Women in Ministry

Women leaders are vital to our work together as a church.

As Bishop Smith says in our “Seriously?” video, “We can’t be the whole church for the sake of the gospel without the presence, the gifts, and the leadership of both men and women.”

We invite you to explore the ways the NC Synod is working to change the landscape for women leaders.

An Open Letter to Bishop Timothy Smith,
NC Synod, ELCA

Fall Convocation, Lutheridge, October 10, 2018

Dear Bishop Smith,
Aware of some of the destructive, demeaning, and distasteful words and actions said and done to women, and in recognition of the call of God as mediated by the call of the ELCA to word and sacrament ministry or to word and service ministry, and in support of our colleagues—our sisters in Christ Jesus—we the undersigned rostered male leaders of the NC Synod ask you, as Bishop, to make known to congregations seeking leadership that if we are in the call process, we do not desire to interview for the position of pastor with any congregation who refuses to consider extending a call to a rostered leader who is female.

Note: Seminarians and retired pastors were invited to add their names in support of their female colleagues.

In the unity and hope of Christ Jesus our Lord,
The Rev. Russell Makant & The Rev. Jonathan Schnibben


  • Jonathan Conrad
  • Scott Anderson
  • Ben Krey
  • Greg Williams
  • Paul Carlson
  • Matt Canniff-Kesecker
  • David Eric Fox
  • Tommy Lineberfer
  • Gregory Yeager
  • Scott Berry
  • Will Rose
  • Kyle Bates
  • Jefferey Ingold
  • Russell D. Peek
  • Daniel R. Burris
  • Paul Christ
  • Jesse Canniff-Kuhn
  • Philip Thoresen
  • Joseph Tallent
  • John Locke
  • Sean Barrett
  • Ethan Overcash
  • Joseph A Miller
  • Matthew M Smith
  • Paul Myers
  • Ed Harper
  • Chad Walker
  • John W Futterer
  • Richard C Little
  • Matt Miller
  • David T Drysdale
  • John Tucker
  • Ronald D. Philabaum
  • Daniel Keck
  • Bob Shoffner
  • Ben Kifer
  • John Mark Beam
  • Andrew Miller

If you are a male clergy in the NC Synod and would like to add your name to the petition, click the button below.


A video of actual things said to women pastors by parishioners and male pastors.

This video created by the NC Synod has reinforced the need to have hard and healthy conversations around the reality for many of our women in ministry. To guide these conversations, check out the companion discussion guide. It is designed to be used in a group setting with a facilitator.

The guide shares the story behind the video, provides for conversation and closes with a litany of lament and commitment. Also included are additional resources for further conversation.

We hold leaders accountable to a life committed and equipped for giving witness to the gospel. We seek to support leadership in healthy habits in all areas of life (social, emotional, physical, financial, vocational, intellectual, and spiritual). Reflecting the diversity of God’s world, we commit to develop multi-cultural and culturally sensitive leaders who engaged in life-long learning.

Walking with leaders, we strive to identify and nurture and create space for on-going discernment.

The compiled narratives below were collected from three gatherings of women on the Word & Sacrament roster and one gathering of women on the Word & Service roster. We have had 67 of our just over 100 women on the combined rosters as part of these conversations. We share these with our utmost attempt to preserve anonymity and with immense gratitude for the honesty and vulnerability of our women so that we can be better together.

Each gathering was facilitated by Dr. Mindy Makant, Deacon. The gatherings included time with rostered women with the female bishop’s staff present. A portion of the time was spent in conversation without bishop’s staff present. Following several hours of our conversation, Bishop Tim joined us and heard a summary of the conversation. Each gathering ended in worship together.

Word & Sacrament Word & Service


NC Synod Podcasts

Listen to the “Seriously?” podcast eight-part series


Sign the Petition

If you are a male clergy in the NC Synod and would like to add your name to the petition, click here.

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