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Women must not forget how oppression works

‘I am able to have a voice … because of women in this room’

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The Rev. Nancy Young, GAMC coordinator for racial ethnic & women's leadership development, speaks with the Rev. Rebecca Tollefson at the National Association of of Presbtyerian Clergywomen luncheon Thursday. —Photo by Tony Oltmann


“Is [women’s ordination] still an issue?” was the question asked of the National Association of Presbyterian Clergywomen (NAPC) gathered Thursday afternoon. The Rev. Peg Chemberlin, president of the National Council of Churches, addressed the group, asking questions and inviting conversation about women’s journeys.

Among those gathered was the Rev. Peggy Howland, 12th woman to be ordained by the PC(USA), and one of four recipients of this year’s Women of Faith awards.

Ordained women attending from around the country nodded in agreement as the Rev. Brandi Wooten, 30-year-old minister commissioner from the Presbytery of Genesee Valley, responded to Chemberlin’s question by saying, “I am able to have a voice and be heard precisely because of so many women in this room. I am deeply, deeply grateful, because I can stand tall with a voice because of the women in the generation before me.”

Though the NAPC celebrates the PC(USA)’s ordination of women, there are other denominations that do not permit women’s ordination. Chemberlin said, “As we move into a place where we have a little more authority and power, we can’t forget how oppression works and how we become part of the system that oppresses.”