Woman In The Pulpit Book Review

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The Party’s Not Over Until God Says So


Today my guest is V. Lynn Whitfield, author of the new book, The Party’s Not Over Until God Says So. Lynn is  an accomplished attorney. Presently she serves as the City Attorney of Hallandale Beach, Florida. I am excited to interview her about this inspirational book, which provides a roadmap on how to drive through the storms of life.

Why did you write this book?

Once I started writing I realized that this book has been in me my entire life. The idea to write a book about my experiences actually came from a colleague of mine. After I was hired to be the Deputy City Attorney for the city of North Miami, he said that I should write a book because I had come full circle in my career by returning to Miami to practice. He stated that the circumstances which led to my leaving Miami initially was just a setup for my comeback. I was intrigued by his statements and started writing. That was in 2006. I was unable to make much progress on the book at that time. It wasn’t until after experiencing a major health challenge 6 years later that within four months I completed the book.

Why did you title the book The Party’s Not Over Until God Says So?

That has always been the title of the book since its inception. The title is derived from the headline of the Miami Herald article about me in 1981 which proclaimed that for me “the party’s over.” I don’t want to say too much more about it just in case someone reading this has not read the book yet. The full story is laid out there.

Most people try to hide challenges they are going through. Why were you so transparent about personal challenges in your life?

I really feel that this book was God inspired and that I was commissioned to write it not so I could get any acclamations, but to help others that are facing challenges in their own lives. The only way you can help others through is to be transparent about what you yourself have experienced. I don’t know how I could have written this book and not have been transparent. This book was meant to touch so many people going through so many different challenges.

How did you feel when you discovered that you had lost your license to practice law?

From the moment I left the State Attorney’s office I was devastated. I had worked so hard to become an attorney. Everyone in my family was so proud of me. I was too ashamed to tell them the truth about what had occurred. I’m not sure what I told them. Between the time I lost the job and the time I was actually facing discipline from the Florida Bar, I was working to reestablish myself as a criminal defense lawyer, so on Martin Luther King Day, 1983 when I returned home to find the letter about the complaint being filed with the Florida Bar, it was like I had been punched in the stomach again. I felt like the powers to be were trying to destroy me and I didn’t understand why. I thought to myself, “Wasn’t it enough that I had lost my job and faced embarrassment? Why were they going after my license?” One thing I don’t talk about in the book is the statement which had been made to me prior to the incident by one of the top supervisors in the State Attorney’s office which were borderline sexual harassment. He was the same person who filed with the Florida Bar to get my license suspended.

How could you get up and face the day knowing that people knew what had happened to you?

It was hard to face every day. In fact for the first couple of days I didn’t get up. I wallowed in my pity party. But I was alone. I had separated from my live-in boyfriend, which is discussed in Chapter 9.   Looking for love can bring about storms. I didn’t have any money, so I had to get up and go out because I had to eat. At first I stayed away from the courthouse and others who knew details about what occurred unless they were very close friends of mine. Then I started hearing rumors that a lot of the defense attorneys were supportive of me and they were saying that if any charges were ever filed against me they would represent me. What I learned was that the defense bar considered me to get a good prosecutor who always attempted to be fair with them. I also had a lot of support from the judges whom I had appeared before over the four-year period of time.

It seemed like there was a long process to get your law license back. Did you ever feel like giving up?

My suspension was for six months, but as I state in the book, the reinstatement period took another year. I never felt like giving up especially after my mentor and friend, H.T. Smith, agreed to represent me. How do you give up when you have someone who is going out of their way to be there for you and to get others to support you? Also, I think I had something to prove to those who had wanted me suspended. No one had ever said I was not a good lawyer. They said that what I did was not good. I wanted to prove that I was not only a good lawyer but also a good person who valued her bar license.

In the book you detail your recent health challenges. After surgery when you became aware that you were paralyzed on your left side how did you have the determination to tackle rehabilitation with so much inner strength?

I’m glad you asked this question. By the time I reached this challenge in my life I had journeyed through so many. I have learned that you do actually get stronger and more resilient every challenge that you encounter. I thought back on all the other challenges I had gone through. I thought back to how I have been able to overcome them. I thought back on how initially I didn’t know if I would be able to overcome them, but I did. I knew that I was going to need a tangible object to help keep me motivated and that is why I asked my sister to bring me my half marathon medals. The medals were tied to the side of my bed and when I was concerned or thought about not working hard at rehabilitation, I would look at my medals and think about how at first I couldn’t walk five miles continuously and how I had to work hard to be successful. I knew it was going to take the same type of determination to fully restore the use of my left side.

