Friday, December 14
Finding a church that would give me, as a woman, the opportunity to be its pastor was a long process that took six years and eventually took me 600 miles from my home in Kentucky and brought me to Savannah, Georgia. I arrived by air, some six hours late because of a storm system that covered the entire Southeast. Indeed, it was “a rainy night in Georgia” when I arrived.
One of the issues that Memorial Baptist Church and I discussed as we discerned God’s leadership in the search process was the potential fall-out that could come if they called a woman to lead them. They did call, and the fall-out came. Even before I was on site, the Membership Committee of the Savannah Baptist Association contacted the Church and asked for a meeting related to the action of calling me as the pastor. Such a call was thought to be wrong. The Association’s by-laws said that a church could be expelled from the Association for actions contrary to the Association. While a woman serving as pastor was not specifically listed, such action was deemed to be “contrary to the Association.” As soon as action could be taken, Memorial Baptist Church was voted out of the Association.
The members of Memorial took a brave stand when they voted to call me. They chose to be faithful to what God was leading them to do, and they stood firm in the face of opposition. I was deeply blessed by them in the call and in the service we shared together for over five years.
I was also blessed by other Christian brothers and sisters in the Savannah area.
One such blessing came in the form of a letter that was on my desk when I arrived at Memorial. It was a letter of affirmation and a commitment to pray for me and my church. The letter began with the acknowledgment that the writers did not know me personally, but they wanted me to know that if Memorial Baptist Church had called me to be its pastor, then I would also have their support. The letter had come from the congregation of a local Baptist church. In fact, during those early days of my pastorate at Memorial, occasionally
and to affirm me with their support. That church also invited me to
attend one of its Deacon meetings and to share with them my journey to the pastorate.
Today it is my privilege to serve the church that sent the letter. Thank you, First Baptist Church of Savannah, for rising up and standing with this minister as she sought to be faithful to God’s call. May we continue to support one another as we follow God’s leading among us.
– Carolyn Hale Cubbedge