August 17, 2007
Name: Amanda Akes
Location: Boston, MA
What do you believe the Churchâs mission is?
I believe the Churchâs mission is to restore all people to right relationship with God and with one another - in a word, reconciliation.
How can women, especially young women, contribute to this mission?
Young women bring a new perspective to the church. Young women view things differently then individuals who have been in positions of power for extended periods of time. Womenâs different perceptions and fresh ideas help to contribute to the work of reconciliation in a vastly innovative and exciting way.
How are you living out the Churchâs mission?
I try to be an agent of reconciliation by seeking to uphold peopleâs dignity, working for social justice, and spending time in contemplation.
How did you first become involved in the Episcopal Church?
I am a cradle-born Episcopalian, but really started getting more involved with the church as a teenager in my churchâs youth group.
What makes you want to stay involved in the church? Why does it hold your interest/why do you keep going back?
One cannot be a Christian in isolation. As members of the body of Christ we are called to be in community with one another. Essentially the Church is a community of believers. The Eucharist helps to bind that community together and unite all people. This reality is made manifest for me in the Episcopal Churchâs tradition, liturgy, and focus.
What would make you leave?
I would become extremely discouraged if the church began denying the marginalized, especially gays and lesbians, their right to be treated with acceptance and equality in the church. BUT, I wouldnât leave. I would work to reform the church and its flaws.
What are your concerns for or about the church? And how would you improve it?
I am concerned that because of its âprogressiveâ views on gay bishops and same sex blessings, the Episcopal Church may split from the Anglican Communion. I think the Episcopal Church has it right, but I hope that we donât split from the Anglican Communion. With a mission of reconciliation; surely we are not called to sunder our communionâ¦
What are your thoughts about the Episcopal liturgy or worship style in regards to the feminine vs. masculine depictions of God?
I believe that the âofficialâ liturgies could be revised a bit. I like the idea of gender neutral language, using terms such as âCreator,â âGod,â âSustainer,â etc. I believe that God is neither male nor female, but I can understand how using terms such as Father or Mother are helpful in describing the relationship between Creator and creation. Unfortunately, masculine terms are more often used to describe God than feminine terms, which I donât like. Jesus referred to God as both Abba, Father; and as Mother when he described God as a hen gathering her chicks beneath her wing.
In what ways has the church, as an institution, ever encouraged or discouraged you, as a woman, in living out your faith convictions?
As a woman, it is encouraging to see women in leadership positions in the church but discouraging that there are so few. It is encouraging to know that there is an Office of Womenâs Ministries at the Episcopal Church Center but discouraging to know that it is there because of gender inequality in society and the church. It is encouraging to hear gender inclusive and gender neutral language in Episcopal liturgies.
What advice would you give other young women in the church?
Donât be afraid to speak up and claim your place within the church.
Do you have any suggestions on how the church could better engage, encourage and empower women?
The church should make it a point to enter into conversation with young women, seek their desires and passions and support them in those endeavors. The church should also create opportunities for young women to gather, network and worship together. Financial backing for such endeavors would emphasize the churchâs supportâ¦