This morning at the United Church of Christ’s General Synod in Cleveland, Ohio, RevGalBlogPals received the inaugural Antoinette Brown Catalyst Award. The UCC sought nominations earlier this year for catalyst organizations that embody the spirit of Antoinette Brown, the first woman ordained to Christian ministry since Biblical times, by providing a provocative space that advances women in ministry.
Through the ministry of our blog, our presence on social media (including Facebook and Twitter), and our in-person Continuing Education events, we offer resources and build community for women in Christian ministry. We use our platform to lift up diverse voices of clergywomen, including dozens who write for our blog, hundreds of bloggers in our web ring and the almost 3000 members of our Facebook group.
As an ecumenical ministry, we are committed to inclusivity. Our board members are Rev. Julia Seymour (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Alaska), President; Rev. Dr. Sarah Howe Miller (United Methodist Church, Texas), Vice-President; Ms. Mary Beth Butler (The Episcopal Church, Texas), Treasurer; Rev. Amy Haynie (The Episcopal Church, Texas), Assistant Treasurer; Rev. Liz Crumlish (Church of Scotland), Secretary; Rev. Jemma Allen (Anglican Church in New Zealand); Rev. Denise Anderson (Presbyterian Church USA, Maryland); Rev. Teri Peterson (Presbyterian Church USA, Illinois); Rev. Sharon M. Temple (United Church of Christ, Louisiana).
In April, we published a collection of original ministry stories and prayers by members of our blog ring, “There’s a Women in the Pulpit: Christian Clergywomen Share Their Hard Days, Holy Moments and the Healing Power of Humor” (SkyLight Paths Publishing), edited by RevGalBlogPals Director, the Rev. Martha Spong. More than fifty writers representing 15 denominations and 5 countries contributed to the book, now in its second printing.
The Rev. Elizabeth Dilley, the UCC’s Minister for Ministers in Local Churches, writes that RevGalBlogPals’ “ministry has made an enormous impact on the United Church of Christ and the world, and we join in celebrating the ways that God’s vision of equality and justice is embodied through you and your ministry.” In 2015, the pathways for women in ministry are considerably wider in the UCC than they were before, Dilley said, but women who lead in extraordinary ways and who make possible other women’s ministries are still necessary in the church.
Rev. Spong, who is a United Church of Christ pastor, accepted the award on behalf of the organization and will be speaking at a reception Monday to honor the recipients and launch the new Antoinette Brown Society. Spong, along with the two winners of the Antoinette Brown Trailblazer Award, will be a presenter at the ABS Clergywomen’s Leadership Conference, which will hold its inaugural event in April, 2016.
RevGalBlogPals is honored to receive this award–and we invite you to share the good news of this ministry, and the award, far and wide!