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Equity for Women in the Church Community Seeks Non-Profit Status
by Relma Hargus
The commitment of the Alliance of Baptists’ in its covenant to promote the “freedom of the local church to … ordain whom it perceives as gifted for ministry, male or female”
has gained an additional resource through the vision of an Alliance community.
By seeking to become an ecumenical 501(c)3 organization, the Equity for Women in the Church Community is moving toward its goal of facilitating equal representation of clergywomen as pastors of multicultural churches.
The idea to seek the non-profit designation — information received by the Alliance of Baptists’ Board and those attending the business meeting during the recent gathering in Portland, Maine — was originally a consensus of those attending the community’s 2013 Access and Equity for Women in the Church Conference. With that designation, the community gains numerous advantages including reduced postal rates, exemption from Federal income tax and tax-deductible contributions.
The October 2013 meeting brought together both lay and clergy participants from the Alliance and nine other religious entities.
Jann Aldredge-Clanton and Sheila Sholes-Ross, co-chairs of the Alliance’s Equity for Women Community, coordinated that conference hosted by Wake Forest Divinity School.
“It was a dream come true to connect with those who are like-minded in other denominations,” Jann said.
“Alliance members expressed appreciation for our ‘both/and’ approach, that we will be both an Alliance of Baptists’ Community and a new ecumenical organization,” Jann said. “This new organization will have many advantages as we move forward as an ecumenical, multicultural organization to fulfill our vision of facilitating equal representation of clergywomen as pastors of multicultural churches.”
Twelve people representing a diversity of races, genders, and denominations have committed to serving on the board of directors of the new ecumenical organization.
Sheila, who credits support from the Equity Community as well as the Alliance of Baptists as instrumental in supporting her goal to become a pastor, said, continued commitment is needed to promote the “advancement of clergywomen across race, ethnicity and denominations.”
“There is much work still to be done and that is why creating this 501©3 is of upmost importance,” she said.
Craig Henry, an Alliance member from Monroe, La., is drawing up the articles of incorporation and bylaws for the new organization.