During my sabbatical, I wrote an article about my call to ministry, my family's ambivalence, and my subsequent commitment to supporting Baptist Women In Ministry. I thought you might enjoy reading it. Here is an excerpt:
Eleven years ago, when I became senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Columbia, Mo., my cousin wrote on my Facebook page, “You have shamed our family.”
I wasn’t really surprised by her reaction. After all, my extended family was deeply engaged in conservative Baptist life in Tennessee. My paternal grandfather, Bransford England, was a bivocational pastor in churches of that persuasion for 50 years.
Growing up in that religious environment meant I never witnessed a woman preach or even heard one pray aloud in worship. Instead, I heard sermons denouncing women in ministry. So, my cousin was expressing what her church and my extended family felt: as a woman, I didn’t belong in the pulpit.