You also detail relationship challenges you have faced. Have you received any feedback from the men you talk about in the book? If so, what has it been? Any apologies?

I detail two relationships which caused storms in my life. The preacher I discuss died prior to the release of the book. He actually was sick when I was sick and that was the last time I spoke with him. I have spoken with his son and I let him know that I had discussed his father in the book. I don’t think he has read the book yet. I have not heard from the other individual and don’t expect to hear from him. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t want an apology, but I’m learned that the only apology which I needed was for me to apologize to myself for allowing them to treat me the way I did. I’ve apologized to myself for not loving myself enough to set clear boundaries on how a man should treat me. I realize that not having my father in my life during my teen years had a negative effect on how I related to men in relationships.

Why do you feel the need to help people who are facing major storms in their lives?

We all have a purpose for walking on this earth. It has taken me a long time to realize what my true purpose is. It was only with the writing of this book and it’s being published that I came into the realization that everything which I have experienced in my life was not about me. It was about me being able to get this story out and to share it with others so that it could bless them as they encounter the major storms in their lives. Why else would one person have gone through so many storms and still be young enough to help others by speaking and writing about it.

The holiday season is a time of festive celebrations with family and friends. What advice would you give someone who is facing a major storm in their life and have nothing to celebrate?

You are right most people are in celebration mode right now, but it is the most depressing time for a lot of other people. We all have something to celebrate. The fact that we woke up, we need to celebrate. What I would tell someone facing a major storm and feel they have nothing to celebrate is to just get up and get dressed. Next leave the home and find someone who is having a hard time. Maybe volunteer at a homeless shelter or a domestic violence shelter or even just go to the nursing homes and hospitals and see people with worse challenges. Take your mind off your problems by helping someone else with theirs. What is that old saying? “I thought I had it bad because I had no shoes until I met the man who had no feet.” When we see people doing worse than us, we become grateful for what we do have.

What future books are you planning?

I’ve always wanted to write novels. I’ve been working on a Christian murder mystery set in West Palm Beach for a while now and hope to finish in the very near future. People have asked me about the sequel to “The Party’s Not Over” but I’m not being led in that direction yet.

What topics do you cover in your workshops and seminars?

I have two workshops/seminar which I am developing. First is “10 Steps to Overcoming the Shame of Failure” and “Remove the Mask and Let Them See You.” I am also developing, with a psychologist, a webinar for lawyers, doctors and dentist entitled, “Make Law Your Profession Not Your Life.” The title is changed for each profession.

How can people contact you for workshops, seminars, speaking engagements, and book signings?

People can contact me by email at vlwenterpriseinc@gmail.com or by telephone at 561-856-6757. I’m available to speak at churches, youth groups, recovery groups, health groups or any group or organization which encounters individuals dealing with the challenges of life. Pick a challenge and I’ve either experienced it personally or have someone close to me who has.


For more information:

The Party’s Not Over Until God Says So

Spend $7.99 And Curl Up With A Good Book This Christmas

If you like your novels with a healthy dose of inspiration, you will love Woman In The Pulpit!

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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.

Readers are talking about Woman In The Pulpit and saying:

“This book is great. It is engaging and will engulf you into the story. I found myself feeling for the characters and wanting to know what happened at the end.”

“Faith and hope are fundamental in Grace’s daily walk as a woman of the pulpit. Grace and Walter’s relationship had never known trouble until she arrived in Piney Woods. The author depicts the glory of God and His power to overcome evil with good.”

“Woman In The Pulpit has it all – humor, drama, love, romance, suspense, tragedy, betrayal, redemption, and some incredible spiritual insights.”

For further information:

Woman In The Pulpit

_An exciting view of what it is like for a female entering the pulpit!_ (7)




Woman In The Pulpit – Chapter 2


When I arrived in Piney Woods I didn’t know that I was the subject of meetings of the Ministerial Alliance. In fact, I didn’t even know about the Ministerial Alliance. No one invited me to meetings.

