There’s a Woman in the Pulpit

Disclosure: I have a horse in this race, aka a bug in this bed. My own contribution, “Blessed Bedbugs,” infests the of the book entitled, “They Don’t Teach That in Seminary.” Yep. True story.

“She said she wanted the whole family to take Communion together before she dies,” said Dad. “She must have been rambling.”

She wasn’t rambling. I remembered how she wept when I served her the wine for the first time. My mother died that summer, while I was deciding to apply for ordination in the Episcopal Church, across the ocean from my parental home. So of course, when I read Patricia J. Raube’s essay, “Couldn’t You Wait Until I’m Dead?” about her own journey to ordination and her own mother, I wept.

One of the remarkable things about this collection of essays, stories, poetry and prayers, curated and edited by Martha Spong, is the way that it reaches out into eternity and telescopes it down into the splash from the keel of a newly-launched ship hitting the Clyde; the waters of baptism, sufficient whether all-encompassing or delivered from a pipette onto a newborn baby’s brow; the grain of salt left in the corner of an eye after the unspilt tears dry out.

Then out again into the blue, via the plains, the mountains, the oceans.

If Raube reminded me of my mother, then Sharon M. Temple’s story of picking girls up off the church steps and driving them to get their first tattoos reminded me of my own daughters. Elizabeth Evans Hagan and her “Moses Basket” reminded me of the child I never met. Robin Craig, “Preaching Ahead of [Her]self” reminded me of myself, and the struggle to preach a gospel which has not always manifested itself without dirt or ambiguity in my own life; preaching the hope anyway, because what else are we called to do?

There is much hope in this book. There is so much to relate to and to remember. This is a book for women who are pastors, who are mothers, who are sisters, who are daughters, who are human. Of course, it is not only for women. It is for anyone who finds glimpses of God in stories shared of faith, struggle, our love, our lives.

I would recommend it as a gift, but don’t keep it till her ordination. Give it to her before she sets foot inside the seminary. Give it to her the first time she says, “I’ve been thinking…”

I am blessed to be a part of this RevGalBlogPals circle. I am blessed to find myself in such humbling and holy company as in this book. I am blessed to be a woman in a pulpit.

About Rosalind C Hughes

Rosalind C Hughes is a priest and author living near the shores of Lake Erie. After growing up in England and Wales, and living briefly in Singapore, she is now settled in Ohio. She serves an Episcopal church just outside Cleveland. Rosalind is the author of A Family Like Mine: Biblical Stories of Love, Loss, and Longing , and Whom Shall I Fear? Urgent Questions for Christians in an Age of Violence, both from Upper Room Books. She loves the lake, misses the ocean, and is finally coming to terms with snow.
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5 Responses to There’s a Woman in the Pulpit

  1. Pingback: Blog Tour #WomanInThePulpit | RevGalBlogPals

  2. Rosalind, all these years after starting my first blog, and I still find that we read each other’s stories and say Oh! That’s my story too. I’m glad you found resonance with my story of my mom; I can’t wait until I reach yours. Thank you!

  3. Martha Spong says:

    So glad your story is in the book!

  4. juniper68 says:

    I love your bedbug story! (Even though it made me kind of squirmy….)

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