Women’s Ministry, Re-Visioned: Guest Speaker the Reverend Mitzi Minor April 7

When Episcopal Church Women (ECW) came into being, a woman’s world was different. The organization known as ECW has existed for more than a century before it took on its ECW name, in 1985 – in 1871, at General Convention, it was established as the Women’s Auxiliary to the Board of Missions.

A lot has changed since 1871.

Holy Communion’s women’s ministry is changing, too, adapting to the needs, schedules and talents of the women here. “We’re women who are in all different ages and stages of life,” says vestry member Sarah Cowens. “All stages have their different gifts, their different knowledge,” continues Liz Crites, current president of ECW.

ECW’s longtime focus has been hospitality, a ministry that won’t go away, but it is now building its plans for outreach and community-building, “feeding the women of the church, spiritually,” says Cowens.

And changing its name to reflect its mission – Women’s Ministry – while remaining part of the diocese and national ECW.

Women’s Ministry will hold a kickoff event on April 7, with the Reverend Mitzi Minor, ordained minister in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and a faculty member of Memphis Theological Seminary, as guest speaker. Tickets for the dinner are $20 in advance, and a nursery is available by request free of charge (call the church, 901-767-6987).

From Dr. Minor’s interview with Holy Communion Minister of Communication:

On the transformation of women’s ministry, across denominations: 
“We have to find a way to affirm what was done in the past, and revisiting for what church women are now, and what their sense of their gifts and what they have to offer. The common thread, I suspect, is, I want to be a full participant in this particular community of faith. What it means to be a full participant looks different to a new generation of women than it did.

“The ways in which we imagine women’s ministries – I call it a transformation of our imagination… claiming our heritage and a new world at the same time.

“In this new world, to re-vision is not to disdain the old vision, but to acknowledge that the world has changed and the lives of women have changed” ­– while building bridges between the generations.

On her faith, and her 1991 ordination:
“I was raised southern Baptist, so that ought to tell you a lot. But I was raised in a southern Baptist church that was very conservative, but not fundamentalist. Being Baptist [had to do with] consciousness, religious liberty and a person’s right to talk to God and to experience God in whatever way he or she did.

“When I went to seminary and the fundamentalist takeover of the denomination was under way. There are many Southern Baptist women who are ordained. They don’t have jobs, but…

Dr. Minor worked in youth ministry, went to graduate school, decided to become a professor.
I can’t even tell you when ordination became a part of that call,” but the Baptist Church made that “less and less likely… because of the fundamentalist takeover. I would not be a casualty of that war.

“Some things converged for me to become Cumberland Presbyterian.”

On the influence of storytelling in Dr. Minor’s life and work:
“I grew up among storytellers. Most of what I know about my family comes from listening to my dad, and later my mom [and grandparents]. I would sit and listen and ask them questions. 

“Storytelling is a vital part of human existence. There’s something fundamental to how we understand our own lives as an unfolding story. We use that language. Our storytelling can be just wonderfully entertaining, but it is often much more than that.

“There’s no accident that Jesus told stories. The great ones have always been storytellers. Our Christian tradition is full of them.

“If you are a preacher or a teacher, part of the value of telling stories is they’re disarming. Before you know it, you’ve had your world turned inside out.”

The Facebook invite to Thursday evening's event can be found here.

Photo: Jeff White, courtesy Grace-St. Luke's Episcopal Church

Posted by Cara Modisett at 3:46 PM
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