Chapter 2

A luncheon meeting of the local Ministerial Alliance was in progress. Forty ministers gathered in the private dining room of Gladys’ Country Kitchen for their monthly meeting.  Rev. Thomas Haliburton sat at the head table.  A tall man in his seventies, with a commanding presence and almond skin, like polished oak furniture.  His snow-white hair crowned his head and gave him a distinguished air.  He had been pastor of Morning Star Church for fifty years.   Joining him at the head table were his two top lieutenants, fifty-year-old Rev. Cecil Jones, a stout man with long bushy sideburns, and thirty-four year old Rev. Clyde Williams, a man of average height and weight.  The three of them represented the broad array of ministers serving the area.

“Clearly, we can’t allow this,” Rev. Haliburton said evenly.

Forks stopped clattering against plates. The ministers listened attentively to what Rev. Haliburton was saying.  Heads nodded in agreement.

As secretary of the Alliance, Cecil wrote rapidly. It was his job to accurately take notes of each meeting and transcribe them.  This usually meant that he did not participate in the discussions unless he was specifically asked a question.  But today words tumbled from his mouth.

“It’s too late now,” he said.

“Where is your faith, Cecil?”   Rev. Haliburton set his jaw in strong resolve.  “The Bible says that women should be silent.  They should not teach or have authority over a man.”

A man of strong convictions, Rev. Haliburton looked out over the men gathered in the room.   Men who looked to him to lead them in the right way.  They were all ages.  Some he had known since they were babies.  They all viewed him as their spiritual leader.  He cleared his throat before continuing.

“Besides, I have a plan.”

“Can you share your plan with us?” asked Cecil.  “If ever we needed a miracle, it is now.”

“She won’t be here long, Cecil,” said Rev. Haliburton. “I can guarantee you that.”

Clyde, trying to be the voice of reason, added his opinion. “The church has voted.  Her appointment cannot be undone.”

“Watch me,” Rev. Haliburton said.

“What’s the big deal anyway,” asked Clyde.

Rev. Haliburton glared at him.

“You have a lot to learn,” said Cecil, whispering.

Rev. Haliburton resumed eating his meal. So did everyone else.

_An exciting view of what it is like for a female entering the pulpit!_ (2)


“She is misguided. That’s what schooling up North will do.”   Rev. Haliburton pushed his dessert dish away and opened the meeting.

“Isn’t she from here?” asked Clyde.

“Her father was pastor of Greenwood before you. He was well-respected in these parts.  He would roll over in his grave if he knew his little girl was up to this.”

“Sarah Alexander’s daughter?”

“Exactly. She should have stayed up North,” said Cecil.  “Whoever heard of a woman pastor?”

His words reverberated throughout the room. No one replied.  There was no need.  All agreed with him.

Finally, Rev. Haliburton spoke. “It is ungodly.   And it simply will not stand in Piney Woods!”

“But it’s a done deal,” said Cecil.

“Like I said, I have a plan. I left word over at Hopewell for her to come see me the minute she gets to town.  Her father and I were friends.  She will listen to me.”

“And turn back around and leave town?” asked Clyde.  “That seems too easy.”

“I’ll take her under my wing and gently guide her to see that being pastor of Hopewell is not for her.

“She believes in the Bible,” Rev. Haliburton continued. “We will have weekly discussions where I will point out the Biblical way and what the Bible says about women being over men.  There’s no telling what she learned in that seminary.  I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t even study the Bible.

“But I need your support in this, gentlemen. Cecil, take a vote.”

Cecil flipped the pages to the roll in his notebook. “Rev. Ambrose?”


“Rev. Anderson?”

In deep thought, he does not answer.

“Calling Rev. Anderson.”

“What about the ministries on television where a lot of the pastors have wives who are also preachers?” Rev. Victor Anderson asked.  “The wives act as co-pastors.”

“What does that have to do with anything?” asked Rev. Haliburton.

“Doesn’t that show that churches are accepting women preachers?”

“So what? It is your responsibility to teach your people that the Bible says that it’s wrong!  You can’t go around doing what everybody else does.  That don’t make it right.”

“We can vote and agree that a woman shouldn’t be pastor of a church,” Victor said, “But we all know that we are going to lose some members to Hopewell. People like to flock to the new thing in town.  When Clyde came to town we all lost members.”

“If we do a good job of teaching our members what the Bible says about women in the pulpit that won’t happen,” said Rev. Haliburton. “Besides, this is different.  Clyde is a man.  I don’t see any defections from our churches in this case.  If anything, people from Hopewell will be coming to us.”

