WORDS Jules Badger | ART Nicole Gesmundo
The Salvation Army is an egalitarian movement. This means that we believe all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities. While there is still much work to be done, we celebrate the jewel in our egalitarian crown—the equality women hold within The Salvation Army—thanks, of course, to the influence, ability and theological prowess of our co-founder Catherine Booth.
Catherine’s deft exegetical handling of the ‘clobber passages’ used to keep women quietly in submission, alongside her broader reading of Scripture that emphasised examples of women leading, ministering and prophesying, soundly convinced her husband William Booth that equality between men and women was not only part of God’s original design, but part of his redemptive plan. And so, since the 1860s, our women have always led and preached—this is one of our distinctives and one that we should be very proud of.
This month we celebrate the launch of Raise Your Voice, a gender equity Bible study, available for download from March 18. Contributors to the study are Ingrid Barratt, Liz Gainsford, Ian Gainsford, David Noakes, Christina Tyson, Fay Molen and Missy Ditchburn.
‘We felt strongly that we needed a robust, strong, biblical foundation for what we believe,’ says Ingrid Barratt, member of the Territorial Gender Equity Committee. ‘This is a Bible study for men and women. The emphasis is on women because that’s whose voices we need to raise, but we need men to understand the Army’s allyship in gender equity, just as William Booth did.’
The Gender Equity Committee would love every corps and centre to use Raise Your Voice this year. ‘Please use it because gender equity is such an integral part of who we are as an Army,’ explains Ingrid.
Raise Your Voice is available for download from March 18. Go to women.salvationarmy.org.nz