Concept: In her essay, Rev. Dr. Katie G. Cannon reframes the conversation around women’s leadership from a model where women demand equality to justice ministry. In this lesson, participants will explore a Presbyterian theology of justice.
Setting: This lesson is intended for an adult small group or education class.
Time: The lesson is intended for a 60 minute session, but may be adjusted to meet your needs.
Objectives: At the end of the lesson, the participant will:
Preparation: Find 4-5 images of women serving in church leadership. (Be intentional about including women of color). Place them around the room where the participants can see them all easily. Make handouts of the excerpts of the Book of Confessions. All participants should have read Cannon’s essay prior to the session.
Materials: Images, pens/pencils, paper, handouts of the Book of Confessions excerpts, whiteboard and dry erase marker
Opening: Greet participants as they enter. Ask if there were any questions from the last session or from reading Cannon’s essay.
Presenting: Ask the participants to look at the pictures of women leaders. Ask the participants the following questions:
Exploring: Divide the participants into four groups. (If you have a large group, you may need to assign more than one group to each topic).
Group 1: Westminster Larger Catechism, Questions 134, 135, 136
Group 2: Westminster Larger Catechism, Questions 140, 141, 142
Group 3: Confession of 1967, Part I, Section B. “The Love of God.”
Group 4: A Brief Statement of Faith, section 10.4
Ask the groups to discuss the following questions: What do we learn about God from this excerpt? More specifically, what do we learn about what justice looks like for God? How does God’s justice inform how we view gender equality in the church?
Invite the groups to share their findings with one another. Where do the confessions agree with one another? Where do they disagree? Do certain confessions choose to highlight some aspects of God’s justice over others? How should we view gender equality taking each confession’s beliefs about God’s justice? Write the responses on the whiteboard.
Responding: Presbyterians have believed differently throughout the history of the church. Invite the participants to examine the responses on the whiteboard and write down if there are responses with which they strongly agree or disagree, and reflect on why. If time permits, divide the group into pairs to discuss their findings.
Closing: Invite the participants to share prayer requests with one another. (If you have a large group, ask the participants to divide into smaller groups). You may either decide to pray for the group or ask the participants to pray in their small groups. Close by praying the Lord’s Prayer together. Distribute copies of the essay by Rev. Lindsay Armstrong, or arrange to have it sent to participants electronically.