Afraid To Speak Out

Today we have a guest post by a young minister who wishes to remain anonymous.

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I wrote a piece for this blog but tore it up. I am afraid to publish it.

I am a young woman in the pulpit. I have had experiences similar to the ones in the Woman In The Pulpit novel. It is so aptly named. I applaud those who are brave enough to speak out. But I’m afraid to tell my story. At least, I’m afraid to have my name attached to it.

I hold an entry-level position on the staff of a church. I am interviewing for a more senior level position at other churches.

I don’t want anything to interfere with me getting another position so I can’t let my name be associated with anything.  Even if what I have to say is true.

I can’t tell how my pastor hollers at me and makes me feel like nothing. I’m afraid to tell him that I don’t deserve such treatment.

I can’t tell how others opinions about me are believed and acted upon. Yet no one bothers to speak to me personally to get my side in the matter. I’m afraid to rock the boat, even though it seems like it is capsizing.

I can’t tell about the untrue rumors that have been started about me. I’m afraid so I hang my head in shame. My friends tell me that I’m acting as if they are true. They urge me to speak up for myself. But I just can’t. I’m afraid.

Sometimes I sit and wonder what I have done wrong. I accepted my calling into the ministry. After college I went to seminary to get my credentials. I am as well prepared or more so than most.

I hate having to prove myself over and over again.

I’ve been in this entry-level position 3 years. I haven’t been ordained. Yet male seminary students join the church and are ordained within 6 months. When I ask about my ordination I’m told that I have more to learn and it’s coming soon. I accept that answer because I’m afraid to challenge it. I don’t want to get a bad reputation.

I’ve shared my experience with a professor at my seminary. She has put me in touch with some female pastors. I am hoping to join one of their staffs.

I suppose nothing will change as long as I’m afraid to speak out. I wasn’t always like this. I started out at this church so excited about being on staff. But I have been beat down verbally so much that I don’t know what to do.

I am well steeped in scripture.

I know that no weapon formed against me will prosper. But I’m afraid.

I know that God makes a way out of no way. But I’m still afraid.

I know that God has not given us a spirit of fear. But I’m so afraid.

Afraid to speak out.

Afraid to tell my story.

Afraid someone will identify me.

Until I get into a more supportive environment and find my voice, I will remain afraid.

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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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