Friday, August 02, 2013

The Passing of a Pioneer

Hers is not a name that will go down in the great annals of the wider Christian Church, but in our little corner of the People of Christ, she was a first.  Her name was Mary and she was the first woman to be ordained in the Moravian Church, Northern Province.

It was the early 70s when she entered Seminary- the same time I did. I was ordained in September 1974, she a few months later. She opened the door to a whole new way of ministry and being the church. It was a wondrous day when the clergy of our denomination opened up to the possibility and joy of being an inclusive clergy population.

Hers was a second career, something unusual for clergy in that era, far more common today. She was the wife of the Dean of the seminary. She was a calm presence among us younger, hot-headed idealists and angry young men. (There was another woman student.) She faced the same questions about women clergy that all women entering the field did (and still do in some places.)

She just did her thing. She was able to do it with a sense of grace that many of us younger students probably didn't appreciate at the time. She peacefully paved a road that had not been traveled before.

Mary died this week. A quiet pioneer who did what she had to do to follow her calling.

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