Interfaith Panel Discusses Barriers for Women in Ministry

March 25, 2000

Source: The Denver Post

On March 25, 2000, The Denver Post published an article about a panel discussion on women in ministry at the Denver Area Interfaith Clergy Conference in Colorado. Rev. Cindy Cearley, co-pastor of Montview Boulevard Presbyterian Church, stated: "I've learned the art of restraint...Women ministers hear comments such as 'you don't look like a minister'." Cearley continued to say that male clergy are given "automatic" authority while her "authority has to come from who I am and how I do my job." In Reform Judaism, even though 10 to 15 percent of rabbis are women, only one is a senior rabbi in a large congregation, and women tend to make less money than male rabbis. Rev. Ruth Gibson, a Unitarian minister, spoke of the discouragement that women used to receive at the idea of becoming ordinated, but noted that now women comprise almost half of all ordinated clergy in the Unitarian-Universalist Association. Gender differences have not been a problem for two women who sat on the panel: Rev. Magdalena Merovingia, a Wiccan High Priestess, and Lisa Systma, a Christian Science practitioner. Merovingia said that goddesses have more power than gods in the Wiccan movement. Systma noted that Christian Science was founded by a woman, Mary Baker Eddy, and that there are more female than male practitioners of Christian Science.

See also: Interfaith, Women