Wednesday, July 28, 2010

"We've Come This Far By Faith: Interview With The Rev. Dr. Katherine Ward"

This next series of blogs will highlight interviews, testimonies and words of wisdom from female clergy throughout our nation and world.

One of the blessings of writing this weekly blog is to share the experiences of clergywomen from varying walks of life and faith. Everyone’s experience is different. Some have had tremendously difficult struggles on their journey into the ministry. Others have had minimal to no roadblocks. All share the blessings and triumph of overcoming faith.

Today’s blog features an interview with Episcopal priest - the Rev. Dr. Katherine Ward, Rector Emeritus of the St. Augustine Episcopal Church in Oakland, California. Dr. Ward shares that “God made her way plain” with minimal barriers towards ordained ministry…

Shepastor Blog Interview with
Rev Dr. Katherine Ward
Rector Emerita, St Augustine Episcopal Church
Oakland, California
Assisting Priest, Our Savior Chinese Episcopal Church
Oakland, California

Could you share a little about your call experience:

"I actually started thinking about the call when I was in my early 20’s in Mississippi when I attended Jackson State. As a youth growing up, I was a very dedicated layperson involved in everything at the church. I was raised in Baptist and Methodist churches. I had uncles that were both Baptist and Methodist ministers. However, I mostly attended church with my Methodist uncle, traveling around to various congregations."

How did you become Episcopalian?

"In college I had a wonderful campus minister who had a voice that sounded like God. When he spoke, I felt like I was listening to God. He was Episcopalian. Because of him, I always wanted to become an Episcopal priest. However, in that day and time (during the 50’s and 60’s) there was no way for me to pursue the priesthood. No women, white or black were being accepted as priests. So I became a teacher and later an administrator and counselor. I also decided to pursue campus ministry because I saw the positive influence our campus minister had upon the students, and I wanted to do the same. The idea of becoming a priest however remained in my heart. I made up my mind that when I retired, I would go to seminary."

How did you end up attending an Episcopalian church?

"In college, there was a Baptist church on the corner, but I did not like all of the noise they made during worship. One day I looked down the street and saw another church. I did not know the church’s particular denomination. I just wanted to see if it was a little quieter than the other church I was visiting.

When I walked in, it was quiet. The choir (an adolescent choir) sounded like angles and it felt meditative. The church just happened to be Episcopalian. I later joined and became an Episcopalian."

When did you revisit the idea of becoming an Episcopalian priest?

"The feeling that I would be a priest never left me. I knew somehow that it would happen. In 1974, women began to be ordained in the Episcopalian church. I always said that I would retire and go to seminary. In 1990, I retired and in 1991 I went to seminary."

What would you say was your most challenging experience pursuing becoming a female Episcopalian priest?

"Actually, I cannot say that I had any big challenges. I just felt God made the way plain for me. It was the same with getting a job. I was almost 60 when I graduated from seminary. My age, however, did not hinder me. Seminary was a breeze. I loved school. The process was wonderful. In the Episcopal Church the Bishop has to agree that you can start the process. When I went to go and see the bishop, he did not just say 'yes', he said, 'YES' exclamation point!!!"

The biggest annoyance, was attending a seminary that in its history only had about 6 black students. That was the most they’d ever had. That fact, however, did not stop me. It was just like a fly buzzing at you.

While in seminary, they said that I should get church experience. I didn’t agree with them because I’d been in church all of my life! But since they required me to have field experience, I wanted an altogether different experience. I chose the Chinese Episcopal Church."

What was it like working with a totally different culture

"At first they were very aloof. They were civil, but aloof. Eventually they warmed up to me and gave me my own Chinese name, which was pronounced 'Wa-duc-bok-see'
Which means, 'beautiful, charming, intelligent, talented!' I kept my relationship with the church when my internship was finished. I have a 17 year relationship with that church. When I retired, they asked me to come back and help out, which I do to this day."

How old were you when you were called to your first church?

"My first job was at the richest church in the diocese. I was an assistant priest. When the funds for that position ran out, I got a job at San Francisco University as a campus minister. I worked part time as a chaplain and part time as an assistant. The people kept telling the bishop, 'Why doesn’t Katherine Ward doesn’t have a church of your own?' When I finally got a church the Bishop said that he was so glad!

Before the year was out, St. Augustine’s asked me to become their rector. I have not had a hard time."

How are Episcopalian Priests Called?

"In the Episcopalian Church, you apply for jobs and churches select you."

