A myriad of barriers—theological, cultural, historical, sociological, and institutional—continue to keep women clergy from flourishing at all levels of leadership and must be addressed for women in the church to gain equality with men.
Although evangelical and Canadian histories have tended to under-examine the contributions of women, an emphasis on the example of Phoebe Palmer readily offers a visible standard of Canadian evangelical emancipation.
Abundant canonical, literary, and epigraphical evidence proves women were ordained leaders in the church for centuries. Women who aspire to ordained ministry today can be encouraged by the rich history of women’s ordination.
The tradition of women raising the eucharistic cup is witnessed from the late 100s to the mid-500s, including evidence from the three oldest surviving iconographic artifacts that depict early Christians in real churches.
Catherine Kroeger, the founding president of CBE, stated, “although women had made forays into the field of biblical interpretation, it was to be Katharine Bushnell who would bring out the heavy artillery.”