There's a Woman in the Pulpit: Christian Clergywomen Share Their Hard Days, Holy Moments and the Healing Power of Humor

There's a Woman in the Pulpit: Christian Clergywomen Share Their Hard Days, Holy Moments and the Healing Power of Humor


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Be informed and inspired, delighted and supported, encouraged and entertained by stories and prayers from the unique perspectives of clergywomen.

"In ministry, we constantly balance the sacred and the ordinary, juggling the two as expertly as we manage a chalice and a [baby] bottle. Even as we do things as simple as light the candles, set the table, break the bread and pour the wine, we invite people into a holy moment…. The women [in this book] not only have a wellspring of deep wisdom, but they also have the ability to dish out their knowledge with side-aching humor…. I am thrilled that their great wisdom and intelligence will be bound into the pages that I can turn to, lend and appreciate for years to come."
—from the Foreword by Rev. Carol Howard Merritt

Learn—and laugh—with these women of the church, bound together by a deep commitment to ministry, as they reveal what it really means to be a woman in the pulpit. Over fifty clergywomen representing fourteen denominations share the details of their intimidating balancing act—juggling the isolating expectations of perfection from their congregations and the shared human realities of everyday life.

Intended for laypeople, women hearing a call to ministry and clergy of all denominations, these stories and prayers will resonate with, challenge, encourage and amuse anyone who has a passion for their work and faith.


Rev. Jemma Allen • Rev. Denise Anderson • Rev. Stephanie Anthony • Rev. Amber Belldene • Rev. Beth Birkholz • Rev. Laurie Brock • Rev. Jennifer Garrison Brownell • Rev. Hilary Campbell • Rev. Erin Counihan • Rev. Julie Craig • Rev. Robin Craig • Rev. Liz Crumlish • Rev. Martha Daniels • Rev. Stacey Simpson Duke • Rev. Jan Edmiston • Rev. Ruth Everhart • Rev. Amy Fetterman • Rev. Marci Auld Glass • Rev. Rachel G. Hackenberg • Rev. Elizabeth Evans Hagan • Rev. Cheryl Harader • Rev. Joanna Harader • Gillian Hoyer • Rev. Rosalind C. Hughes • Rev. Sara Irwin • Rev. Kathryn Z. Johnston • Rev. Deborah Lewis • Rev. Jennifer Burns Lewis • Rev. Catherine MacDonald • Rev. Bromleigh McCleneghan • Suzy Garrison Meyer • Rev. Karla Miller • Rev. Sarah E. Howe Miller, PhD • Rev. Holly S. Morrison • Rev. Katie Mulligan • Rev. Dr. Teri McDowell Ott • Rev. Katya Ouchakof • Rev. Kerri Parker • Rev. Katherine Willis Pershey • Rev. Teri Peterson • Rev. Patricia J. Raube • Rev. Diane M. Roth • Rev. Anna Scherer • Rev. Julia Seymour • Rev. Monica Thompson Smith • Rev. Martha Spong • Rev. Sally-Lodge Teel • Rev. Sharon M. Temple • Rev. Michelle L. Torigian • Rev. Deb Vaughn • Rev. Mindi Welton-Mitchell • Rev. Julie Woods

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781594735882
Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
Publication date: 04/17/2015
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Rev. Martha Spong, a United Church of Christ pastor, is director of RevGalBlogPals, a social media ministry making community for clergywomen across lines of denomination, generation, nation and orientation since 2005. A longtime blogger, she leads workshops on creative approaches to scripture for worship and writes sermon resources and curriculum for the Christian Century, Lectionary Homiletics, the Abingdon Creative Preaching Annual and The Present Word.

Rev. Carol Howard Merritt, a Presbyterian (USA) minister, sought-after speaker and Christian Century blogger, is author of the award-winning Tribal Church: Ministering to the Missing Generation and cohost of the God Complex Radio podcast.