What advice would you give to clergywomen facing challenges being accepted into the ministry.

"I would say, don’t lose your focus. Keep your eyes on your goals and whatever God is calling you to. I know people that had different challenges. A lot of them gave up. Those that did not give up made it. The challenges sometimes are just a way of strengthening you.

Most of Jesus’ followers were women. The loyal ones were definitely women. Most of the disciples ran away! Don’t let people tell you that women are not meant to be ministers, because Jesus’ followers were women following him from town to town.

Women were in the church since ancient times and if there were no women in the church in modern times, there would be no church! All the women have to do is stay home one Sunday!" End of Interview

What’s your story? Are you on the journey towards ordained ministry? What is it like for you? If you are already ordained, how has your faith carried you through? We’d like to hear from you. Post a comment or send me an email at

Until next Wednesday,

In faith, hope and perseverance,
Pastor Chris

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"Affirmations of God's Call Upon Our Live"

God has a way of placing people around us that “see” our calling even before we hear or acknowledge that God has preaching and pastoring in our future. Sometimes God uses people as a gnat fly to “pester” and continue to speak over our lives what God has ordained before the foundation of the world.

As a teenager, I can remember a minister that kept calling me, “Evangelist Small” (my maiden name). I hated to see him coming! At age 15 the last thing I wanted to do was preach! God, however, had strategically placed that man in my life to prepare my mind and heart for His voice, in due season. I accepted my call to preach at age 16 and was initially licensed at age 17. That’s another story for another day!

Today’s blog features a pastor named Mary. In response to the last two blogs concerning Ageism, and Church Planting, Pastor Mary emailed me her own story concerning God’s affirmation of her calling…

A response from “Pastor Mary…”

"Hi Chris,

I just finished reading both last week's and today's blog. I will be 60 in November. I was over 49 when I became the only pastor of 2 small Baptist churches, so I guess that makes me the senior pastor!

I remember as a child wanting to be like a dear friend who ministered with another woman in a Methodist church. She was my idol. How I wish that she were alive today to see me and help me.

While I deeply admired my friend that was a pastor, I never really gave pastoring any serious consideration. I Took the desert route so to speak before God brought me to a place where I started helping out as liturgist. How I remember shaking and stressing that I would not do it right!! Others, however, saw something in me and encouraged me.

Later I attended a Spiritual Gifts Retreat (at the time I was Methodist). There as I listened God spoke to me about the call. Although I said yes, I had no plans to move forward. In the spring I attended another women's retreat. There I met a woman pastor who shared her story of how God led her to a 2nd career – the ministry! After talking with her I found myself praying and realizing that God wanted more from me.

I investigated and found it would cost over $60,000 to go back to school and get an M.Div since I had not finished my undergraduate degree. I decided to work on finishing that first. My professors said I kept the bar high for all the rest. I love learning and though it put a strain on my marriage I graduated in May 2000 from the 2-year course of study. I had planned to go on to another campus for more religion classes and finish the next 2 years, but a funny thing happened along the way.

I was asked to do pulpit supply for 2 small churches on an interim basis. I accepted and went from being an interim to becoming a licensed lay-pastor. I have been there 10 years this fall. There are so many things I still dont' know, but I do know that God put me where I am. Through these churches I am able to minister to people in nursing homes, hospitals, at food pantries, in times of joy and sorrow, as well as proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ each Sunday. Who could ask for more?

So that is my story. I don't look 60, most of the time I don't feel it either. I have been blessed by this opportunity and each day God allows me to do it is a gift. Although sometimes a challenging and trying gift, it keeps me aware of the need to continue to work on things in my own life.

Today I found myself in a room with a Seven Day Adventist and a Presbyterian sister in Christ holding my hand on each side. I could not have better prayer warriors than these 2 senior citizens whose faith in God is unwavering. As we prayed there was NO denomination, just us and God. I have been a part of many denominations through the years, not always members, but worshiping with and learning from them. I am very happy to be American Baptist, but if God were to put me somewhere else, I would continue to serve with the same message of God's love, grace, peace and pardon."
End of Interview.

