Sep 12, 2016
This paper presents a sociological analysis of women’s experiences of call to Christian pastoral ministry as a second career and discusses some of the unique challenges women face once in their pastoral positions. Drawing on 44 semi-structured interviews with pastors of different denominations, I aim to tell the stories women themselves present around their experiences of call, how they re-frame their past “secular” life stories once transitioned into fulltime ministry, and how they navigate dilemmas around dress and appearance as a female religious leader. While other studies have (quite usefully) employed statistical, historical, and theological accounts around this topic, I argue that hearing the experiences of female pastors themselves is equally important, as it allows us to understand another side of this institutional change in the Christian Church today, and to consider, on a grassroots level, how women are adapting to, working within and sometimes changing the pastoral role.
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
12:30 - 1:20pm
Hurlburt Hall, McMaster Divinity College
“She’s My Pastor”–-Stories of Women Who Hear the Call to Ministry
Kathleen (Katie) Steeves was born and raised in Moncton, New Brunswick. Growing up in a Christian pastor’s household, Katie had much early exposure to church life and religion, and eventually made her faith a real relationship for herself. Katie did not come from an entirely typical “east coast” pastor’s household—her mother, not her father, is Rev. Steeves. Growing up, she watched her mom navigate many uniquely positive and challenging leadership situations as a female pastor. These experiences sparked her curiosity about other women’s pioneering experiences in church leadership—which is now the subject of her PhD dissertation. Katie did her undergraduate studies in English and Sociology at Crandall University in Moncton N.B., and her Master’s degree in Sociology at McMaster. She is now a PhD Candidate in Sociology at McMaster, and her mother now serves as the lead pastor at West End Baptist Church in Saint John’s Newfoundland. Katie attends and is involved in leadership at Church on the Rock in Hamilton.