Reluctant prophets

Jeremiah 1:4–10

My grandmother was 14 years old and living on a farm in Michigan when she made an appointment with her Presbyterian minister to tell him that she felt called to the ministry. “I’m sorry, Emma,” he said. “You must be mistaken. God doesn’t call women into the ministry.” A day or two later her father went to see the minister. “If Emma says she’s called to preach, she’s called to preach—and what’s more, she could preach circles around any boy in this county.” Needless to say, the conviction of a girl and the entreaties of her father did not prevail over the Presbyterian practices of the day. Emma persisted, however, and in 1902 she found a denomination that would ordain her—the Christian Churches, a predecessor denomination of the United Church of Christ. She served congregations for many years.


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