Scot McKnight had quite the discussion going today about women pastors, and some of the obstacles they face within denominations that support the ordination of women. As I read some of the comments, I was struck by God’s grace to me in my own process of being called, as a woman, to pastoral ministry. It is good for me to remember the different people who, both directly and indirectly, were used by God in the formation of my own sense of calling as fully gifted to preach and lead.
There were Priscilla Pope-Levison and Jodi Mullen Fondell who served as chaplains at North Park during my years as a student there and who gave me some of my first speaking opportunities.
There was Brenda Salter McNeil who came and spoke in chapel when I was a freshman and gave me my first preaching role model.
There was David Nystrom, an extraordinarily gifted minister and leader who was my most significant mentor during my years in Chicago.
There were Mary Miller and Jay Phelan who took my writing seriously and gave me platforms to share it.
There were David Horner and Carl Balsam who, though we did not always see eye to eye, treated me with respect and gave me a place at the table.
There was Glenn Palmberg who made sure that I knew how valuable I was to my denomination.
There was Henry Greenidge, the kind of pastor I dream of being, who invited me onto his staff and into his pulpit.
There was Pastor Mike who gave me opportunities to teach and lead in the church that raised me.
And there were my parents who “opened all the windows” and believed that I could do anything.
May it be that I too would have eyes to see how I might be used to shape the hearts and dreams of those coming after me.