Cecil cleared his throat. “I repeat, Rev. Anderson?”

Reluctantly, Victor said, “Aye.”

“Rev. Baskins?”

“But this is not progressive thinking,” Rev. Don Baskins said.

“Progressive thinking? We are going by Bible doctrine,” said Rev. Haliburton.

“All I’m saying is we need to think about this situation. Grace might be the first but she is certainly not going to be the last woman in Piney Woods that is going to call herself a preacher.”

“What’s the matter, Don?” asked Rev. Haliburton.  “Don’t you know your Bible?”

Don was aware that all eyes were on him waiting for his response. This was not an issue he was willing to fight about.  Grace was not coming to his church.

In the silence, Cecil spoke, “Rev. Baskins?”


Cecil continued down the list calling names. Receiving no other objections he placed a check besides each name.  He reached the end of the list.  “Rev. Williams?”


Rev. Haliburton, expecting no less, was pleased with the vote.

“Gentlemen, we are all in agreement.”


To continue reading Woman In The Pulpit and discover what happens:  Woman In The Pulpit


Continue Driving Through The Storm

Today we have a guest post by V. Lynn Whitfield, author of  the new book The Party’s Not Over Until God Says So.  She is an attorney with over thirty-one years of experience. In spite of being a ward of the State of Ohio and parentless before the age of eighteen, she secured an academic scholarship to attend Brandeis University which not only provided her with a high quality education, but also equipped her and prepared her to successfully attend and graduate from law school. After one year as an attorney, she found herself without a job and the topic of media attention. She was disciplined by the Florida Bar and many said her career was over.  She was able to rehabilitate her career and has gone on to be a successful criminal defense attorney and now practices municipal law and serves as a City Attorney in Hallandale Beach, Florida

In January, 2012 she suffered a subdural hematoma and had brain surgery. Although she woke up paralyzed on her dominant side, she didn’t let that stop her. She worked hard and just three weeks after starting rehabilitation, she was walking and using her left side again.  Just three months after surgery she was back working full-time as an attorney and writing.  Her ability to rehabilitate herself both professionally and physically makes her qualified to discuss and advise on how to overcome the storms of your life.


V. Lynn Whitfield

Author of : “The Party’s Not Over Until God Says So”

It was Labor Day weekend in 2008. I decided to travel to the west coast of Florida for a golfing and spa weekend.  A couple of friends initially said they were going but once it was predicted that Hurricane Ike was going to veer that way, they quickly changed their plans and opted to stay at home.  Not me!  I was hopeful that I would be able to get at least one day of golf in and definitely some spa services.  So off I went all by myself for a new adventure.  I spent Friday evening shopping at a nearby outlet mall, one of my other favorite activities when traveling.  It started raining as I drove back to the condo I had rented.  The rain was not too bad and I was able to go out later for dinner in one of the restaurants in downtown Naples.

The next day was beautiful and sunny.  I played eighteen holes of golf with no problems.  Well, that’s not quite true.  I’m the problem when I play golf, but the weather cooperated.  Later after my afternoon at the spa, it started raining.  It rained all night long.  The next morning it was raining a little harder.  It was obvious that I was not going to be able to play golf on that day.  Not having anything else to do I started watching the weather and I became concerned that the weather was only going to get worse.  I made the decision to head back home to the east side of the state.

Starting out back across the state on I-75, affectionately known as “Alligator Alley,” I encountered a constant moderate rain.  After about a half an hour of driving I came upon an extremely heavy rainstorm.  I could barely see the cars in front of me or on my sides.  The sound of the rain hitting the windshield was drowning out the music on the radio.  My windshield wipers were of no use clearing the glass.  The condensation on the inside of the windows made it hard to see anything.  Normally in heavy rain I look for the white stripes on the roadway, but they were invisible to me.  When I reached an underpass, I noticed several vehicles pulled over to the side of the road waiting out the storm.  I wanted to join them, but every time I thought about it I could hear my dearly loved elderly aunt saying, “Baby, you don’t know how long the storm is going to be there.  If you keep on driving eventually you’re going to come out of this storm.”  It was something she had told me years ago when I questioned her about pulling over during rainstorms.  It was a philosophy I adopted in my life along the way.


