A unique webpage
On 18 January 2011 a new and for Latvia a unique webpage in Latvian opened its doors – www.sieviesuordinacija.lv( English translation: womens ordination). This project was developed over 11 months by the Association of Lutheran Women Theologians in Latvia (ALWTL). The webpage does not offer ready and quick answers, but is intended to stimulate the reader to form his/her own personal view.
The webpage collects and systematizes information about women’s place and opportunities for service in the Church from the beginnings of Christianity to the present day. This includes historical aspects, personal witnesses, also interviews with women serving in the ministry For visitors to the webpage, here are offered research studies, translations, and publications for unhurried consideration about the issue of women’s ordination.
Themes and articles are grouped in 6 sections: Bible, Tradition, ELCL History(as far as women’s ministry), Other Churches, Praxis, Society. The content of the webpage will be systematically supplemented with materials and various viewpoints. Section News and About usinforms about activities of ALWTL. Section About Webpage informs about webpage www.sieviesuordinacija.lv
The webpage is aimed at Latvian speaking Christians in the world, women and men of various confessions, who are looking for answers to this particular question, as well as students and members of the academic community. For our non-Latvian speaking readers, some parts of the webpage, especially texts and articles that do not already appear in English, will be translated, at least into English, and will be published in section ENGLISH and NEWS.
The purpose of this webpage is to encourage not only ELCL Synod delegates, but also the wider range of society to see how widely and deeply one can consider the issue of women’s service in ordained ministry.
The development and maintenance of the webpage, the work of translation and authors’ original research so far has been financed through our Association’s financial reserves that are designed for the informing and education of society.
Information prepared by Ieva Zeiferte, editor of the webpage, firstname.lastname@example.org
Why this webpage?
The idea for a webpage devoted to the support of women’s ordination arose after the continual discussions of this topic in the ELCL webpage www.lelb.lvin the “Forum” section that began at the end of 2009 and continued for three months. There is a dire lack of materials in Latvian, few studies in Latvian about this specific issue. There is a wide field of theological work to be done. Those were the conclusions and challenges that gave rise to the formation of this webpage.
At the present time, the structure has been worked out. It is not complete and yet enough to start with. This is a “skeleton” for discussion that will gradually receive the necessary “flesh”.
In order to understand this issue in a more than superficial way, not only time is required, but also all our efforts. We need to exhaust the Bible texts, historical texts, research studies of texts. We need to fully feel the pains, we need to meditate, so that every one can come to their own conclusion. We need to talk of the reality of the 21st century that is still being formed by God – our Creator, Savior and Spirit Infiller.
Already 2000 years have passed since Jesus Christ came into this world and became like humans. He as true God lived the life of a true human being from birth to grave. He died, and He rose up. And today He is with us every day in a spiritual way. During his life on earth Jesus left an example for us how to live through both personal example and His new teaching, of which his disciples remarked: But what is this teaching with power? Jesus did not leave instructions how to administratively strengthen the Church, nor how to perform liturgy or various occasional services. He left us a new command: “to love one another just as I have loved you”. Brother Roger of Taize once said that Jesus did not come to earth to found a new religion, but rather to form a new human community. For this we have also the Gospel.
For two thousand years the seekers of Christ’s truth have fought over the correct way to live in this new community and how to understand the new teaching. Due to human weakness, the one Christian Church, the one people of God has become splintered, for it turns out that the understanding of truth has been expressed in such various ways that we have forgotten the chief commandment of Christ: to love one another.
As the Church developed, one of the controversial issues that still today divides the Church and for which people are looking for the one “correct” answer is the issue of women’s service in the ordained ministry. This attitude that somehow ordained women are a problem has come through twists and turns down to the present time. In many Churches, women serve as ordained persons, in many Churches they do not. But yet God continues to call both women and men to follow and serve Him. The Church as the Body of Christ carries in itself both feminine and masculine elements. If you lose the effectiveness of one or the other’s service, it’s like a singing swan with one more and one less developed wing that prevents the bird from rising into the sky.
Looking from a historical viewpoint at how the attitudes toward women in ordained ministry have developed in the Church, we see that these are determined not only by theological views, but also by social and cultural contexts. Often, also by psychological conditions. The service of women, their courage in following the call of Christ is an invaluable contribution through the entire development period of the Church. Women’s service in ordained ministry still today brings rich fruits. This is what this webpage is all about.
You are kindly invited to take a look!
President, Association of Lutheran Women Theologians in Latvia
Latvijas Luterāņu sieviešu teoloģu apvienība veicina izpratni baznīcā un sabiedrībā kopumā ar mērķi atjaunot diskusiju par sieviešu ordināciju. Mēs ticam tam, ka Jēzū Kristū nav nedz vīrieša, nedz sievietes. Kalpot, saskaņā ar evaņģēliju, var tas, kuru Dievs ir aicinājis. Šajā mājas lapā atradīsiet arī Pasaules Luterāņu federācijas ziņas latviešu valodā.
Dievlīdzībā radītas, kopīgi darbojamies, lai pieaugtu ticībā un gudrībā.
Jēzus Kristus māceklībā aicinātas, atbalstām viena otru dažādos aicinājumos un kalpošanas veidos.
Svētā Gara iedvesmotas, lietojam savus talantus un dalāmies pieredzē, iestājāmies par sieviešu ordināciju garīgajos amatos, diskusijām par dzimumu taisnīguma jautājumiem Baznīcā un sabiedrībā.