In Good Company. Women in the Ministry
This is a unique collection of personal stories about the struggle for equality by women in the ministry and those still excluded from it.
The collection brings together the experiences of women from different denominations. Even though the differences between various churches is enormous, there is also a curious parallel between the stories in the prejudices and set communal practices that need to be overcome.
Women who have been ordained often have to live with stereotypes and assumptions; with personal and practical challenges.They may be subjected to tokenism, discrimination, trivialisation.They may be open to abuse and isolation. And eventually they find themselves up against the’stained glass ceiling’ created by the church’s obsession with power, rank and position.
Then there are those whose churches still do not even recognise the right of women to formalise a ministry that they are already carrying out in everything but name.
The book raises other questions. What about the priestly ministry itself? If the churches simply ‘add women and stir’, what difference, if any, does that make? If female ordained ministers are just incorporated into an old, stale recipe, is the church any fresher or more nourishing?
This book makes clear the kinds of obstacles in the way of women both in and outside the ministry and gives a glimpse of the faulty theology that underlies opposition to them. It highlights the challenge that women bring to existing church structures and offers hope for the future of a truly all-inclusive, all-afffirming and empowering ministry.
To give an impression of the book, just look at its table of contents (with the authors’ affiliations added by me):
Chapter 1. Introduction Lesley Orr Macdonald Action for Churches Together in Scotland
Chapter 2. Pilgrimage to priestbood and beyond Jean Mayland Anglican priest
Chapter 3. I have a dream for Leith Elizabeth Wardlaw United Free Church minister
Chapter 4. …. And set my feet upon a Rock Margaret Forrester Church of Scotland minister
Chapter 5. Voices in my head Kate McIlhagga United Reformed Church minister
Chapter 6. Whose I am and whom I serve Katharine Poulton Church of Irelana priest
Chapter 7. This old hag, our Mother Church Georgina Baxendale Church of Scotland minister
Chapter 8. There are no women in abstract Alison Fuller Scottish Episcopal priest
Chapter 9. Paths are made by those who walk in them Joanna Anderson Anglican priest
Chapter 10. Snapshots on a journey …. Viv Lassetter Baptist minister
Chapter 11. Claudia’s sisters Lesley Carroll Presbyterian minister
Chapter 12. The waiting time Helen Blackburn Advocate for the ordination of Catholic women priests
Chapter 13. Inside out Ruth Harvey Director of the Ecumenical Spirituality Project for Churches Together in Britain and Ireland
The book costs only £ 9.99 (UK pounds sterling). Its ISBN number is: 1-901557-15-4. The book can be ordered from Andrew Press, tel. 0131-2255722; fax 0131-2203113; copyright Wild Goose Publications, The Iona Community, Glasgow 1999.
Wild Goose Publications
Unit 16, Six Harmony Row
Glasgow G51 3BA
Tel 0141 440 0985
Fax 0141 440 2338
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