Women in leadership gather in Seoul for roundtable

A joint initiative by the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) and Council for World Mission (CWM) brought together women from more than 20 countries for a “Women in Leadership Roundtable”.

The meeting enabled space for mutual sharing, solidarity, advocacy, and reflection for women navigating patriarchal contexts.

Philippa Osei, URC Youth Moderator Elect 2022-2023, who attended the event held in South Korea, shares her experience:

I was invited to South Korea for the Women in Leadership Roundtable by the Council for World Mission and the World Council of Reformed Churches, and it was a baptism of fire!

A group of around 30 female leaders, young and old, from around the world were hosted in the epicentre of Seoul to discuss our individual contexts and how we all navigate in a patriarchal world and church.

My eyes were opened to so many issues facing women in the Church including gatekeeping, indigenous discrimination, and the plight of our Iranian sisters.

We discussed generational differences through the themes of “honouring our mothers”, “lamenting with our sisters” and “rejoicing for our daughters”. This allowed us to understand the causes that bind us through interpretation of biblical female trailblazers, such as the daughters of Zelophahad who won over centuries of patriarchal laws to claim their inheritance.

A particular conversation we had about the way we discuss “fallen women” – such as Tamar – stimulated poignant conversations about how misogyny has been weaponised against victims in the Church for centuries.

Visiting our hosts, the Presbyterian Church of Korea was interesting as we learned so much about the roots of missionary work in Korea and their work with mothers and children.

We also had an impromptu session set up by Victoria Turner, conversing with Korean theologian Chung Hyun Kyung about Buddhist Christian dialogue and her experiences with crossing the controversial De-Militarised Zone between North and South Korea.

This was such an enlightening conversation and really highlighted the type of empathic and open discussions we want to cultivate at our future Women in Leadership Roundtable meetings.

It was such a privilege to be invited across the world to fellowship with amazing women and discuss the important issues that face us.

For more information on the event held in October 2022, read more.


Image: World Communion of Reformed Churches