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Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Ordained 19 years
I'm coming up on the 19th anniversary of my ordination in the Presbyterian Church. For 17 of those years I served a local church as pastor or associate pastor. I am currently serving the larger church in the area of Evangelism and New Church Development.

I have been a lurker in the conversation of Emerging Church, Gospel and Our Culture, etc. for years. And it just never occurred to me that most of the voices were men ... I guess, because the ecumenical professional clergy groups and conversations I've been a part of were all mostly men.

It's hard for me to enter into a conversation around women in ministry issues, though, because it's hard for me to identify exactly what the issue is. I, personally, have had a few barriers to overcome, and I continually do, but they are all cultural barriers not theological ones.

Barriers -- being overlooked for "head of staff" roles, a young couple wanting a man preacher for their wedding because the wedding photo's would look weird with a woman pastor officiating, etc.

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posted by Wendy at 9:57 AM ¤ Permalink ¤


7 Comments:


  • At 9/05/2006 12:17:00 PM, Blogger Michele L

    I commend you for your many years serving God and your community. I too, was raised with the ideas that women "shouldn't be pastors", "looked weird performing marriages", etc. As I have gotten older though, and investigated more, I find those thoughts crazy at times. Most of my life anything related to "Christianity, Faith, God, etc." was influenced primarily by women. Either in my family or at church. Sure, the men were pastors, but my deep discussions, learning etc. came from women.
    I think in present times, it is probably more culturally (maybe even more than theologically) influenced than is realized. I for one would love to see a huge change in thought in this area in my lifetime!

     
  • At 9/05/2006 03:20:00 PM, Blogger Amy

    It's encouraging to hear of your years in ministry and your positive experiences.

    My denomination is theologically open to women in ministry at the corporate level, but at the practical level, finding women in pastoral positions outside women's or children's ministry is difficult at best. For the lay-person or more conservatively trained pastor in our denomination, biblicaly inerrancy is applied to 1 Timothy 2 and that's that. Combine that with cultural barriers and the traveling can be rough at times for women in leadership. Just recently at a deacon's meeting, one of the wives (women cannot be deacons at our church at this time) noticed that a woman was doing a portion of the training. When she determined that this woman was actually a deacon, she stuck her finger down her throat in a gagging motion. She proceeded to share that she couldn't stand "those libbers."

    I'm not one for confrontation and yet in the last year, God has come along side me in a very special way and has confirmed in my heart a call to ministry. I have significant support within my church and there is growing awareness of this issue within my denomination, but I do know that there will be bumps in the road on my journey that would be much less likely were I a man. So, I am thankful that as I journey in this call and in my life, I have other women to share with. Thanks all!

     
  • At 9/05/2006 06:07:00 PM, Blogger Michele L

    Encourgement to you also Amy. Hopefully, this group of women and others you come across can help support you through the bumps to come! I can't say I have felt called to ministry as a pastor, but I do sense something is in store for me, and my voice will be active. Peace and strength to you!

     
  • At 9/05/2006 08:33:00 PM, Blogger Wendy

    Yes, I understand. I first experienced my call to ministry when i was about eight years old. I had no women role models and, in fact, was raised in a denomination that still refuses to ordain women. Everytime I asked my pastor about it, though, he said that it was the way it was and I shouldn't question it. I could never accept that answer ... and joined a denomination that is based strongly on the fact that we need to be questioning and challenging and constantly reforming our ideas and practices of faith as we grow in relationship with Christ.

    In the PCUSA we've been ordaining women pastors for 50 years. So, it's clear to me that it's the cultural barriers that are keeping women out of large church head of staff positions and the like.

     
  • At 9/05/2006 10:18:00 PM, Blogger Amy

    Thanks, Michele! God does have a special way of speaking a call into our lives, so I'll pray for you, too. Thanks for your encouragement!

     
  • At 9/07/2006 04:49:00 PM, Blogger Sue Densmore

    I think most barriers are cultural. Even men who don't have a theological problem with women pastors have told me that they would not attend a church with a woman pastor because they would not "feel comfortable."

    Cultural change happens so slowly! I get so frustrated sometimes I want to cry. All those women who have a call and a gift, squelched by long standing cultural bias, continually pushed on us by men who refuse to stop reading their assumptions into their Bibles.

    Thanks to all of you women pastoring out there - God knows the time and sweat and tears, and He will redeem them all in the end.

     
  • At 9/09/2006 12:34:00 AM, Blogger juniper

    Thank you for being a pastor for so many years. My denomination officially believes women can hold any office in the church. At my church level, I see something different in the staff's gender makeup. The bright side is that a lot of the graduating students in the bible college classes are women seeking certification and ordination. Its something to look forward to.

     

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