I always sing this version when I hear the lyrics to Preacher Man, originally by Dusty Springfield and brought to fame by Aretha Franklin…it doesn’t scan as well to the music but it always brings to being a teenager, and the sheer joy and naughtiness possible if your mum is a religious leader, from getting away with something you weren’t supposed to be up to, without anyone in the wider community hearing about it! I don’t think I was a particularly rebellious child but when I left home I lost my way a bit, through the sheer freedom available in comparison to living with christian parents in a visible way in a village community.
It was really weird for me to see mum going through the changes that happened to her as she became a preacher when I was in my teens, and at that stage of life I guess I wasn’t really all that interested in religion. I did find it embaressing at times that mum was up the front talking, but if I’m honest I was also secretly really proud. Certainly my friends mums didn’t seem to have so many opportunities to share their point of view in public!
I did what my children do now which is sort of get jealous if i felt that mum’s work was taking over time when she’d normally have been around, but at that stage of my life I was much more interested in my friends than my family anyway!
Since I’ve started ordination training myself, me and mum have become really close as it’s been amazing to be able to swap notes, and she’s been able to tell me – this is normal- you are doing great- don’t worry it won’t be like this forever- with some confidence!
It’s also made us reflect on how things have changed. Some of the barriers mum faced just aren’t there anymore, but some really are the same!
I’m still not quite sure how listening to mum preach or seeing her wearing robes in church affected me, I don’t think I remember alot to be honest. Of course becoming a vicar didn’t happen overnight and before she was ordained church had become a big part of our lives. I definitely remember when I was still at primary school spending alot of time playing in the graveyard with other church children, whilst mum did lots of boring chatting!
Anyway… if you are the daughter of a preacher-woman, sweet-talking or otherwise, we would really love to hear from you. We are thinking about gathering together some of these experiences to help us reflect on women’s ministry in the church today.
Following a letter in the church times, mum a retired non-stipendary priest in the York Diocese, has had around 15 people get in touch, so we are off to a good start. Please do pass on her contact details if you know someone else who may be interested firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Timothy 1 v5 “I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.”