Have you ever gone through a period of time where you ignored God’s tugging at your heart? Did the Lord ever send people, situations or circumstances into your life that kept affirming what you were trying to avoid? What words of encouragement would you share with a woman who is nervous about answering God’s call to ministry? We want to hear from you. Post a comment and or send me an email at

Until next Wednesday,

In faith, hope and perseverance,
Pastor Chris

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

"Testimony of a Church Planter"

As we know, God calls us to varying assignments. Today’s blog features the testimony of Pastor Jackie Ragin Olds – one who saw herself as a “Christian Women’s workshop leader" and occasional speaker, but never a Pastor! God however, had other ideas…

Interview with
Pastor Jackie Ragin Olds
Senior Pastor,
Run With Endurance Ministries

Your Call Experience...
You have a unique story concerning how you became a senior pastor. You were asked by your husband’s congregation to take over for him when he was unable to continue to lead. Would you say something about that?

"I was a Sunday School teacher and had participated in women’s ministries and some workshops, but basically that was it. Workshops were ‘my thing.’ When my husband was called, I ‘agreed’ to be the first lady. Even then I still considered myself to be a member of our home church.

Circumstances beyond our control led to my husband’s absence, so I felt that it was my charge to serve as a leader in the interim until they called a new pastor (that was my intention). When it was obvious that he was not returning, after they met, they asked me to stay on as their pastor.

They saw leadership qualities in me that they liked and they felt I could lead them into the future. So I asked them to vote on it and I would pray on it in the mean time to consider if this is where God wanted me to go.

After prayer and consultation with my pastor and my brother who is an Episcopal priest, I decided to accept the call. The church called an ordination committee together and after they determined that I was fit for the office,the church and the ordination committee ordained me.

It is still hard for me to believe how that all came together. It had to be divine, because I can’t see myself putting that together on my own. It was a work of God. It had to be!"

You began serving as senior pastor of your husband’s congregation. Since that time there has been a change. Would you speak to that?

"We (the membership and I) decided we needed to start a brand new ministry. The ministry I accepted from my husband’s work was drowning in a negative history and we needed to come from under that. The congregation was very close and dedicated so we dissolved that entity and moved into a new one. We could feel a fresh wind coming and we wanted to be free and mobile. We believed it was in the best interest of the congregation to start a brand new church. Some charter members and I formed a brand new ministry that is about 8 months old. It is a contemporary setting with some traditional elements to it. It is a blending of contemporary and traditional worship services."

You would now be considered a “Church Planter.” In your opinion, what are some of the benefits and challenges of church planting?

"The benefits of church planting are freedom and autonomy. We can be creative. We had a chance to build from the ground up – have a fresh start from its inception. We are completely mobile – without a building, ministering much like the disciples. We are outside in the community like Jesus was.

The challenges: trial and error – good sometimes and not good sometimes! Also staying focused is a challenge. We come up with a lot of good ideas, but we have to stay focused on the vision so that we don’t wander off on every good idea. Also management can be a problem at times. Because we are creating as we go there are not a lot of rules. Sometimes we have to bear with the growing pains.

Finances are a benefit and a challenge. Our overhead is very low, but at the same time trying to save up to move into another place is going rather slow. It is has been a slow process. Fortunately, we are not in a hurry.

How do you balance being a wife, mother, and bi-vocational pastor?

It is a balancing act, but by the grace of God, I get it done. He works it out. Prioritize – that is most important. Taking a look at what is demanded of me and how my priorities should line up. I have to decide what is foremost - non-negotiable. I have to consider what am I going to sacrifice if it becomes overwhelming. I have to determine what goes to the bottom of the list.

One thing that is particularly important is understanding what God requires of me as an individual and what God requires of me as a pastor. I think pastors/ministers tend to get that confused. They feel what the church needs is what God is calling them to do personally, but it is not necessarily so.

Saying no to the congregation is not necessarily saying no to God! Somebody has to tell you that right off the bat. I figured that out the hard way. You can be a great pastor, but if you are a lousy mother – nobody accepts that! I have to do things unselfishly. If the church is having a social event and at the same time a family member needs me, I have to decide which takes priority. I have to decide which would be the unselfish thing to do.

The unselfish thing is not always obvious. You have to trust God and not worry about a member that might become angry or disappointed that you are not physically there to support their event. You can’t worry about those repercussions. It if is God’s program then He will make it what He wants. It is imperative to have a well-balanced prayer life. Without it you will quickly become overwhelmed and consumed with duties from all fronts.

When you are bi-vocational, you have to trust God because one will eventually win over the other. You can only be bi-vocational so long. Something is going to give. You have to trust that God is going to work it out if He is calling you from your good paying job!"

What, if any challenges have you faced being a female senior Pastor?

"I think about it harder than most because most of my life I’ve been in a male dominated environment. Brothers, no sisters, my vocation is male dominated. I am a development officer. The surprising challenge for me was the reaction of male relatives to my being called.

