Young Clergy Women Conference – reflection by The Rev. Stephanie Kendell

August 16th,2019 Categories: Latest News

I am a writer in residence for Young Clergy Women International which means that I write articles for their online publications from the perspective of my experiences. It also means that once a year I get together with 200 other ordained clergy women to dream about our passion and share our calls to ministry in a way that helps to inspire what comes next. Being a clergy woman is a unique experience.  Years of patriarchy has conditioned society to think of clergy as a specifically male vocation. Well we all know that our God is bigger than that. So gathering with this group of women, all with our unique but also often similar experiences, is a holy gathering for the church.

We worshiped every morning together. 200 female voices reading scripture, singing songs, and lifting up our sisters as they preached or taught or shared. Was something I had never experienced. We had two Keynote speakers, who gave us insight into their ministry calls and inspired us with their stories. One of the speakers, friend of The Park- The Rev. Dr. Neichelle Guidry, while lifting up exceptional black female leaders, even lifted up our very own Pastor Kaji as someone doing courageous and inspiring work.

We also had different plenary session options, all led by professional women in their fields, that gave me not only interesting, but practical and helpful information about different areas of ministries. Two of my favorites were The Church and Mental Health, and Womanism in Church Leadership.  Both reminded our group that our responsibility as Pastors to our communities, is to name our personal/social locations and to preach and teach through the lenses outside of those locations- even if it makes you uncomfortable…maybe even especially so.

I shared the incredible work we are doing at The Park and was surprised to find out how many of these women watch our online worship service weekly. I also shared the vision for our new space and invited them to support the capital campaign. I even got one commitment on the spot!

I am so grateful to be a part of Young Clergy Women and to Pastor a church that is doing incredible ministry that lifts up female leadership. It always makes me excited to share at these conferences that I am a pastor at Park Avenue Christian Church.