So it is that time of year again. New Frontiers have their annual conference at Brighton called TOAM (I think it stands for "Tragically Only Alpha Males" or something similar).
Worth looking at their main speakers (6 men), oh well maybe not then.
Lets try their leadership track speakers. There are 33 of which 29 are men and 4 women. Great, some progress you might think. The four women are:
- Liz Holden
- Beverley Landreth-Smith
- Ashleigh Smyth
- Wendy Virgo
However, before we get too excited:
- all 4 women are the wives of New Frontiers Pastors, all but 1 (Beverley Landreth-Smith) have their husband as a speaker at TOAM. Clearly it is only ok for Beverley to speak without her husband speaking as well because we are reassured "Beverley has a passion for gathering women for days together, and has organised a number of women's conferences in the Home Counties region" – so quite safe, she only talks to women.
- 3 of the women (all but Ashleigh Smyth) are speaking in the track for women (wonder which men will go to check that what they say is ok).
- Ashleigh is supporting her husband in the track about marriage and parenting (probably playing a key role in the session on submission and sex).
On the other hand, trying to be fair, Kate Simmonds (Australia) is listed first as one of their Worship Leaders. Better hope she does not try to sneak in any teaching in that worship.
As usual New Frontiers keep as quiet as they can in public about their policies on gender. I could not find anything specifically about their policies on the TOAM website. So as usual it all has to be done by looking at the outcomes.
So far that does not look good but I'll try to track blogs to see what I can glean (note I don't generally bother watching video as it just takes too long and is hard to quote and respond to).
In the past, so far as I am aware, nobody has reported on any TOAM session led by a woman. I hope that this year that might change, although given the sessions timetable I don't expect to find any such sessions very edifying.