A few people online are blogging and tweeting today about what it’s like to be a woman pastor in the UK today as it’s the 25th anniversary of when women were first ordained in the Church of England.
So Tuesdays for me are usually pretty quiet, as I keep them clear to catch up on paperwork, study or get to an exercise class. Saturdays and Sundays are usually pretty manic, so it’s my day to touch base with God and spend some time alone. I find this increasingly helpful, not only as a priest but as a working mum, as solitude can be a rare commodity!
The day starts with feeding the chickens and then doing the daily office after my husband takes the children to school. Today my ‘to-do’ list includes
- planning for events coming up at Easter and reaching out to people in the community to help with various events and services
- ring a tax advisor
- organise my in-tray/tidy-up
- read church accounts before our PCC meeting on Thursday.
- write up my notes and address after seeing a bereaved family yesterday, ahead of a funeral next week, and email organist/funeral director
- Read John Stott, Cross of Christ before I see the Archbishop
Tomorrow brings a new never-ending list to carry on… However the more time I spend thinking about Jesus, and rooting my day to day activities in him, the more productive I am, and the less diversions from his plans I take. So that is always important day to day.
My mum was one of the first women to be ordained and her experience has been totally different to mine. She suffered greatly as one of the pioneers of being a female minister. I’m now allowed to pioneer on purpose and get paid to do this, and feel tremendously blessed to be standing on the shoulders of so many women who have gone before me, and paved the way. I’m guided and steered by the ministry of my vicar, who has also run the gauntlet of being the only woman in our deanery in paid ministry for many years. It doesn’t really matter whether we get paid or not in many ways, but it counts too, as we are at the table with retired, lay leaders and other ministers representing working mums!
The main difference between this role and other leadership roles I’ve had in the past, is that in this role I’m being obedient to the call of God, and all of my work and resources rest in him. I’ve been reminded this week that women were part of Jesus early ministry, in Luke 8 he describes how many women in addition to the 12 disciples were travelling from one town and village to another with Jesus. He also points out that they were also sharing their own wealth to enable the wider ministry. For those of us who are unable to up and leave all our commitments, sacrificial giving can be an amazing way to serve God in your community. This Lent I’m following the 40 Acts programme again. This challenges us to be relentless in thinking about our stewardship of resources, and giving in a way that reflects our faith in Jesus. Generous giving, is always rewarded by God. He always wants to bless and support us in this. For example Mary Magdala was one of the first people to see the risen Jesus, at the tomb, not the 12 apostles, and this must have felt like a real blessing, after attending to his body in death, and her steadfast faith and dedication to Jesus.
Luke 8 v1-3 After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.