregational praise. Our aim is that both worship experiences are uplifting, relevant, Christ-centered, and God-honoring. Try one this week and come back the next week to try the other!"  (admin note: The Mid-county CofC, a previous listing in St. Louis, has merged with the McKnight Road CofC to form McKnight Crossings.) 

 

 

 

New Jersey

 

Monmouth Church of Christ, Tinton Falls, NJ    

From an email from Ashok Bruno, Elder, Monmouth Church of Christ:   "We allow women  to serve as deacons, welcome the congregation, read scripture, and make announcements."  The following link is to a MS Word 97 document on their web site regarding the role of women at Monmouth  http://www.monmouthchurch.org/Reference/Misc/Role%20of%20Women.doc.  I have converted the document to html for those who do not have access to MS Word 97: Role of Women 

 

New Mexico

 

Los Alamos Church of Christ, Los Alamos, NM     Tim Stidham  Pulpit Minister

"Service in worship is not limited to those formally recognized as ministers or elders. We believe in the priesthood of all believers. You will see Christian men and women from various walks of life taking active roles such as reading Scripture, preparing us for communion, and participating in prayers. We want to include all members in our worship in ways that are, biblical, orderly and meaningful."

new addition on 11-05-12

Montgomery Church of Christ, Albuquerque, NM  Pulpit minister position: open at this time

Received from a member:  "We only recently enacted a policy to allow women to SERVE communion, deliver messages for the bread and fruit of the vine and the offering message. Today, for the first time, one of our former elders' wives BAPTIZED a woman with whom she has been studying. The elders are now ALWAYS accompanied by their wives...in encouraging people to come forward at the end of services, in attending training programs for elders, etc....... We have an excellent Praise Team and Worship Leader, our services are wonderful. We also have a female Children's minister and had a female Administrative minister......"

 

 

New York

 

Manhattan Church of Christ New York, NY    Dr. Thomas Robinson, Senior Minister

"A community of people on a spiritual journey together. We are striving to grow in devotion to God and in service to people."  Not fully gender inclusive at leadership level at this time but was one of the leaders in including females in most areas of church service, ministry, worship, and teaching. They have gender equality and inclusive teaching material on their resources page.

West Islip Church of Christ, West Islip, New York   Jesse Pettengill, minister

"is dedicated to serving the community and spreading the ministry of Jesus. We praise God joyfully and reflectively in worship services designed to let everyone participate—men and women, young and old." This congregation is an early leader in the gender equality and gender inclusive movement.  It had the first husband and wife preaching team in the churches of Christ.  West Islip is fully inclusive at all levels of church involvement and leadership.

 

North Carolina

 

Cole Mill Road Church of Christ Durham, NC    Patrick Messer, pulpit minister

by email from Patrick Messer: 

  • Lead singing, prayers, communion meditations, and welcome in worship service along with serving communion
  • Teach classes of all ages with participants of any gender
  • Serve as Youth and Families Minister
  • Serve on our Ministry Coordinating Committee (replacement for deacons) to lead various ministries of our church
  • Female Ministry leaders listed on website along with rest of MCC members

Providence Road Church of Christ, Charlotte, NC   Jeff Walling, Senior Minister

Providence Road has two unique services.  The early service is a traditional service.  The late service is a contemporary service which includes female participation in the service as noted by an online video on their web site explaining their services.

 

Oklahoma

 

Dayspring Church of Christ , Edmond, OK

This information was received via email from Linda King, Adult Education: "Dayspring Church of Christ in Edmond, Oklahoma, has been practicing gender equality (or as some describe it, full gift inclusivity) for over 15 years.  We have no gender-specific offices, roles, or traditions in our congregation's life and practices."  

 

Oregon

 

Agape Church of Christ, Portland, Or   Ron Clark, preaching minister.

By email from Ron Clark:  "is fully gender inclusive church that is focused on outreach and empowering people, especially women, to do ministry." 

new addition on 08/07/2013

East County Church of Christ, Gresham, Or   Lewis Robinson, minister

Received by email from a member:   "East County Church of Christ, in Gresham, Oregon, is gender inclusive and may be added to your list, with A, B, and C applying. Women sometimes lead prayer, give communion talks, serve communion, sing on praise teams, teach mixed auditorium classes, do guest preaching, and serve as ministry servants (deacons)."

Westside Church of Christ, Hillsboro, Or  Aaron Metcalf, minister

Verified by email:  "Westside Church of Christ in Hillsboro, Oregon is gender-inclusive in worship, teaching and most leadership (we don't have women serving in the role of elder at this time).  Women do lead worship, pray and read scripture publicly, lead the L.S., teach adult bible classes and help lead Westside's overall ministry efforts."

