Can Women Lead Churches?

Can women lead churches? It’s still a question for many Christians. Several things are on my mind in this regard. First, the Anglican General Synod voted to allow women bishops in the Church of England. Second, I watched on DVD the conclusion to the British comedy, The Vicar of Dibley, a wildly funny series about a woman priest in a small English village. Third, this month is the 20th anniversary of my call to be pastor of the First Baptist Church of Gardner, Massachusetts.

I grew up believing that women were not allowed to be pastors. I experienced my call to pastoral ministry and applied to seminary before I ever met a woman minister. I had to move across the country to find a church to serve as pastor. Ironically, that church had a gifted woman pastor, Rev. Ruth E. Thompson, for over 20 years. For many in the church, it was a relief to have a woman in the pulpit again! I spent thirteen years as their pastor, and I am grateful for the many blessings I received from them.

2 replies on “Can Women Lead Churches?

  • Margaret Marcuson

    One thing I might add is that the early ordinations of women to the Episcopal priesthood made a big impression on me. They came about the time I first began to consider the possibility I might want to be a pastor myself.

  • Rebecca Maccini

    I am very surprised to hear that the bishops voted to allow female bishops in the Anglican communion, news which came just after a recent visit I had with one of the first ordained women in the Scottish Episcopal Church (ordained in the early 1990’s) She told me her story of serving communion near Oxford England in the past couple of years and having to give a ‘theological’ out to anyone who didn’t want to receive communion from a woman.


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