Author: Beth Whitney - Assistant to Lead Pastor
Unless you live under a rock, you’re aware of this movement. Whether you agree with it or not, it has brought awareness to how many women face sexual harassment, assault, and in the worst cases, rape.
But more recently, the mistreatment of women in the evangelical world has bubbled to the surface. We’ve read how women are wrongly counseled in abusive marriages, and about the objectification and marginalization of women in ministry - by their brothers in Christ.
There have been several open letters, some with the ability to add your name to the list of signees. As I’ve read and followed along, I had the strong desire to write this letter. So here it is.
An Open Letter to Arcadians:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I write this letter from a place of joy and gratitude. Serving in ministry at Arcade Church is a gift. As a member of the staff, who happens to be a woman, I want to give you a peek into what that’s like.
First of all, at Arcade Church, the gospel is elevated and much is made of Christ. Part of the way this happens is women are treated as fellow image bearers. Women are not marginalized, dismissed, sexualized, or objectified.
If you’ve ever worked in a place where harassment or assault is just a part of the job, you know the emotions that come when you drive into the parking lot. Dread. Fear. Frustration. You think to yourself, “what is going to happen today?”, and gear up for the dreaded interactions. I cannot tell you what a relief it is to come to work daily, and those thoughts and emotions are the furthest thing from my mind. I don’t ever feel the need to be on guard. As a woman, I am aware of my vulnerability, and that is never exploited or taken advantage of. The men watch over the women on staff like a big brother would protect his sister. There has never been a #MeToo moment for me in the hallways of Arcade. For that, I am so thankful.
Look around...think back...anything of significance in recent years at Arcade has women’s fingerprints all over it. This is because women on staff are not told to stay in their lane or just do their job. It’s quite the opposite. Spiritual, personal, and vocational flourishing is strongly encouraged. Women (but also men) are championed to grow, create, learn, develop - even if it means they grow out of their current role. The leadership cultivates an environment where all staff are motivated to keep pushing and growing until capacity is reached...and then reach some more!
The pastors and other male staff are humble. I can think back to several times when an apology was extended, a plea for forgiveness when an offense was perceived.
Like I said at the beginning - being on staff at Arcade Church is truly a privilege. I’m afraid this letter is not enough to communicate that clearly. If I were to sum up this entire note in one sentence, it would be this: Among the staff at Arcade Church, there is mutual respect, Christ-like love, and compassion within the relationships between men and women, brothers and sisters, working together on mission.
What is that mission?
Say it with me: to get as many people as possible to hear, see and follow Jesus.
Love in Christ,
Assistant to Lead Pastor