Saturday, December 10, 2011

When Churches Started to Ordain Women

I found an interesting chronology on the Religious Tolerance site regarding when churches started to ordain women.  This timetable begins with the early 1800's, which is interesting in itself.  One of the arguments against women's ordination is its historic novelty, not its ancient roots. Given the more liberal nature of this site, I wonder why they didn't try to trace women's ordination further back?  Could it be that the church did not know such a novelty in previous eras, except in cases of heretical sects?  Furthermore, it is interesting to see how some of those initially ordained to the ministry in the 1800's, outside of the Quakers, either gravitated toward the Unitarians or came out of this group.  The Unitarian Universalist denomination, the site notes, became "the first large denomination to have a majority of female ministers. In 1999-APR, female ministers outnumbered their male counterpart 431 to 422." Looking at the remainder of the chronology, one wonders how close an association there is between the ordination of women and the liberal decline of theology in a given denomination. No doubt there is already a study on this worthy reading....

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