In my denomination (The United Methodist Church) clergywomen have only had full clergy rights since May 1956. Today during Women’s history month, I give thanks for the clergywomen in my life. In my current annual conference there is a song that all the clergy women sing once a year during annual conference, called “Standing Before Us” by Carole Eagleheart. I’m including below the first verse and chorus.
These are the women who throughout the decades
have led us and helped us to know,
Where we have come from and where we are going,
the women who’ve helped us to grow.
Standing before us, making us strong.
Lending their wisdom to help us along,
Sharing a vision, sharing a dream,
touching our thoughts, touching our lives
Like a deep flowing stream.
I give thanks for the clergywomen who have shown me that women can be pastors too.
I give thanks for the clergywomen who live out there calling of ordained ministry as Deacons by being the bridge between their ministry context and the church they serve.
I give thanks for the clergywomen who have helped me grow into my authentic self.
I give thank for the clergywomen who have been willing to support me as I have adjusted to living with a mental illness.
I give thanks for the clergywomen who are Elders by serving in churches and extension ministries.
I give thanks for the clergywomen who have served as District Superintendents, your work is important.
I give thanks for the clergywomen who are queer. To be serving in a Denomination that declares you “incompatible with Christian teaching” is a brave and beautiful act of biblical obedience. You were some of the people who taught me it was okay to be queer and Christian and that I could go into ordained ministry.
I give thanks for the clergywomen who are Bishops. Your work leading episcopal areas and annual conferences is amazing. Your ability to care about the local church is incredible.
I give thanks for the clergywomen who faithfully live out our Baptismal Covenant to accept the freedom and power God gives you to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves.
For all the clergywomen, I give thanks.