First Pastorate

The call came unexpectedly.  The voice on the other end of the telephone informed me that I had been elected pastor of Hopewell Church in my hometown.

I had just finished seminary in Boston and I had been offered three full-time positions on staffs of large churches in the area.  If I accepted one of those positions I would get lots of experience in full-time ministry.    These were highly sought after positions.  My classmates were envious of the choices I had.  Some of them only had one offer.  Still others had none.  However, most of my classmates didn’t want to pursue full-time ministry.  They had other callings on their lives:  teaching, consulting, writing, etc.  Since many of my classmates were older with families and had other jobs before attending seminary, several returned to previous employers, not wanting to start over in full-time ministry.

So while I was trying to decide which high-profile staff position to take, I got offered the highest position of all:  my own church.  Once the call came there was no more debating what I should do.  I was definitely going home!


It never occurred to me that I would be the first female pastor in town. I was just excited about getting the opportunity to implement some of the things I had learned in seminary.

Of course I knew there would be a learning period of settling in and getting my bearings.  But I figured it would be short because I had the best teacher of all, my dad.  While I was growing up he had been pastor of Greenwood Church in my hometown.  He held that position for 20 years, until he died.  From following him around I knew there would be ups and downs.

But none of that crossed my mind that day.  Only joy flowed through me.  I felt on top of the world.

The daunting responsibility and the enormous weight that would be on my shoulders only received a fleeting thought.  I put all of that on the back burner.

I was going home!  This had been my dream since I was a little girl.  To be just like my daddy and follow in his footsteps with a church of my own.

That day I learned that dreams really do come true!

Visit: Woman In The Pulpit Blog


Author: Rev. Dr. Grace

I am the pastor of Hopewell Church in a small town in Tennessee. I will be talking about the challenges female ministers face as they navigate their role in the church.

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