Mennonite Brethren Churches in the United States will be gathering this winter to discuss women in ministry. The denomination currently allows women to serve in all ministry roles except lead pastor. 

The Mennonite World Review reports that the denomination has called for a conference to discuss what Scripture says about women in ministry and gain an understanding of different views. 

Tim Sullivan is chair of the national Board of Faith and Life (BFL). He told the Mennonite paper that changing the policy is not on the agenda, though some would like to see the restriction end.

“We’ve had a lack of consensus over the years on the policy,” he said. “We’re committed to ongoing conversations but haven’t come back to the Bible and looked together at what the Word says.”

“If nothing else, we will gain a better understanding of different perspectives,” Sullivan said. “I hope we all can walk away from this and say, ‘You are a faithful reader of Scripture, with respect for biblical authority and accuracy.’ ”

Sullivan hopes for a greater appreciation for the range of beliefs on women in ministry.

“Both the complementarian and egalitarian views are a spectrum, not polar opposites,” he said.

Pastors and lay leaders will gather in Tempe, Ariz., in January. The gathering is open to all Mennonite Brethren.