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Evangelical Lutheran Women

302 - 393 Portage Avenue,
Winnipeg, Manitoba. R3B 3H6

Executive Director: Ruth Vince [e-mail]
Phone: (204) 984-9160.
Fax: (204) 984-9162.
Publication: Esprit [e-mail]
Website: www.elw.ca

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Home » Womens Desk » With Many Voices » Qualitative Phase Send to a friend     print

Qualitative Phase

  • 25 of the survey participants volunteered to participate in this portion of the study
  • The research question was: What is it like on a daily basis to live and work as an ordained woman?
  • Data collection included journals, personal interviews, focus group interviews, and e-mail interactions
  • Analysis was by standard qualitative techniques
  • Key Findings: The overall theme identified that represented the answer to the research question was "Living and Ministering Under Dynamic Tensions"
  • Eight dynamic tensions were identified as sub-themes, four personal (acceptance, identity, voice and coping) and four job related (job expectations, job overload, job uniqueness and status, and job future)


    1. Allowed into the Ministry but Not Fully Accepted (Acceptance)
    2. Being Ordained while Being Female (Identity)
    3. Called to Speak Out but Silenced (Voice)
    4. Resolving Tensions, Hanging On, or Getting Out (Coping)
    5. Called to Serve God but Viewed as Being Paid to Be on "24 Hour Call" (Job Expectations)
    6. Handling Overload Clashes with Self-care and Needs for Support (Job Overload)
    7. Different Ministries Demand Unique Skills (Job Uniqueness and Status)
    8. Balancing Tensions with Possibilities of a Hopeful Future (Job Future)

Suggested Actions Based on the Qualitative Findings

  • Address the issues of acceptance, identity and voice for ordained women as interrelated issues.
  • Give particular attention at seminary and early in a ministry career to the tensions that are a part of being ordained and female.
  • Identify clearly the role of congregational dynamics as well as pastoral qualities or gender in the successful inclusion of ordained women in the ELCIC
  • Challenge the misunderstandings of the nature, assumptions, beliefs and intent of feminism in the church
  • Open the doors in the church for the discussion and dialogue about controversial issues such as feminist theologies, sexual harassment, inclusive language, the inclusion of gays and lesbians, other sexuality issues, and social justice issues. Allow for dissenting and prophetic voices to be heard and considered rather than silenced.
  • Review the nature of the job expectations, overload, status, and future for the ordained ministry for women as well as men. Challenge unworkable views and beliefs, review how existing policy might support unworkable views of the job. Provide opportunities for congregational education about the meaning and expectations for everyone for truly "shared ministry".

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