Some tried to be supportive and some are still intimidated. Also, stereotypes are a challenge because I don’t fit into any particular mold. People tend to have preconceived notions about who I am and how I am to behave in their presence so they are usually surprised. I am friendly and that tends to surprise people.

Constantly being watched. People are shy to approach me so at times I feel isolated. Sometimes other women watch from a far but they don’t engage with me. That can leave you feeling real lonely. Even some women pastors won’t approach you. You approach them and they scatter. Male pastors and male congregants may distance themselves from you because their wives are not comfortable with them interacting with you.

Most of the challenges come from other women. You would think the men would be a challenge but the women are usually more of a challenge. That is an interesting thing. Some of it is due to jealousy. Some women are jealous because this may be something they always endeavored to do but weren’t bold enough to overcome the problems associated with making that kind of move.
Bold enough for a variety of reasons. If, for example a woman’s family would ostracize her, we can’t judge her for her decision not to pursue the ministry."

What kind of support base have you developed to maintain mental, spiritual and physical health?

"I can’t over emphasize the need for advisors/mentors that will provide some support and guidance. Every pastor needs a spiritual guide. I don’t care who you are or how much God uses you. Also, I have a network of likeminded Christian women – some ministers, some not. I work out 3 or 4 times a week, even it if is just taking a walk for physical health. I watch what I eat even if I have to put the fruits and vegetables in a blender and drink it on the way to work!

I think most importantly for me, is the renewing of my mind. The renewing of my mind gets lost in the busyness. It is the first thing that gets sacrificed if I am not careful. I have to read and meditate upon God’s Word every day to stay spiritually healthy. If I am overly busy it is the first thing that gets compromised.

I listened to other pastors and preachers. I don’t just want to hear myself everyday. Seminary is a good experience. I know some people are scared of seminary, but I feel that it is a must. You can find all these things at seminary – advisors, mentors, likeminded Christian women, resources to renew your mind – it is a good place."

What words of caution and advice would you give to women that are considering becoming church planters?

"Keep the vision out in front of you so you will stay excited and be less likely to wander from the original plan. Have some prayer partners that understand what you are trying to do. That is real important. Wait on the Lord because His timing is important. His timing may not be your timing.

Keep it simple initially. Don’t take on too much, too many duties or projects. Just stick to one or two. Don’t be envious of other ministries because that is like having weak ankles. You’ve got all this wonderful, able body, you can do all things through Christ that strengthens you – but if your ankles are weak, you will stumble at an inopportune time. God needs you to be yourself.

One of the first things God said to me after I became a Pastor, was, 'You be you – I need you to be you.'

Be patient. It takes persistent prayer, long term. I would caution women to make sure that this particular call – being a church planter is the call that God has placed upon their lives.

If this is the call then the Lord will open the doors for you. You don’t have to force them open yourself. He will do it dispite prejudices and obstacles. He will open the doors that need to be open and shut some that need to be closed. Some we have forced open need to be shut!" End of Interview

Maybe you feel called by God to start a ministry but are uncertain as to how to proceed. Maybe others see leadership qualities and God's hand upon your life in ways that you have yet to acknowledge. Pastor Jackie's testimony provides some wonderful insights concerning how to prayerfully deal with questions, fears and apprehensions about accepting such a challenge.

Are you a church planter or feel called by God to do so? Post a comment, share your story, give some words of wisdom to others who may be considering the same. We want to hear from you! Send me an email at

Until next Wednesday,
In faith, hope and perseverance,
Pastor Chris

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

"The Power of Perception and Denial Part III: Ageism"

In this the third and final part of our series, “The Power of Perception and Denial” we turn our attention to the topic of ageism. Simply put, “ageism” is discrimination against an individual because of their age. Clergy women frequently face the double whammy of discrimination due to gender and age (and for minorities, it can be a triple whammy – gender, age and race).

Decades old research, spanning from the 90’s up to the present support this theory.

