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Question and Answer

Women Ushers

Question:

At church services, ushers greet people and provide church bulletins for the service; then part way through the service they collect the offering. May both men and women perform these functions, or is there a Biblical basis for limiting them to men only? If the former, is it customary in the OPC to limit them to men? Or does each local church decide for itself on the matter, based on custom and/or on practical considerations?

Answer:

Usher is not, according to our form of government, an office within the church. Our denomination recognizes from Scripture that there are three distinct offices: ministers, ruling elders, and deacons. We believe that it is these three offices which are restricted to men only. Only a man can be, according to he Word of God, a minister, ruling elder, or deacon.

That means that other functions within the church are open to women. In our church, for example, women teach Sunday School to the children and perform many other worthy functions.

Traditionally, in OPC churches the ushers have been men and so have the offering collectors (at least in the few OPC churches I have been in—there may be some that are different). But that really is only tradition. There is nothing in our form of government, nor in our doctrinal standards (i.e., the Westminster Standards), nor in Scripture that would forbid us from using women as greeters, ushers, or offering collectors (presuming that such a person would not be leading in prayer—such as an offertory prayer—during public worship).

I hope this helps. Please feel free to follow up with me if you have a further question.


About Q&A

"Questions and Answers" is a weekly feature of the OPC website. At least one new question is posted each week, so there should always be something new here for you to read. (For those who would like to look at previous questions and answers, they will continue to be available as well.)

The questions come from individuals like yourself. If you have questions about biblical and theological matters, you are invited to send them by e-mail by using the "Pose a Question" link on the OPC home page or by clicking here.

The purpose of the OPC website's "Questions and Answers" is to respond to biblical and theological questions. Matters of church discipline, disputes, or debates go beyond the scope of our work. We recommend that you present your concerns in these areas to the appropriate judicatory. In most cases this will be to a local pastor, elder, or session. We do not want the website to replace personal involvement in, or commitment to, the local, visible church.

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You will receive an answer by email. Please be patient as many of our respondents are busy pastors. The response to your question may take up to two weeks. Some of the questions submitted will be chosen to be posted here, along with the corresponding answers.

The answers come from individual ministers in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church expressing their own convictions and do not necessarily represent an "official" position of the Church, especially in areas where the Standards of the Church (the Scriptures and the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms) are silent.

Note that the "Questions and Answers" posted on the site have been edited—all personal references are removed, Scripture references may be added, and sometimes portions are expanded—to make the questions and answers more useful to a larger audience.

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