HENDERSONVILLE, NC - While growing up, Gloria Phillips knew that she was not exactly like the other girls at Harmony Baptist Church. The girls enjoyed their time together in Girls in Action (GA's), focusing on cooking, sewing, and learning about missions. Gloria, on the other hand, wished that she could be with the boys in Royal Ambassadors (RA's). RA's seemed like so much more fun to her since the boys got to hunt, camp, and play kickball.
As she grew older, Gloria realized that she enjoyed spending more time with the boys in youth group than with the girls. She dreaded having to attend Acteens. Now that she is an adult, her least favorite activity of the month is the meeting of the Women's Missionary Union (WMU).
Gloria recently decided that she just couldn't take it any more. That's when she did the unthinkable. She petitioned the church to join the Men's Brotherhood. In Southern Baptist life, the Brotherhood is a gathering of the men of the church to discuss men's issues such as sports, hunting, and fishing. There is also a great deal of eating. Occasionally, spiritual issues even come up. For example, does God care who wins this week's college football game?
Since Gloria is much more interested in Brotherhood-type activities, she asked the Deacon Board if she could join. According to Gloria, "I realize that this is a bit out of the ordinary. However, this is the way God made me. I also know that we are all one in Christ, and that God does not look at us differently. After all, Galatians 3:28 says, 'There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.' How can the deacons argue with that?
As of the writing of this post, no answer had yet been given to Gloria. TBNN did manage to interview one of the deacons, who wished to remain nameless. He said, "I understand Gloria's wishes, but this is taking things a bit too far. The church has already become far too feminine. As men, we need a place to call our own. Sure, we only meet for breakfast once a month, but we know that we've got that time to look forward to. If a lady, no matter how masculine, comes into the Brotherhood, it will change the whole dynamic. We have to draw the line somewhere."
When asked what she will do if the Deacon Board rejects her request, Gloria lamented, "If that happens, I'll probably have to leave the church. I've been told by some very friendly ladies from work that their Church of Christ is extremely welcoming toward people like me."