According to the Barna Group, the median age of female pastors has risen during the last ten years, from 50 years of age to the current median of 55. In contrast, the median age of male senior pastors has also risen, from 48 to 52. (Research conducted 2009)

In the book, Clergy women: An Uphill Calling, authors Barbara Brown Zikmund, Adair T. Lummis, and Patricia M. Y. Chang (Westminister John Knox Press, 1998, p. 98) state the following regarding research conducted in the chapter, “Age and the Call to Ordained Ministry…”

"Among the active clergy in our study, there is a considerable range in the ages at which they remember first thinking seriously about a career in the ordained ministry. Furthermore, God may call an individual, but if family, church and society withhold support, it is hard for people to believe that this is what God really intends them to do with their lives. In many of the denominations in our study, women professing a call from God to enter the ordained ministry were not well received. They were scorned, told that they were overstepping their female role, and considered guilty of lying or pathetic self-delusion when they shared such an idea. This made it very difficult for many women to tell anyone what they thought God was call them to do, especially denominational officials serving as gatekeepers to the ordination process."

The authors further stated…

"Such traditional thinking about who is “eligible” to be ordained contributes to the fact that over half of the clergy men in our study decided to enter the ordained ministry by age nineteen, whereas the age of decision for half of our clergy women is twenty-three. As many as one-third of the clergy women in our study decided to become ordained at the age of thirty or older; three times more women than men made the decision about ordained ministry after age thirty. In the more theologically conservative Spirit-centered denominations, five times as many women as men first seriously considered becoming clergy at age thirty or older.” End quote

In general, women enter the ministry at an older age for the above stated reasons. Many churches are reluctant to call older individuals to a first pastorate, thus adding another layer to the barriers that women face as they pursue pastoral ministry. However, God still has the last say!

Today’s interview affirms a belief that God is greater than ageism. With wisdom, vibrancy and charisma, Covenant’s Associate Minister, (where I am privileged to serve as Senior Pastor), The Reverend Julia Moses expresses faith in the face of road blocks. Rev. Moses is a “senior” clergywoman who is determined to pursue her calling despite ageism. In her story, we can hear courage and perseverance against the odds. For her, age truly is “just a number!”

Part III in the Series, “The Power of Perception and Denial: Ageism”

Interview with The Reverend Julia Moses
Associate Minister, Covenant Baptist Church
Wickliffe, Ohio

When did you first receive your calling?

"I was 57 years old. My husband knew it first. He said, ‘somebody in this house has been called to preach.’ He took a dirty clothes basket and said, ‘this is the pulpit! He put it up on the chair and said, ‘stand up here!’ I looked at my son and thought it must be him. He said that it was not him, but me! I thought he was joking. Then I said to him that we are not supposed to play with God. He assured me that he wasn’t playing.

As I began to ‘preach’ about what I’d heard in church that day, such a feeling come over me that I ended up adding more to what I’d heard and started preaching about something else."

Before that experience, had you ever felt God speaking to you concerning the ministry of preaching?

"No. The experience above was my first thought about it. I was raised as a Seven Day Adventist and at that time they did not believe in women preachers. I eventually left that church and became a Baptist. I liked the Baptist (not necessarily because they believed in women preachers, but I understood and agreed with their doctrine more)."

How long after your “clothes basket pulpit” experience did you seriously consider pursuing your call to preach?

"About four years later when my husband died. My pastor at the time asked me to prepare a curriculum for a single women’s ministry. He encouraged me to go to a bible school online to better prepare myself for the task. He told me that he believed I was called to preach, but that he could not split the church over licensing me. He offered to send me over to the Methodist church. So I went over to preach when ever invited. However, while he was alive, I never preached at my home, Baptist Church. It was not until after his death and his son took over did I get the opportunity to reopen dialogue concerning my calling."

So by this time, you were approximately 61 years old. How did people in the church respond to you first as a female and next as a senior person pursuing the call?

"It was a divided population. Regarding my age, my personality lends itself to embrace people of all ages. Young people, older people etc. In the teaching ministry, all accepted me because of my ability to meet people where they are. It allowed me access to teaching, training and just being a member who they could come to for anything.

However, when I began talking about joining the preaching ministry things were all together different. Protocol in that church required that I meet with the Pastor weekly for counsel concerning my calling and then I would be brought before the Board of Deacons to defend my call.
When the Pastor decided to take me before the board of Deacons to announce my calling into the ministry I had a rude awakening. That was my first experience with anger, hostility and rejection from male and some female church members.
There were 12 male deacons in various age groups. When I went into the room the Pastor made brief remarks about my call and one of the deacons had a Bible in his hand and told me that 'God never called a woman.' Another one got up and said that he agreed with him. 'This church has been standing for 75 years and has never had a woman preacher and I cannot vote for one now.'

After the shock and trauma I was stunned and asked the Pastor could I have the floor to talk. The Pastor told me to wait. Out of the 12, only the two spoke, all of the others remained silent. When it was my turn to speak, I let them know that I did not come to defend anything, but to tell them my story about how the Lord had called me to preach His Word.