Table of Contents

Foreword Rev. Carol Howard Merritt xi

Introduction xv

Fierce and Fabulous for Jesus 1

God's Calling and Our Identity

Swinging Rev. Ruth Everhart 3

Couldn't You Wait Until I'm Dead? Rev. Patricia J. Raube 6

The Accidental Leader Rev. Robin Craig 9

Worn In Rev. Dr. Teri Mcdowell Ott 12

I Sit at My Desk: A Prayer Rev. Julia Seymour 15

Finding My Voice Rev. Hilary Campbell 17

High Heels in the Pulpit Rev. Rachel G. Hackenberg 20

Queer Rev. Katie Mulligan 23

Leaving Well Rev. Amy Fetterman 27

Balls Rev. Kathryn Z. Johnston 30

Come Down and Help, Please Rev. Sally-Lodge Teel 34

A Taste of Heaven and a Splash of Glory 37

Sharing the Sacraments

Drop by Precious Drop 39

Suzy Garrison Meyer

Of Water and the Body Rev Joanna Harader 42

Torn Rev. Julie Woods 45

A Touch on Her Head Rev. Martha Spong 48

Through the Eyes of a Child Rev. Catherine MacDonald 51

A Prayer at Table Rev. Karla Miller 54

By Water and the Word Rev. Jennifer Burns Lewis 56

Open Table, No Reservations Rev. Julia Seymour 59

God Gives Us Life Rev. Jemma Allen 62

Hostessing Rev. Monica Thompson Smith 65

Three Sisters Rev. Bromleigh McCleneghan 68

The Worst Communion Ever Rev. Martha Spong 71

Ashes to Angels 75

Ministry and Death

The Weight of Ash Rev. Deborah Lewis 77

Before the Resurrection Rev. Joanna Harader 80

From the Pen of the Hospital Chaplain Rev. Liz Crumlish 83

The Moses Basket Rev. Elizabeth Evans Hagan 86

Old Man's Hand Rev. Martha Spong 89

One Saving Grace Rev. Anna Scherer 92

A Million Little Deaths: A Prayer Rev. Karla Miller 95

Life Disrupted Rev. Deb Vaughn 97

Of Facebook and Angels Rev. Julia Seymour 100

They Don't teach That in Seminary 103

What We Learned Through Experience

The Pastor's View Rev. Diane M. Roth 105

What They Will Remember Rev. Jan Edmiston 108

Locks, Doors, a Walk-in Safe, and the Keys to the Kingdom Rev. Jennifer Garrison Brownell 111

The Good Samaritan Test Rev. Sharon M. Temple 114

Only Four Letters Gillian Hoyer 117

A Prayer for the Plunger Rev. Rachel G. Hackenberg 120

The Eruption of Story Rev. Kerri Parker 122

Blessed Bedbugs Rev. Rosalind C. Hughes 125

Possessive Voice Rev. Cheryl Harader 128

To Laugh at Myself Rev. Liz Crumlish 131

Don't Call Me "Reverend" Rev. Denise Anderson 134

I'm Here Because God Cares Rev. Erin Counihan 137

It's Complicated 141

Being Pastor/Partner/Parent/Person

Always the Pastor, Never the Bride Rev. Michelle L. Torigian 143

Preaching Ahead of Yourself Rev. Robin Craig 146

How Does That Work? Rev. Beth Birkholz 149

I Rise Before the Sun Rev. Stacey Simpson Duke 152

Out Standing in Her Field: A Pastoral (De)Composition Rev. Holly S. Morrison 154

Why Is My Pillow Hot? A Prayer Rev. Julia Seymour 157

A Vegetarian in the Church Rev. Teri Peterson 159

Uncloseted Rev. Patricia J. Raube 162

I Pray with My Eyes Open Rev. Mindi Welton-Mitchell 165

The Parson Rev. Katherine Willis Pershey 168

Our Pheeto Rev. Martha Spong 171

Outside Over There 175

Moving in the World Beyond Our Churches

What Are You Looking For? Rev. Sarah E. Howe Miller 177

Soccer and Starbucks Rev. Rachel G. Hackenberg 180

The Body of Christ Shimmies Rev. Marci Auld Glass 183

At the Barn Rev. Laurie Brock 186

No Masks Rev. Martha Daniels 189

Out of the Pool Rev. Katya Ouchakof 192

Saint Paul versus Danielle Steele Rev. Amber Belldene 195

I Am Grateful: A Prayer Rev. Karla Miller 198

Learning in the Shipyard Rev. Liz Crumlish 200

Who I Am Is Not What I Did Rev. Julie Craig 203

The Priest I Want to Be Rev. Sara Irwin 206

For Some Reason Rev. Stephanie Anthony 209

Running with Patience Rev. Julia Seymour 212

Acknowledgments 215

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