Helenor Davisson: First Ordained American Methodist Woman

A portrait of Helenor Davisson made from the only known photograph of her, which is badly faded.

In August of 1866 the Civil War had just ended and America was slowly becoming a United States again as confederate states began rejoining the union. Perhaps more astonishingly, in that same year President Andrew Johnson vetoed the bill that eventually become the 14th Amendment, guaranteeing citizenship and equal protection under the law for black Americans. He did so in spite of such broad congressional support that his veto was overcome by a 2/3 super-majority. In the highest leadership position in the country, prejudice was preventing even basic rights for black Americans. Nine years later the Supreme Court would rule against women’s right to vote. Progress was coming on several fronts, but this was still an age of considerable challenges to equality. [Read more…]

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UPDATE: 6,000 Person Megachurch Now Includes Women Elders/Pastors

IMG_3463One year ago this week I wrote that Grace Church of Noblesville, IN, (a northern Indianapolis suburb) had publicly changed their position in their weekend services to support women at all levels of leadership. The previous article was viewed nearly 20,000 times and sparked articles about the sermon in national media. Readers were encouraged that a church of this size and significance would make such a bold move in spite of what it might cost them. [Read more…]

Best Responses to Inappropriate Comments

facebook censorshipI think every pastor sometimes has to deal with terribly inappropriate comments. Sometimes people will blame the pastor for something stupid that a high profile Christian has said or done. God only knows how many times I’ve had to take the brunt of a joke because of Pat Robertson’s antics. Other times people will use the reception line after worship to take a jab about the sermon for the day when he or she knows that the pastor won’t be able to respond between shaking hands and kissing babies. [Read more…]

How Do You Respond to Inappropriate Comments?

Lisa ordinationI think every pastor sometimes has to deal with terribly inappropriate comments. Sometimes people will blame the pastor for something stupid that a high profile Christian has said or done. God only knows how many times I’ve had to take the brunt of a joke because of Pat Robertson’s antics. Other times people will use the reception line after worship to take a jab about the sermon for the day when he or she knows that the pastor won’t be able to respond between shaking hands and kissing babies.

[Read more…]

Women Pastors and Male Privilege

Chase baptism prayerUntil recently I was able to say that I had never had a single person mention the way that I was dressed in 14 years of church leadership. Recently, one of the older men has teased me a couple times that I should wear a tie more often. My streak is broken.

When I was in seminary I learned that many of my female colleagues hear comments about their clothing, hair, and make-up every week.

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#HeForShe is also for Him

watsonThe United Nations has just launched a well articulated solidarity movement calling men to stand for gender quality alongside the women of the world. The following speech by Emma Watson, of Harry Potter fame, is a concise and inspiring example that’s worth the 13 minutes it will take to watch. She calls for men around the world to join the struggle on behalf of women around the world. [Read more…]