Updated: January 15, 2022 08:01
“Those Preaching Women,” a five-week series at Christ Anglican Church featuring seven female lay ministers, begins next weekend.
Reverend Jamaine Tucker had the idea of sharing his pulpit with Grace Rawlins, April Simmons, Frances Spring, Nathalie Barnett-Dill, Jennie Foster Skelton, Anne Hines and Shirene Fulton, while on vacation from January 23 to 20 February.
“The idea came from something I saw promoted by Reverend Emily Gail Dill in the AME Church a few years ago. She has been a major advocate for women in ministry,” Mr Tucker said. , the priest in charge of the church in Devonshire.
Promoting women to leadership positions in the church: Reverend Jamaine Tucker (file photo)
“Women in ministry exist in our church, but we haven’t always given women the platform to lead – especially in the Anglican Church of Bermuda. This fact gave me a reason to pause and reflect.
Looking at how social injustice has influenced the church, Tucker sees clearly that gender inequality and patriarchal attitudes have permeated the culture.
“I can’t ignore what I see here. No one in particular is at fault, but the question now is: what can I do about it? What can we do collectively?
“I realized that if I was to be transparent and intentional in helping vulnerable people, it had to go beyond economic and racial inequalities and also address the struggle that women in ministry have due to gender inequality. in the church.”
He continued, “I had a revelation when I went to graduate school for seminary and saw how many women were in my class and how many were already so accomplished, but the only thing keeping those ladies kept away from opportunities in ministry was the fact that they are women.
In Bermuda, as in many Western countries, women lead church ministry, but leadership is often still dominated by men.
Mr Tucker said: “We still have the secular culture of male dominance. It’s part of who we are and something we have to overcome. But there has to be the intention and the strategic plan to change that mindset. We have a responsibility to recognize what is and move forward.
“Women have long outnumbered men in the church and some women have refused to be defined by what is historically acceptable and have challenged the status quo. As a church, we have a responsibility to support them. .
It was with this feeling that Mr Tucker decided to use the opportunity he had to showcase the women of various Anglican churches on the island and provide them with a platform to lead.
“Simply put, we are about to more aggressively promote women into ministry in the Anglican Church of Bermuda. In my opinion, it is past time to recognize, nurture and, if possible, authorize and ordain qualified women for service.
“I am delighted that 100% of the five-week Sunday series of ‘Those Preaching Women’ is filled with Anglican women preachers. They are women who have demonstrated an ability to share the word of God with clarity, spiritual insight and passion. Most are lay readers and/or graduates of the first cohort of St Mellitus Bermuda.
In 2017, the Anglican Church of Bermuda launched a theological education program in conjunction with St Mellitus College. Several women have graduated from the program over the past four years, and many have gone on to be licensed for lay ministry.
Mr. Tucker is eager to see how the church will move towards a more gender-equal model of leadership and delighted that Christ Church is taking a step in that direction.
“We need the church to evolve as the culture evolves. The church is in trouble and we need all the support we can get. Women play a vital role in our survival, as do the young, the elderly and other groups,” he said.
“I want us to be able to recognize where we are and move in the direction of securing the role of women in the Anglican Church of Bermuda. I am in a church that can do something to give women the opportunity to grow and thrive in their ministry. Christ Church will play a major role in the realization of this project.