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Caught by the Fence: Challenges Facing Women in Ministry Leadership in the Mennonite Brethren Church Open Access


Other title
servant leadership
Mennonite Church
visionary approach
women in ministry leadership
Type of item
Degree grantor
St. Stephen's College
Author or creator
Kathleen Neufeld
Supervisor and department
Dr. Geoffrey Wilfong-Pritchard|Dr. Fran Hare|Dr. Barbara Rice
Examining committee member and department
Dr. Jean Waters
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Ministry
Degree level
The purpose of this project was to examine the challenges women face in ministry leadership in the Mennonite Brethren Church in Canada. A historical study of the role of women in the church was conducted. The Mennonite Brethren Church attempted to attract women into leadership positions by examining the biblical texts used to restrict women, by holding study conferences, and by passing resolutions. In the larger context of society leadership models moved from a patriarchal to a visionary approach that included women. In addition, the concept of the leader as servant was developed and third wave feminism drew attention to an inclusive approach without hierarchal structures based on inherited privilege. A study of Jesus’ instructions to his disciples confirmed a servant leadership model for his followers. The servant leadership model created a dilemma for women who historically were asked to serve while men provided official leadership. This narrative inquiry explored the lived experiences of three women in ministry leadership. They told stories of attitudes, language, and structures that did not recognize their leadership in equal partnership with men. The voices of the women in this study are a crucial piece in understanding the shifts that must occur in the church debate if women are to be attracted to ministry leadership.
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
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