where it all began

After more than a decade working as a leader in a megachurch and speaking at women’s conferences around the US, Jackie Roese realized she was bumping into the same thing again and again. Women all over the country were struggling with issues of covert gender injustice – the Church viewed them as second-class, and their view of themselves was often second-class, too. Where Scripture should have brought freedom from bondage, it was being taught in a way that oppressed women in faith communities. 

Knowing that gender issues are complex and widespread, we began asking: what can we do? What is our tiny piece of this enormous pie? There are incredible organizations tackling issues of gender injustice in practical ways that provide support and aid and bring freedom and empowerment. Their work is invaluable, but we realized that no matter how gender issues present themselves, they continue to exist because of the core belief systems that created them. Tackling the root belief systems that enable gender injustice to exist is our piece of the pie.

So we set out to teach the word of God in a way that ennobles women – dignifying them and lifting them up to nobility, just as Jesus intended. We wanted to reshape the way women view themselves and the way the faith community views women, so that the Church can change what's happening to women and girls around the world. In 2012, The Marcella Project was founded to reshape our view of women in the Church through Scripture-focused teaching, training, and dialogue.

the story behind the name


Marcella epitomizes what it means to not succumb to the world’s ideal of “what it means to be a woman." Instead, she chased after Jesus, letting his love define who she would be. She let nothing get in the way of her pursuit to know God through the Word and to live like Jesus by caring for the poor.

Her story challenges us to be “Marcellas” in our world.  This means pursuing Jesus at all costs and even defying our world’s ideal of womanhood by allowing our love for Jesus to define who we will be and how we will live. Watch the video to hear more about Marcella's story.