In the final analysis, there were two who voted against (the two that spoke) my licensing and 10 for - which resulted in one deacon leaving the church."

How old were you when you entered seminary?

"I was in my 60’s."

How did you feel as an older student?

"At first, I wondered how I was going to get along with these younger students who were full of energy and bright. Initially, after looking at the members of the class and seeing how they responded so quickly to answering the questions, I began to question whether or not I could survive!
So after my first encounter, I went home and got on my knees and said, “Lord are you sure that I am supposed to be in seminary at this age? There is no one there that resembles me in terms of my hair and my appearance!” But then when I returned to class several days later, I was greeted very warmly by two students – a male and a female who asked me if I wanted to study with them.

I was a little reluctant but I said, 'Yes, I’ll sit in with you!' So we talked about our books, homework assignments, they told me that they would help me with whatever I needed. They were two angels that God sent my way."

You have shared openly that you desire to become a senior pastor. What comments have you received from mentors regarding your desire at this stage of your life?

"Upon first revealing my desire to be a senior pastor, it was met with unanticipated negativity. The question was asked, ‘Don’t you think you are too old for that?’ I had not thought anything about my age because I have been and continue to be in reasonably good health, I have a lot of stamina and I believe that is what God wants me to do. Also, I have witnessed my male counterparts who were my age and older being called and serving as interims or senior pastors.

One of my well respected mentors said to me, ‘You are in your 60’s now, you certainly don’t want to be 70 years old dragging up and down a pulpit!’"

How did those remarks and the perception of you being too old impact your desire and fervor to pursue that calling?

"Because of my respect for spiritual leadership, I withdrew. I said to myself that this must not be where the Lord wants me to be. I did not openly talk about my heart’s desire again for approximately 3 years. "

What reopened that conversation for you?

"The conversation was reopened by the prompting of the Holy Spirit, the depth of my desire to pastor and the goals and the mission that I have for the pastoral ministry. I asked myself the question, ‘Am I going to listen to what God is telling me or am I going to listen to the voices of men and women who would look at me as if I had two heads!’

I made the decision to follow the Lord. I believe my call is to become a senior pastor because no matter how many churches I attend, it is the senior pastor who has the vision for that church from God. While there are things I might want to pursue differently from their vision, I would never be able to carry out the plan that I know God has for me and me only. No senior pastor can give up their vision to acknowledge mine, nor would I expect that. That is why I must continue to heed God’s “yes” and proceed until I get a no.

It is my hope that people will look past my age, see the Christ in me and what I have to offer. I know that I would not likely be a senior pastor for a long period of time. However, that further adds to my desire to train and groom others in the ministry - others who could come alongside and I could continue to mentor them – men and women. I could eventually become pastor emeritus."

Currently, you are not serving as a Senior Pastor. What are you doing to help make that desire a reality?

"On my last birthday, I had the privilege of spending the day with my current pastor and mentor, you! I knew that this would be the day that I would tell you what I had been withholding from you for over a year. As I struggled with it and labored, God reminded me that I must go forward if I would like for Him to send me help. However, when I told you,(to my surprise) you already knew and helped me to find my voice. It was a glorious day. I have watched and learned so much from you about pastoring in a multicultural environment. I had never considered that as an option. As I observed you, I learned what it means to be patient with people with whom God is not finished – smile!

After revealing what I had withheld so long, I felt a certain degree of freedom and peace. You encouraged me to seek counsel from the Regional Executive Minister and I did. He was very pleased that I sought him out and provided the necessary information and guidance to steer me in the right direction. I am currently in the process of actively pursuing the dream that God has given to me. Regardless of who understands and who does not understand, I know that I will be, in God’s time, a senior pastor!"

What words of encouragement would you give to other senior clergywomen who desire to pastor, but are fearful of what others may think, say and do?

"I would remind them of scripture – of Abraham, of Sara, and other Biblical characters whom God called in their late years. I would encourage them to seek wise counsel from someone that they trust. I would tell them to move forward and never turn back because God’s yes is louder than their no. My prayer has been and continues to be that my latter will be greater than the former." End of Interview

Have you been affected by ageism? Are you struggling with the decision to pursue your calling because you think that you are too old? Post your comments or send me an email at I’d love to hear from you and have the opportunity to share your experiences with other clergywomen across the world!

Until next Wednesday,
In faith, hope and perseverance,
Pastor Chris