Welcome to RevGalBlogPals’ 10th Birthday Party!
Join us in the comments and share a story about how you found us, and read on for answers to your questions about RevGalBlogPals and information about a book giveaway.
How Did We Get That Name? And Why All Those Pictures of Feet?
In 2005, after a winter and spring of connections a dozen or so clergy and lay women made via blogging, one of us wondered if we should get a t-shirt? With a whimsical name and no long-term plan in mind, we started a web ring to connect our blogs, a CafePress store for t-shirts and mugs, and this blog for a yet-to-be-determined purpose. Writing was an important ministry identity for the group. In response to Hurricane Katrina, we created a self-published Advent devotional to raise funds for Church World Service; we wrote another devotional in 2006. Because many of us blogged pseudonymously, when we gathered we would take pictures of our feet rather than our faces, to maintain privacy.
As the group expanded, we made a few rules for membership, defining ourselves as a group intended to support women in ordained Christian ministry. As an ecumenical collaborative, we did not require agreement in other matters of theology, polity or practice. We formed a non-profit corporation and elected a board to provide leadership for all our activities and to oversee the group’s finances. We responded to a collective desire to offer an in-person meeting by organizing our first Big Event cruise in 2008. We developed many of the weekly blog features you know today, and maintained a separate prayer blog for several years before incorporating daily prayers here.
Ten Years Later
Next year we will host BE 9.0, and we now also offer REVive, a retreat on land. In 2015, we held Big Event Edinburgh; plans are underway for another BE in Scotland in 2017. Informal gatherings take place at denominational events and the Festival of Homiletics and in local coffee shops. Our blog, with over 40 volunteer contributors, amplifies the voices of clergywomen and provides ministry resources and supportive community.
In June, 2015, RevGalBlogPals received the inaugural Antoinette Brown Catalyst Award at the United Church of Christ General Synod, recognizing RevGals as a catalyst organization that embodies 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.
We continue to maintain a blog roll of over 300 bloggers, with more friends who don’t blog but do comment, and others who know us primarily through our Facebook group of almost 3000. We are expanding to Facebook sub-groups for special interests in ministry. We maintain an identity as a support for clergywomen who write, and we have many published authors among us.
SkyLight Paths Publishing approached us in 2013 about writing a book, and in April they published it! In celebration of ten years of ministry and community for RevGalBlogPals, the first commenter on this post will receive a copy of our book, There’s a Woman in the Pulpit: Christian Clergywomen Share Their Hard Days, Holy Moments, and the Healing Power of Humor, now in its second printing. The giveaway will continue through July 29 on all our non-prayer blog posts, so keep an eye on your feed reader or e-mail notifications. (All commenters are eligible with the exception of contributors to the book and members of the RevGals board.)
Some Things Change
In 2013, in response to requests that we do more and recognizing the limitations of all-volunteer leadership, our board called the Rev. Martha Spong to serve as our first Director. With the understanding that this expansion was a start-up, Martha worked for free at first. We are now able to pay her a 1/4 time salary and are working toward 1/2 time. Click here to support our ministry with a one-time or ongoing gift. Martha works with our ecumenical board, led by the Rev. Julia Seymour. Read more about our membership, the Director and the Board here.
Our vision for the future includes expanding our platform as a means of amplifying the voices of clergywomen, consciously increasing the diversity of those voices, and seeking grant support to develop a mentoring program for recently-ordained clergywomen.
And Some Don’t, But That’s Okay
- Some important things never change.
- You can leave a comment and know someone will read it.
- You can come late to the Preacher Party and find someone else staying up all night, too.
- You can ask a question and know someone will try to answer it.
- And you can still buy a mug that asks the eternal question, “Does This Pulpit Make My Butt Look Big?”