September 27th, 2013 at 70 James St S, St Paul’s Presbyterian

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Broadening the Conversation on Women, Men, and the Church

Act Like Men Q_Mark Graphic v2

This Fall, in downtown Hamilton, a group of male pastors from America are running a conference called “Act Like Men”. The conference is part of a far greater movement that believes it is crucially important for men to “step up” as the leaders in their church and home. While we all acknowledge the need for men to be mature and Christ-like, but this focus on “male leadership” can be incredibly damaging to BOTH men and women, and of course, to the Body of Christ itself.

We suggest that the Christian life is less about leading and more about how we serve one another.

As a preemptive tool we are hosting another conference, one week before “Act Like Men”, trying to share a broader story of what God is doing in his church, which is neither slave nor free, Jew nor Gentile, male nor female; but it is the new creation.

This ongoing conversation about gender and the church will welcome new voices as we fill in the gaps, offering an alternative to the dominant narrative within the evangelical church.

In the end, hopefully we learn more about how to serve like Jesus.

The style for the conference is unique: over the course of three hours each speaker will be given 15 minutes for a short presentation on a theme relating to gender and the church. Also, there will probably be a few surprises along the way!

Finally, there will be a number of “follow up” conversation on Saturday morning for those who are interested. Details will be released closer to the date of the conference, but feel free to keep your Saturday AM open for conversations at Hamilton’s best coffee shops!

September 27th, 2013 at 70 James St S, St Paul’s Presbyterian

7:00PM -10:00PM


Speakers (more to come)

wendy gritter

Wendy Gritter

Finding Jesus On The Gender Margins

Wendy is an internationally recognized contributor in the conversations around faith and sexuality.  As an avid student of the church, she is committed to equipping the local congregation to nurture radical hospitality. 

Active in social media, check Wendy out on TwitterFacebook and blog  and join in the conversation!

Wendy has served as the Executive Director of New Direction since 2002. 
Email Wendy
Wendy’s podcasts


David Fitch

David Fitch grew up in Hamilton Ontario. He now resides with his wife and son in the Chicago suburbs. According to Christianity Today, “David Fitch is an unusual church planter because he is also a theologian, occupying the Lindner Chair of Evangelical Theology at Northern Seminary… This double life has made his writing … must-reading in emerging, evangelical, and mainline setting.” David loves coaching church planting for the C&MA in the U.S and just living in a neigbourhood seeking God’s Kingdom with fellow believers. He has published numerous articles, and books including his latest Prodigal Christianity: 10 Signposts Into the Missional Frontier (Jossey-Bass 2013). He writes for numerous websites and his own weblog, Reclaiming the Mission.


Joanna Manning

Joanna Manning is a feminist activist and former Roman Catholic nun currently living in Canada. Originally from Britain, she joined the Society of the Holy Child Jesus and studied medieval history before leaving the religious life and marrying in 1970. She then moved to Toronto and worked as an administrator within the Roman Catholic school boards.
Manning eventually grew dissatisfed with the teachings of her church and sought to reform its patriarchal system from within, something which provoked the ire of the Archibshop of Toronto. She has written a number of books about her demands for reform and has written for local Toronto newspapers on the topic. Following the election of Pope Benedict XVI, Manning was received into the Anglican Church of Canada in which she was ordained a deacon on 1 May 2011 by Colin Johnson and a priest on 27 November 2011.


Rob Walker

A PhD student who pursues dialogue between evangelical, pentecostal and/or queer people, Rob Walker hopes that his life as a gay man and lover of Jesus can be of service to God’s Church. He is a postulant for ordination in the Anglican Church of Canada with a passion for healing ministry through prayer and writing, perhaps especially because he lives with Cerebral Palsy. Rob also loves science fiction (especially all things Star Trek) but hopes no one will question his manhood because of it! He blogs at


Dorcas Gordon

Women’s Call to Leadership: Revisiting the Biblical Mandate

The Reverend Doctor Dorcas Gordon is the Principal and Associate Professor of Biblical Interpretation and Preaching at Knox College, University of Toronto. Prior to that, she was Director of the Doctor of Ministry program at the Toronto School of Theology. She is an ordained minister in The Presbyterian Church in Canada.

Dorcas has been active in international ecumenical agencies throughout her ministry. She is President of the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada, serves on the Advisory Board of the Auburn Centre in New York and of the Bat Kol Program in Jerusalem, Israel. She is married to Noel; together they have four children and five grandchildren.

The New Testament sets out the significant roles that women played in the early Christian communities. A careful reading of the biblical texts argues that they were called with men to be ministers, missionaries, apostles and church leaders. This presentation will describe some of these women broadening the traditional conversation that even today wrongly assigns them a limited role in the Christian community.


Cynthia Westfall

Act Like Jesus! Discipleship impacts gender roles

Dr. Westfall has been at McMaster Divinity College since 2005, teaching courses in New Testament, Greek exegesis, biblical interpretation and women in ministry, which are devoted to a commitment to transformation by God’s word through its application to all aspects of life and ministry. She is completing a book on Paul and Gender for the Library of Pauline Studies, which is a work that concerns one of the most pressing issues in evangelicalism. It offers a fresh perspective on texts that have been a conundrum while weighing in the significance of additional data of Paul’s teaching on both genders.


Karen Lowe

Stuck in a Moment

Karen Elliott Lowe is an ordained pastor with the Canadian Baptists of Ontario and Quebec. She is transitioning into being a pastor after working as a frontline social worker in Hamilton for about 10 years. She is excited to be co-directing Lectio House, an urban retreat house, with her husband Dr. Matthew Lowe. Karen is seeking certification as a spiritual director in order to be able to provide direction at Lectio House. She is currently between pastoral roles but is looking forward to sharing news of a new pastorate soon.

Stuck in a Moment — The story of the creation and fall of humankind has been used to justify patriarchal and complimentarian viewpoints. This presentation will provide a re-reading of Genesis 2 and 3 focusing on God’s prognosis of Adam’s situation, “It’s not good for the man to be alone,” and Adam’s justification for disobeying God, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Is humankind destined to be stuck in that moment of blame, or is there a way for us to live into the beautiful realization that both male and female have been created for each other in the image of our God?


Dallas Friesen

“Let me introduce you to my pastor’s husband”

Dallas Friesen has been pastoring at Mount Hamilton Baptist Church with his wife Leanne for over eight years. He has studied at a Lutheran and a Baptist school and has recently completed a doctoral program at Tyndale Seminary. He is a father to two kids. He loves to play basketball, the Appalachian dulcimer and bass guitar. He is a repurposer and enjoys making soup. This talk is about the story of a man who is in love with his wife, his family, his church and his senior pastor. Dallas has served as a Pastor alongside his wife for over eight years. From this experience, he has gained some insights about the role of women in the church and the importance of communication in relationships.

Event Info


map of st paul's

  • St Paul’s Presbyterian
  • Hamilton, ON
  • Directions


  • $10

  • Everyone

  • even at the door



Any further info you’ll need to know about the event will magically appear here as we continue to work out the details.



6:00 Doors Open
7:00 Karen Elliott Lowe, Dallas Friesen, Wendy VanderWal Gritter
8:15 Cindy Westfall, Robert Walker, Dorcas Gordon
9:15 Joanna Manning, David E Fitch