It is not limited to just when I’m driving in a rainstorm, but it applies when I’m going through one of my life storms.  Believe me I’ve had plenty of opportunity to pull over and wait it out.  I know if I had done that, I would not be where I am now.  I’m not going to tell you that it wouldn’t be hard to keep going, because it often is hard.  It is often scary and sometimes you have to slow down to a crawl.  Just like you do when you are driving, you have to hold on tight to your steering wheel.  In life your steering wheel will be whatever you believe to be your Higher Spirit or Being.  For me it is always going to be God.  You know those bumper stickers that say, “Jesus is my Co-Pilot.”  That’s not true for me. You see, Jesus is my Pilot.  I let him take complete control, especially during my life storms.  I place all my trust in Him and God.

When I was twenty-six years old I went to work one day on top of the world.  I had a great job prosecuting those charged with crimes and I was very good at it.  I had built up a great reputation in the courthouse.  At that time in the early 80’s there were not a lot of black attorneys in the State Attorney Office in Miami.  And I had the nerve to wear a nose ring.  That evening I returned home not knowing if I would continue to have a job.  I didn’t know if I would face criminal charges.  I was scared.  I didn’t have a savings account or any other source of money.  All I had was God.  After I was the headline of the local section of the Miami Herald, things got worse.  My job was gone and just about all of my money.  I couldn’t let my family know what happened.  All I could do was wake up every morning and keeping putting one foot in front of the other.

One day a friend told me about a sign he had seen in a storefront legal clinic saying they were looking for an attorney for the office.  I went by and got the job.  Eventually, I started working for another criminal defense lawyer and I was beginning to see my way out of the storm.  I still had to go through some minor squalls but things got better.  The whole time I held on tight to my trust in God.  I wasn’t as active in the church as I should have been, but I knew who was able to keep me in it all.  That is when I developed a special affinity for the poem “Footprints.”  I believe God was carrying me some of the time.

It was because of my ability to safely maneuver through the past storms in my life that I was able and confident that I would be successful in getting through when I awakened from brain surgery and was totally paralyzed on my left side.  When God has brought you through storm after storm, after storm, you have to know and trust that He will bring you through this latest one. God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.  Think about it. When David took on Goliath, he had already successfully slayed the lion and the bear.  He was ready and equipped to slay the giant.

Your previous storms have equipped you to withstand the winds and rains of the current storm. You just have to trust in the past experiences and believe if He kept you through those He will keep you through this one too.  People wondered how I could be so at peace laying in that hospital bed.  See they didn’t know what I knew.  I knew it was not the end of my story.  I knew that God had more for me to do and to do it I had to be up and walking and typing.  I never doubted my recovery.  I worked hard at it with confidence until it was achieved just three short weeks after starting rehabilitation therapy. I had to learn to walk, write, drive and even dress myself again. It is amazing how much we take for granted every day.

So what do you do when you encounter a storm while driving or in your life? Do you grip the steering wheel a little tighter and keep inching forward?  Or will we find you on the side of the road wondering when it’s going to stop so you can move on?  Remember standing still in a storm just gets more rain dumped on you.  Driving and moving forward will eventually get you out of the storm.  My advice my friend, continue driving through the storms.  Sunshine is waiting on the other side.

V. Lynn Whitfield is available for workshops, seminars and keynote speaker based on her book The Party’s Not Over Until God Says So. She is also the author of 101 Black Pearls Of Wisdom and is a contributor to Baby Boomers – Life After Fifty.  Contact Lynn at: vlwlaw@yahoo.com  or (561) 856=6757




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.



Woman In The Pulpit – Chapter 1

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Have you ever started a new job and were both excited and apprehensive? That’s how I felt when I started my new job as pastor of Hopewell Church. You see, I grew up in Piney Woods and I knew how things worked. But it’s always been my dream to return home. So when presented with the opportunity I let my excitement outweigh anything else. I invite you to come with me and share the thrill I felt as a senior pastor. The following excerpt is from the book Woman In The Pulpit.

Chapter 1

Grace Alexander placed her foot on the brake pedal, slowing the car so she could enjoy the colors of fall. Gold. Scarlet. Burnt Orange. Forest Green. Cocoa Bean. Bright Yellow. Burgundy. A kaleidoscope of vivid colors covered the trees. Every warm hue on the color spectrum was represented. Joy washed over her as the brilliant rays of the sun bathed each leaf and enriched its gloss. Trees lined the winding road majestically, each more breathtaking than the other. Every now and then a breeze rustled the trees and leaves of all colors floated to the ground. This was the part of the drive home that she loved best. When she reached this stretch of road she was almost there.

