Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Gifts to Share - Part 2

Coming from Other Faith Traditions
“But who is God here?  God is known and experienced as an inner power.  This is where Quaker theology is crucial.  Divine authority and power are located within the woman minister.  This gives the amazing potential for the woman to claim dynamic power, agency and authority―a radical potential in light of a general social context which acted to ensure female passivity and conformity.”  Maureen Graham, Women of Power and Presence: The Spiritual Formation of Four Quaker Women Ministers.
Most of the women that I interviewed grew up in faith traditions other than the Religious Society of Friends.  Several of the stories had common themes: feeling a clear call to ministry at a young age, but not being able to follow that call because the denomination did not allow women in ministry.  Many said that the fact that Friends allowed women in ministry was one of the things that attracted them to Friends.

Darla S’s story mirrors many of the themes women shared of growing up in denominations that did not allow women in ministry.  Darla, now a pastor and recorded minister in Northwest Yearly Meeting, grew up in a Baptist church and felt called to be a minister in high school.  She quickly found that there wasn’t space for her to be a minister in that tradition, but she was told that she would make a great pastor’s wife.  Darla said that being up front wasn’t even something that crossed her mind, because she knew that it wasn’t allowed.  As an adult, Darla and her husband joined the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ.  The leaders of that organization told her that, because she had small children, she had to quit her job and her ministry and stay home with the children.  

Years later, Darla learned about Friends while she was studying at George Fox Evangelical Seminary.  She was intrigued by the history of egalitarianism from the beginning.  Looking back on her experiences, Darla said, “It was a long journey . . . it took me a while to understand that my voice was equal to anybody else’s voice, and that my call was equal to anybody else’s call.”

[From the research paper I wrote for the School of the Spirit on the stories of women from different branches of Friends who have been recorded as ministers.]

1 comment:

  1. Likewise, I have found that those opposed to women ministers are those who have come from other traditions and have not fully embraced Quaker teaching in this area.


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