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September 11, 2012


David Ewart

There is, I think still much to learn about the dynamics of women serving in traditionally male roles. The recent discussions engendered by Sheryl Sandberg's book, "Lean In," is a good example: http://www.amazon.com/Lean-In-Women-Work-Will/dp/0385349947.

Peter Praamsma, D.Min.

I also read your comments as reported in the Observer (May'13 issue)--so we now know it's St. Andrews, London, that has a lady as senior or lead minister.

If it was accurately reported, you cited the possibility of "vestiges of sexism," as well as less acceptance of women with "big egos" in modern culture (charisma factor?,) and the reality that many women don't enter public ministry until later in life and that larger congregations are likely to look for someone available for at least 10 years.

Well,I am interested in this subject. But, along the lines with research on pastoral identity that I did in the 80's, my interest generates the question: Does what's going on involve a conflict, perhaps often sub-consciously, over pastoral identity between female ministry candidates and pastoral relations committee members (many of whom are women themselves)?

With my question in mind, the possible sexism on the part of laity may not turn out to be the malicious kind, but simply the result of a lack of critical reflection on centuries-long traditions of predominantly male images in pastoral self-understanding--and, with will and time, this could be corrected. At the same time,
all clergy would greatly benefit from good theologically-grounded, spiritually and psychologically healthy self-understandings
in their roles--and so avoid the many ways in which to derail what should be a mature, mutually upbuilding pastoral relationships with congregations!

David Ewart

Hi Catherine. I don't have permission to share that information. All the best to you in your new responsibilities. David.

Kathryn Ransdell

Who is the 1? Because I would now make the 2nd and would like to talk with the one.

Ann Sayers

The congregational preference for male clergy seems to be getting worse, although eventually the numbers will tell the tale.
In the meanwhile, what I'm getting at is that as churches get more and more concerned about their future, when the time comes for a replacement minister (replacing the retiree)it seems that when given a choice, it is nearly always for a male.
A couple of examples: in applying for a call (I am well experienced and have excellent references) in the last couple of years, I encountered one situation where the successful candidate (male) didn't even live in the community, and instead lived about 4.5 hours' drive away.
The other example occurred when a Search Team's published deadline for applications coincided with the announcement of the new minister. Clearly no one other than he was interviewed, and possibly not even in person, as he lived thousands of kilometres away and the congregation was strapped for cash.
It's true I don't have hard evidence of my contention of male preference, but our UCCAN process does not allow for vetting of how search teams have functioned so there is no way to verify. At the time, however, I had a pretty good awareness of who was looking for work.
I strongly believe that my qualifications were not taken into consideration. Congregations are in survival mode and having a male clergy on offer to potential new congregants was seen as significant.

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