This time she was coming home to stay.

The silver Toyota Camry had served her well. A high school graduation present from her parents, it had gotten her through college and through three years of studying for her doctoral degree. She planned to keep it in good running condition for another few years.

The back seat was piled with boxes of books and other personal items. The front seat held her Bose music system and her collection of jazz CD’s. When life seemed to overwhelm her, jazz soothed her soul.

When money had been tight she had taken occasional singing gigs in the jazz clubs of Boston. Singing was second nature to her. She grew up singing at every event and every program in town and around the state. Everybody told her she would be a star someday.

But to Grace singing was personal. She did not have a desire to share her talent with the world. She only did it out of necessity. Thankfully those days were behind her. She was coming home to pursue her real dream. A dream she had held since high school.

It all seemed so easy. Too easy perhaps. First college. Next graduate school. Then dream fulfilled. No struggle involved.

She wasn’t complaining. Grace knew she was fortunate to get this job. She had been lucky all her life. Things just seemed to fall into place for her.

She hoped things would fall into place in her new job just as easily. What she was doing did not fit into men’s expectations for women. They were used to seeing a church being led by a man. Would they think she was the wrong vessel to lead them?

Grace shook her head to clear all the cobwebs away. Since when had she been concerned about what other people thought of her? She knew her calling. And she was going to carry it out.

She also knew everything was not going to go smoothly. She was prepared for opposition. She would not be well received in every situation. She knew that. But she hoped everyone would be civil and that they could all respect each other while going about their work.

Men would not be her only problem. There were women who felt the same way. They wanted, rather they needed, to be led by men. As much as they wanted equality on their jobs and in every other aspect of their lives, on Sunday mornings they wanted to see a man in the pulpit.

Grace brought her attention back to her beautiful surroundings. She drank in the lively, vibrant colors of the trees. Nothing was going to mar this sight for her. And negative thoughts would not dampen her enthusiasm for her new job.

She was going home.

Grace put a CD in her car’s music system and sang along with the jazz classic.

“What A Difference A Day Makes.

           Twenty-Four Little Hours…

             Brings The Sun And Flowers

             When it Use To Be Rain.”

She passed a sign:

Welcome To Piney Woods, Tennessee

       Population 27,000

 Grace put her foot to the pedal and accelerated.


Grace’s well-manicured hands, adorned with ripe peach fingernail polish, rested easily on the steering wheel. She parked her car in front of Hopewell Church, a large imposing stone structure. The sign on the lawn announced for all to see:



 She took a moment to savor the feelings rushing through her body. One of the mainline high profile churches had called her to be their pastor. What great luck! A lot of movers and shakers of Piney Woods worshipped at Hopewell. She would be watched by everyone to see how she managed the church. She would have a highly visible platform on which to implement her programs. She had many new ideas she wanted to try out at Hopewell. If they worked she would write books and give seminars so she could help other ministers. In her wildest dreams she never imagined a plum assignment such as this.

She had thought it would take many years of working on the ministerial staffs of other churches before she assumed her first pastorate. She had been offered three such positions on the staffs of prominent churches on the East Coast. When her mother had told her that Hopewell’s pulpit was vacant, she could not resist the impulse to apply.

Rev. Odell Robinson, the former pastor of Hopewell, had been named senior pastor of a mega-church in Memphis. His preaching was legendary. He had made much of his three years in Piney Woods. Hopewell had been his base of operation as he developed a national following. His gift of preaching had taken him all across the country. Grace had even gone to support him when he came to Boston.

When Hopewell’s pulpit committee had called her for an interview, Grace had dropped everything to fly home. The interview had gone well. She knew everyone on the committee personally. Community leaders. Former teachers. Family doctor. They were used to new ideas and new programs. They wanted someone who would continue where Rev. Robinson had left off. Someone who would keep Hopewell on the national stage. They felt Grace was the person to do so.

When the call came announcing their selection, Grace was ecstatic. She had no reason to mull over any other offers. She knew what she wanted. She was going home.

Now she was here. She felt like pinching herself to make sure this was real.

Her first pastorate. Wonderful! Marvelous! Words could not describe her innermost feelings.

She was glad to be home.


For more information on the book Woman In The Pulpit and the story of my first year as pastor of Hopewell Church visit: Woman In The Pulpit