 

Pennsylvania

added on 11/04/2013

Kainos Church of Christ, Exerter Township, Reading, PA    Chip Hartzell, minister

Received the following from a member: "I think it's even more remarkable how natural it is, and that there are no male voices saying in essence that they are "allowing" women to enjoy an extended role in the assembly. I am not saying at all that it's an equal participation, but that our differences deepen our worship. Everything is done with the utmost consideration, love and respect for each other. There is no one making anyone feel like we are more, and you are less. More like, we all our different and we are all useful in different ways."

 

Tennessee

Maury Hill Church,  Columbia, TN.   Russ Adcox, senior minister 

Published on their website:  Our belief is that women can participate in any activity of the assembly and serve in any capacity of the church with the exception of serving as an elder or senior minister.

Otter Creek Church of Christ, Brentwood, TN

Mike Runcie, Executive Minister; Josh Graves, Preaching & Teaching Minister

Otter Creek Church invites men and women to serve, based on giftedness, in ministry, worship gatherings (communion, prayers, music, readings, testimony), deacon/deaconess oversight leadership, all forms of adult education and spiritual formation. We are still wrestling with what it means to be a community based on giftedness through baptism.

 

added 09/08/2013

Woodmont Hills Family of GodNashville, TN   Dean Barham, senior minister

received by email: "Woodmont Hills church announced a policy change today that should merit its inclusion on your list. They now allow women to serve in all roles other than elder, pulpit minister, worship leader.  They can be other types of ministers, serve as deacons, lead prayers, read scripture, speak and give devotional messages, serve communion, serve on praise team, teach adult bible classes."

 

 

TEXAS

 

 

Bering Drive Church of Christ Houston, TX.  Dr. Jeff Christian, Preaching Minister

Possibly the oldest fully gender inclusive church in Texas with "a mission to bring people into a relationship with God, in a community of Jesus' disciples, seeking Biblical, nondenominational Christianity, and serving others in the compassion and power of the Holy Spirit."  This congregation has women presently serving in eldership, ministry, and worship leadership.

Burke Road Church, Pasedena, TX  Ken Boggs, preaching minister

This church has male and female deacons listed on their website.

Highland Church of Christ Abilene, TX    Jonathan Storment, preaching minister

By email:  "Highland Church of Christ is not totally inclusive at this time but it does have several women ministers on staff and women are utilized in the worship."

Heights Church of Christ  Houston, TX    Dr. Lynn Mitchell, preacher     Ann Bayliss, co-preacher

"We welcome Ann Bayliss, our new co-preacher, to Heights Church of Christ!"  This is a fully egalitarian Church of Christ.

Mercy Street Church of Christ   Abilene, TX.   Stan Baldwin, minister

The Mercy Street Church of Christ is a new church planting that is a multi-racial, multi-cultural, gender-inclusive Church of Christ.  Read about this Church of Christ in an article published by the ReporterNews.com, an online news site for Abilene, Texas.

 

added on July 13, 2013

Minter Lane Church of Christ   Abilene, TX.  Albert Acosta, pulpit minister

Received via email from Albert Acosta: "We currently are characterized by the categories A and B". 

Plymouth Park Church of Christ  Irving, TX   John Ketchersid, minister

By personal conversation with John Ketchersid.  An ecumenical, gender-inclusive, kingdom-centered body of Christians serving the city of Irving, TX.  This congregation is fully gender inclusive at all levels of service, ministry, and leadership.

Preston Road Church of Christ, Dallas, TX    Wade Hodges, lead minister

Received in an email from Wade Hodges:  "women pass communion and read scripture on Sunday mornings.  Also make announcement.  Women teach co-ed classes on Sunday mornings on some occassions."

Southwest Central Church of Christ, Houston, TX.  Steve Sandifer - Pastoral Care Minister

From their website:  "Another tradition we have here at SWC is the participation of women in our worship services in prayer, reading or serving the Lord’s Supper. After years of study, we have come to see God leading us to this practice as a way of declaring that in Christ “there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28)."

Southwind Church, Mansfield, TX  Lonnie Gentry, Minister

Southwind is a fully egalitarian church.  From an email from Lonnie Gentry:  "We are a young and small church, but we are fully committed to gender inclusiveness. At Southwind, a woman can do anything a man can do. Women serve on our board, as shepherds, lead worship, have preached, etc."  From the website:  "Many (but certainly not all) of our members have backgrounds in Churches of Christ and/or Christian Churches. As a result, we participate in some activities associated with these churches (like Leadership Training for Christ). In belief and practice we are at the more progressive end of this fellowship (compare The Hills Church of Christ or Compass Christian Church)"

Sunset Ridge Church of Christ, San Antonio, TX.  John Harp, Senior Minister

From their website: "We are a gift-inclusive church, meaning leadership in worship is not limited to men or those formally recognized as ministers or elders. You will see both men and women taking an active role using their gifts such as leading singing, reading Scripture, presiding over and serving communion, and participating in prayers. We strive to include all members in our worship in ways that we believe are biblical, orderly and meaningful." 

