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I am a member of the RevGalBlogPal blog ring, and I have been for about 8 years now. I had an anonymous blog before this one that sustained me through seminary. It has been deleted, after being printed and archived. This post is a challenge and contest from RevGals!
Here is the set-up: Have a case of the Augusts? Not ready for the program year to start? Thinking about how you can’t save the world, or even your little corner of it? RevGals can’t fix it all either, but we can give you a reason to post to your blog!
The #RallyRevGals Blog Contest will run from Tuesday, August 18, to Sunday, August 31.
To be eligible:
- be a member of our webring,* check!
- write a blog post about a woman who has been a positive influence on your ministry (whether or not she is/was a pastor), see the rest of this post!
- use the tag/hashtag #RallyRevGals in your subject line as well as categories or tags on your blog,
- share the link in the comments on the blog post on RGBP, in the comments on the accompanying Facebook group post, or on Twitter (be sure to use the hashtag so we can find your blog post). I hope to do all three - I'm feeling ambitious!
Everyone who participates will be entered in a random drawing for three prizes from our Cafe Press store. *fingers crossed*
So here is my entry:
I have been thinking about women who have been a positive influence on my ministry and I cannot name just one. I am blessed to be able to name several. In fact there have been so many, that I have been reluctant to post because I am afraid I will forget someone. I will give it a shot though - the coffee mugs are so enticing!
In my early life, my mother and grandmother were important to the development of my spiritual life that eventually led to my sensing and then later following my call to ministry. I had a female Sunday School teacher in high school that I remember well because she was honest and frank with our "girl's only" class about what it meant to grow up as a Christian female. We had her and each other because it was not allowed for her to teach young men over the age of 12 in that church. I don't agree with that polity at all as an adult, but I loved our class of all young women.
Later, once I became an Episcopalian, I felt the call to ministry that I had dismissed earlier in life in that denomination. I entered the ordination process and seminary. God gave me a woman to pray for me, hold me dear, and give me advice throughout those years (and even through today). Beryl is now a RevGal who travels on the Big Events. She was my minister when I needed someone with spiritual maturity to help me sort though a situation. One of my biggest thrills was being able to bless her marriage to a lovely man the day after I was ordained a priest. They gifted me with a white set of vestments. Every time I don that set, I feel wrapped in love and prayers. I once had a particularly difficult meeting that she was holding in prayer and I will never forget her advice to me: "When you enter the room, choose your chair wisely. Look for the one Christ is already occupying. Sit with confidence. When you speak, allow his words to whisper in your ear first. Know that he is there with you, speaking to you and holding you gently." That advice still holds true for tough meetings and tough days.
My ordination process was rough - and I have now learned that so was everyone else's. The RevGalBlogPal ring became a group of women and men who understood the soul-piercing disappointment to be told, "We do not discern that you have a call to ordained ministry." They listened to the heartbreak and anger. They told me their stories, in the comments on my blog and in flesh on the Big Events. I found a group of people who had been in my shoes and made it through. Mary Beth was the person who introduced me to his incredible group, and I am ever thankful for her (and for many reasons beyond that). Martha is the RGBP fearless leader and a pastor to me.
There have been several priests who are women who have been formational to me in everyday life: Martha, Kai, Gail, Natalie, Virginia, & Mo. They have helped me sort out the politics and the day-to-day busy-ness of being a woman/wife/mom in ministry. They are each wonderful and instructive as they embody their own ministries.
Last but never least, are the women I now serve alongside. These are the women with which I occasionally have lunch, or long conversations over the phone, or check-in intentionally over Facebook: ClayOla, Mary, Genevieve, Katie, Monna, Heather, Amy, & June. These are the women who I hope to see when I go to conferences or continuing education events or whose churches I spend the night at when traveling on mission trips.
I know there are other women who have been positive influences on my ministry. Elaine is one - a seminary professor. These others are not named but are certainly a blessing to me.