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A Church of Her Own: What Happens When a Woman Takes the Pulpitby Sarah Sentilles
Synopses & Reviews
Women have been among the most dynamic and successful ministers in all Protestant denominations; but in divinity school, Sarah Sentilles discovered that some of the best and brightest were having trouble and even leaving the church altogether. What was happening? To find out, she entered the lives of female ministers — women of various ages, races, and denominations — and emerged with the first real portrait of what its like to lead as a woman of faith today.
Filled with humor, heartbreak, and triumph, the womens stories take us from calls to the pulpit through ordinations and service. Despite many churches resistance — conscious or not — to re-imagining what it means to be a minister, many of these women are achieving remarkable transformations in their congregations. In their inspiring determination to perform the creative, life-giving work to which they are called, these women illuminate a way that the church can revitalize itself. Whats at stake is nothing less than the future of the church itself.
"Ordained women pose a revolutionary challenge to traditional Christian beliefs about God and male-female relationships. Virulent and ingrained discrimination against these pioneers thrives in many Christian denominations. So argues Sentilles (Taught by America), a former aspirant to ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church. After interviewing Protestant (and, to a much lesser extent, Catholic) women of diverse denominations, races, ages and ordination status, Sentilles contends that sexism is woven through Christian practice, distorting everything from worship to creeds to human relationships. Fueled by empathy and appreciation for the women whose stories she narrates, deep disillusionment with the established church and a search for meaning in the wreckage of her own vocational discernment process, the volume is alternately sobering, deeply disturbing and hopeful. It is unclear, however, whether the writer bothered to converse with those who might have challenged the inevitably one-sided perspective of the women she portrays as victims. The book is also marred by the author's polemical tone and personal agenda, which often make it read more like a crusade than an analysis." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Thirty years after the first group of women was ordained by the Episcopal Church, women are among some of the most vital and successful ministers in all Protestant denominations, even as churches struggle to hold on to their members. Sarah Sentilles enters the lives of female ministers—women of various ages and races, in a range of churches—to paint the first real portrait of what its like to serve as a woman of faith today.
Sometimes triumphant, sometimes hilarious, sometimes painful, their stories take us from their calls to the pulpit through their ordinations and service in congregations. These women show us how the church can be more welcoming to the women who are its lifeblood. And in their inspiring determination to perform the ministry to which they are called, no matter what the obstacles, we might well see the future of the church itself.
About the Author
SARAH SENTILLES earned her master of divinity degree from Harvard and is the author of Taught by America: A Story of Struggle and Hope in Compton. She lives in Camarillo, California.
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