One of the big tasks of any community should be to create groups and channels through which members can give of themselves in order to help others. Task forces work-days, ad hoc committees all should be available. Instead we often . . . raise money for somebody else to go out and do something Christian. If women educate the children in school and at home, why don’t they figure more prominently on school boards? Why aren’t former nurses trained as volunteer hospital visitors for the parish? Why aren’t the women of the parish asked to make parish surveys to discover the problems of the needy, who will for the most part be women and children?

Ecumenism is a good example. At the moment we don’t need a lot more theologizing—the structures are already far behind in finding ways to implement the findings. What we need is a large amount of grass-roots getting to know each other, visiting back and forth, experiencing one another’s forms of worship, planning for the ecumenical future. And women would have a lot to offer in this kind of situation. Just by training and experience, they know how to plan a pleasant social evening, how to help people meet other Christians as people, how to keep a conversation going. Yet ecumenism is hardly ever a lay affair. No wonder people find it boring!

by ARLENE SWIDLER excerpted from Woman in a Man’s Church published by iPub Global Connection LLC (74-75).