"You can be a minister. Just don’t marry one,” I heard myself telling a little girl in my church, and then wondered where that came from. I suspect that I meant it as a compliment to my husband, who was standing nearby. Perhaps I had been short-tempered, as I sometimes am on Sunday mornings, so the comment was my way of saying that I know it is not always easy to be married to a minister.
A North Carolina Baptist church has called its second woman pastor—an act that is still rare among Baptist moderates, despite the fact that virtually all moderate and progressive Baptist institutions support women’s eligibility for the ministry.
Methodists opened the ordained ministry to women in 1956, and today female ministers account for about 20 percent of the clergy in the denomination. And 14 bishops heading the 50 U.S. regional jurisdictions of the United Methodist Church are women—28 percent of the total.
The Baptist General Convention of Texas annual meeting narrowly elected the state body’s first female president and continued a two-decade trend of choosing officers endorsed by the moderate Texas Baptists Committed organization.
Joy Fenner, 70, of Garland, Texas, a former missionary to Japan and incumbent BGCT first vice president, was elected 900-840 over pastor David Lowrie.
The 2,700-member First Baptist Church of Decatur, Georgia, has become the largest church associated with the Southern Baptist Convention or the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship to hire a woman as senior pastor.
The Christian Reformed Church quietly made history last month as its Synod voted to remove the word male from its requirements for church office. After 37 years of back-and-forth struggle, delegates opened the way for women to become ministers in any of the CRC’s 1,000-plus U.S. and Canadian churches.
Harvard Divinity School’s 2002 Religion in the Feminist Movement Conference drew overwhelming interest. The demand for seats was so high that participants spilled from the conference hall into a second room where speeches were projected onto a video screen.
The Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board will cease endorsing women for chaplain positions “where the role and function of the chaplain would be seen the same as that of a pastor.” The move will apparently bring an end to the SBC’s endorsement of new female chaplains for the military but apparently will not prevent women from serving as hospital chaplains.