Womenin Leadership and Ministry, Jarena Lee
William Andrew described Jerena Lee’s religious experiences todisplay the difficulties women have confronted while advocating forthe end of sexism and racism (William,1986)1.Williams` description appears vivid on account of Lee, who was ablack preacher in the 19th century. Lee was born in 1783in New Jersey from a poverty-stricken family. Due to her parents’impoverishment, they sent her to work as a servant and substitutedher family`s meager earnings. Lee’s humble beginning representedthe end of gender roles. In the past, it was the role of the fatherto meet the needs of the family. Lee began providing for her familyat a tender age of seven years. This paper aims to discuss the roleplayed by women in leadership and ministry.
In the 19thcentury and back, preaching in churches was predominated by men
(Aldridge,2013)2.Women could preach only during communal meetings, camp meetings orbarns in the church. Lee later converted and developed her preachingskills to become an exemplary black woman preacher. She derived greatcourage from a Methodist preacher known Bishop Richard Allen whooften read Psalms and preached in local schools (William,1986). Several factors experienced by human beingsestablish ones’ character for life. Initially, Lee was not adedicated Christian. She was inflicted with a serious illness thatshe attributed to her innumerable sins. In the Bible, God would oftensend plague when people violated His law (Palmer,2012)3.Lee failed to find her peace in Roman Catholic Church that waslocated in Philadelphia and decided to join Methodist Church. Uponrealization of one`s dreams, it is easier to tell when one isdeviating. The organization of Catholic would make it difficult forLee to fulfill her dream. Lee detached herself from the familyreligious life and started attending Methodist Church.
Breaking theestablished traditions enables one to experience liberty. Individualswho question the reason behind existing procedures witness knowledgegrowth. Lee refused to be tied to her childhood church and thoughtsof suicide that had tormented her for a long time vanished. Devotionis prerequisite to the realization of one`s dreams. Lee was scared ofhell and the Devil and strived for sanctification. She was baptizedin 1807, and after a fervent prayer, she receives boundless joy as aresult of sanctification (William,1986)4.Lee`s autobiography represents profound religious devotion hadexisted in the past. As in the case of Lee, after sanctification shehad intense emotions of joys and afterward visions. In the past,Christian converts were close to their preachers and were keen tofollow the established code of conduct in comparison to many ofcurrent Christians. The past Christians were filled with supernaturalpower, visions heartfelt words and songs. Due to Lee`s vehemenceduring preaching, Rev. Richard Allen absorbed her in his Methodistchurch in 1819. She had the authority to address large congregationequality as men.
Dedicated women have often faced hostility and hatred in pursuit totheir dreams. Nevertheless, sincere devotion is difficult to quenchmerely through words. Lee narrated one case where a White mandisapproved her preaching and declared that he doubted if coloredpeople really had souls. However, Lee cast a blind eye to thedifferences that existed between races and conducted on her sermons.She preached more than 78 sermons and traveled approximately 2,325miles (William,1986). Lee was able to achieve her passion forpreaching amidst oppositions due to her gender and color and leadmany people to reputable lives. William’s work on Lee indicates thegrowth of women to leadership in ministries. Women currently facelimited objections to preaching and leadership positions.
Aldridge,Delores P. "Nineteenth-century feminism in the blackchurch." OurLast Hope (2013):239.
WilliamAndrews, L., ed. Sistersof the Spirit: Three Black Women`s Autobiographies of the NineteenthCentury.IndianaUniversity Press, (1986):25-52,
Palmer,Richard. "The Church and plague in medieval and early modernEurope." Studiesin Church History 19(2012): 79-99.
1 William Andrews, L., ed. Sisters of the Spirit: Three Black Women`s Autobiographies of the Nineteenth Century. Indiana University Press, (1986): 25-52,
2 Aldridge, Delores P. "Nineteenth-century feminism in the black church." Our Last Hope (2013): 239.
3 Palmer, Richard. "The Church and plague in medieval and early modern Europe." Studies in Church History 19 (2012): 79-99.
4 William Andrews, L., ed. Sisters of the Spirit: Three Black Women`s Autobiographies of the Nineteenth Century. Indiana University Press, (1986): 25-52,