March 8th is ‘International Women’s Day’. Whilst, around the world, International Women’s Day is typically a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, we thought we’d take it as a chance to celebrate the ministerial achievements of our Baptist women. We are thankful for the diversity and giftedness that the women in our churches and wider Association bring; women made in God’s image. Meet some of them below!
Samantha McNally, Lay Leader:
“Being a woman in leadership was an underlying issue for my previous church. To find that you have the support of the Association to church plant, knowing that it’s not an issue and they both encourage and nurture the journey – I don’t know that they’ll ever know how much that meant to me. I don’t have any theological training – I’m just a woman listening to God, and they champion that. They see that God is moving and move with Him. I have sat through meetings in our local area and hear the rules and the stipulations put on other Christians in leadership, and I just think, ‘I am so blessed to have the Association right behind us – cheering us on and praying for us’. For women moving forward in any ministry, there’s a lot of traditional viewpoints out there. Don’t get caught up in the lies of the enemy. Listen to God and go with what He’s saying. He’s got a plan for all of us, for such a time as this – he didn’t leave the women out of that!”
Jennifer Trevena, Accredited in 2019:
“I’m a bit of a special case as I am an ordained/accredited pastor, a single parent, and a first-generation immigrant with English as a second language. I am also the first Korean ordained/accredited woman pastor in the Baptist Churches of NSW & ACT. I was the first Christian in my Buddhist family. When my daughter was one, God clearly called me to the pastoral ministry. In 2014, my church appointed me as a student pastoral worker, but the training was limited as they held the complementarian view of woman’s leadership. I was convinced that I was mission-focused and pastoral-focused, and this conviction led me to believe that there was a call on my life to be a church planter. In the view of the reformed circle, I couldn’t find my position with my gift and call. So I finally moved to Morling College and to the Baptist church. I saw many women lecturers, and pastors who were encouraging my leadership and vision of call. My leadership as a woman was strengthened. Yet, as an Asian woman, and as an English second language pastor in the English congregation, it was not an easy process for a local church to accept me as a pastor. Especially as I brought a new vision for inter-cultural church. However, through patience, tears, prayers, communication and the support of mentors and friends, I finally got a pastoral role in the church and could gain accreditation. I was a woman, church planting with an Asian and non-Baptist background, facing barriers that could make the journey to accreditation tricky. But I was encouraged and affirmed. I have been patient and faithful to the vision that God gave me, and am grateful and honoured to be part of the Baptist Women who have been accredited.” *
(*excerpt taken from here)
Cheryl Clendinning, Accredited in 1999:
“Whilst studying in the US in the early 90’s, I was invited to consider ordination by members of my faith community. The pathway unfolded which led to me being ordained by the Philadelphia Baptist Association (member of the American Baptists) in 1994. My return to Australia coincided with discussions around the ordination of women. As a person ordained by a member of the Baptist World Alliance, my ordination could now be recognised. My acceptance to be accredited was agreed upon at the 1999 Assembly. At that time I was an Associate Pastor, and greatly appreciated the Baptist Union in my home state recognising the call that I believed God had placed upon my life. I have heard on occasions (usually by ordained men) that having or using the title ‘Rev’ is not important. But as a woman, it has been a significant door opener. Particularly in my role within the Association, as the SRE Consultant, to carry this formal recognition has given that sense of credibility and acknowledgement. The journey as a woman, who strongly has that sense of call from God to be in pastoral leadership, has not always been easy. There is an imbalance. Not many churches seem open to the potential of having a woman in leadership. My hope is to see leaders called into positions of leadership, regardless of gender but rather focused and based on their gifting, training, suitability and desire to serve God.”
(*excerpt taken from here)
Linnah Hahn, Accreditation Candidate:
“The Lord uses us in all stages and manors of life. Having served 30 years as a single American woman in Christian missions, the Lord brought a major shift to my life when he brought my Australian husband Mark and I together. The call continued, now to serve the Lord locally here. My service journey since the mission life, amongst other things, has included coordinating and teaching Primary School SRE locally, Heading up our local Carols, morning service ‘Pastor’, Director of Women2Women, and, currently, Missions & Community Ministry Leader at Hawkesbury Valley Baptist Church. With much prayer, reflection, counsel and then study, I recognized the Lord’s call in my life to serve the local church through pastoral ministry. This May, The Committee for Ministry will be presenting their list of candidates, including yours truly, at the Annual General Meeting. I am looking forward to the further adventures of Christian service the Lord has before us, with the challenges that will undoubtedly bring us closer to Jesus!”
“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”