Monday, June 27, 2011

Gifts to Share - Part 7

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”  I Thessalonians 5:11.
Despite some of the challenges of ministry, all of the women I spoke with said that they would encourage woman feeling a call to ministry to follow that call.  Peggy P said, “Do it, do it, do it.  Try lots of different things.”  Darla S said to consider the costs: it is not an easy road and it is never fair, “but if you say 'this is who I am and I can’t be anything else,' then let’s journey together.” 

Ann M and Deborah S urged women ministers to seek out a strong system of support, in a support and accountability committee or a far-flung constellation of friends, ministers, and elders.  Ann M suggested including at least one older woman minister as a guide.  She said, “Meet regularly with this committee and share faithfully with them what is happening for you.  Seek and discern the Holy Spirit's guidance together.  You will be giving them a gift by so doing as well as receiving yourself.”  Deborah S added that it is essential to spend time in prayer and alone with God and to be careful not to let go of the time in reflection and processing. 

Patty L said that she would love to encourage women feeling called to ministry, to be supportive of their strengths and challenge their timidity, and listen, and understand when things weren’t the same for them as the were for men.  Deborah S said to go for it, be joyful, follow your heart, and make sure you have training in dual careers!  Linda C emphasized the importance of dwelling in the Spirit; she said to sink low and remain close to the seed, go deep, and to pray in all things:  “It’s hard work, but there’s joy in it, and fun!”

[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. Hello,

    Women ministers can play an important role so don't hesitate. George Fox fought hard to keep meetings mixed and recognized the equality of women in all aspects based on my reading of his recollections. In his notes, Carl Jung keeps telling men to listen to the inner feminine voice; a man can develop that skill much better when he refines his communication skills with a woman counselor. Also, in Delphi, only men were permitted to walk the steps towards the temple and encouraged to deliver a query to the priestess; to me that was a symbolic practice to teach a man to listen well. Finally, aren't women Quakers already a strong presence?

    I write as a generalist and will apologize now if I have offended anyone with my pagan example
    (delete my comment after you read it).

    I'm not used to see a preacher in a Quaker meeting, but your writing reveals one person's honest exploration, and I'm glad I stumbled in here. Ins't it interesting: The label, "Traveling", is number #1 on your blog in terms of frequency. I wish you great success on your spiritual journey. -TF


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