Tahoka Church of Christ, Tahoka, TX.  Steve Bonner, Minister

by email:  "Women have been included in the worship by serving communion, making announcements, and reading Scripture."  and a conversation with three members on 04/28/2012:  "Two women will be installed as deacons on Sunday, May 6, 2012"

The Hills Church (Richland Hills Church of Christ)North Richland Hills, TX.  Rick Atchely, Minister

The following information is supplied by a member:   "we have women leading prayers in worship, also on occasion, little girls leading prayers in worship and reading Scripture in worship, also women leading worship.  We are working toward getting women to serve communion and to usher"

The Hills Church of Christ West Ft. Worth Campus  Ft. Worth, TX  Kyle Kiser, Campus Minister

The West Ft. Worth Campus of the Hills Church of Christ is about two years old and is located in far west Ft. Worth on I.30.  Women presently lead prayer, worship, and participate in other worship activities.  According to a member of this campus of The Hills Church of Christ, over the next year, there are plans to move steadily to a much stronger egalitarian position at all levels of church involvement and worship.

The Vine Church, a church of Christ fellowship, Temple, TX  Sean Palmer, minister

from a member email:  "We have women ministry leaders, women teach mixed adult classes, women have made announcements, women sing solos and sing on our praise team, voice prayers in small groups, lead prayer on Wednesday nights, and make Wednesday night devotional talks.  We sing both accapella and instrumental, but more instrumental.  We have long been considered the more progressive and non-traditional church of Christ in our area."

University Avenue Church of Christ, Austin, TX  Eddie Sharp, Minister 

From their website:  "Thank you for your interest in University Avenue Church of Christ. In our worship services, women are asked to sing, read Scripture, offer prayers, make announcements, and help with the Lord’s Supper."

 

 

Virginia

 

added on 05/30/2013

Roanoke Church of Christ, Roanoke, VA   Keith Wagner, minister

Received from member Mike Brown: "Roanoke became gender inclusive in the early 90s after a period of study and discernment." 

From their website:  "With firm conviction that the scriptures teach the redeeming act of Christ on the cross has broken down all barriers between humankind, and after many years of prayer and study, we of the Roanoke Church of Christ now recognize the contributing gifts and talents of all the redeemed, regardless of gender.  This, along with the other ministries of this church, has given us the greatest sense of mission and purpose we have ever known.  If you are a newcomer, we welcome you and invite you to join us in the grace and freedom of Jesus Christ our Lord.”

added on 01/05/2013

Springfield Church of Christ, Springfield, VA

From their website:  Everyone is invited to participate in our worship services. On any given Sunday, we may have men, women, the young and the old singing, reading scripture, serving communion and leading prayer. For some in our tradition, this is unusual. You are invited to read our thoughts on this here

 

Washington

 

added on 04/24/2013

Federal Way Church of Christ, Federal Way, WA     Ben Ries, preaching minister

by email from Ben Ries:  "If you were to come on a Sunday morning you will find both male and female voices present in our worship. Women will often lead our welcome/call to worship, read scripture, pray, pass communion trays, lead our practice of dwelling (a kind of lectio divina) and share testimony. Women also teach adult bible classes, sometimes by themselves, sometimes in partnership with others. We also have a women ministry leaders (aka deaconesses) and a woman youth minister who leads our 7th-12th grade ministry."

 

 

Wisconsin

 

Mandrake Road Church of Christ, Madison, WI  Roy Ratcliff, minister & elder       

by email from Roy Ratcliff:  "we use women in the worship to help lead worship by  leading prayer and Bible reading, we use women to teach adult Bible classes, and we have a woman deacon."

 

 

 

Canada

 

Ontario

 

Followers of Christ, Brantford, Ontario  Rick Gamble, minister

from an email from Rick:  "Women participate in every aspect of our worship, including leading communion and preaching, and Susan is our worship leader.  It's truly remarkable what God can do and how he can bless his people when you unshackle more than 50 per cent of his people to attain their full potential.  Unlike most churches from our heritage, we also involve women in congregational leadership.  Our leaders are identified through an extensive Spiritual Gifts investigation we do every three years or so, and gender is not used to exclude anyone."

 

(Followers of Christ is a Restoration Movement church with roots in the Churches of Christ.  Also, Rick publishes an email titled Cross Current, which is a true, historical story with a Christian application.  The archive for Cross Current is on my personal web site at http://www.clarksons.org/CrossCurrent/crosscurrent.html )

 

 

 

Stoney Creek Church of Christ  Ontario

From an email a member:  "women serve by being worship leaders, leading prayers, and serving communion...women teach at all levels, including adult classes...one woman on our Servant Leaders team"

British Columbia

 

Shelbourne Street Church of Christ, Victoria   Daniel Patstone, associate minister

 

    Women serve as deacons and are identified on their web site.