Woman In The Pulpit by Margaree Mitchell Explores Challenges Faced by Female Pastors

It’s Not An Easy Road For Women In Ministry

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Woman In The Pulpit, a novel by Margaree Mitchell, explores the world of female pastors. Grace Alexander, fresh out of seminary, arrives in Piney Woods, Tennessee bent on changing things in the staid community. But Thomas Haliburton and the male Ministerial Alliance believe that women should not be pastors. They do everything in their power to make sure Grace comes to realize that she is not pastor material.

Grace, who is Boston seminary educated, is anxious to apply the new forms of ministry she learned in school. However, Haliburton is not having it. He has stopped every progressive move in town and he is determined to stop Grace.

Grace challenges the ministers and their positions. She knows she has been called to preach and to pastor. She determines that nothing will keep her from her calling, not even a tragedy that causes the church to schedule a vote to recall her as pastor.

Mitchell wrote the novel after listening to friends talk about their experiences in ministry. “I have several friends and family members who are ministers and pastors. A week does not go by without one or more painfully sharing a story about their treatment as they try to carry out their calling. Many of those stories center around mistreatment and negative attitudes towards them by male ministers,” says Mitchell.

Woman In The Pulpit explores issues facing women pastors such as handling rumors, responding to a lack of respect as a woman pastor, not being taken seriously, underhandedness, dating and other challenges.

“As each person talked I saw commonalities in each story,” Mitchell says. “I tried to capture the little things, the little attitudes that if left unchecked can lead to bigger issues.”

And bigger issues do occur. A tragedy after an event for teens causes the town to turn against the new woman pastor. Racing against time, Grace tries to get to the bottom of what happened before she is run out-of-town.

Before publishing the book, the publisher convened a focus group of female pastors. There were tears, hugs, cheers. They totally identified with Grace Alexander. And all had thorns in their sides like Thomas Haliburton. They left the group knowing that other women in ministry share similar challenges.

Because of such positive reaction, Mitchell has decided to make Woman In The Pulpit a series. “There are many more stories to be told,” she says. She is at work on the next Woman In The Pulpit book.

Woman In The Pulpit is available wherever eBooks are sold.




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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