"Let no one despise you..." 1 Timothy 4:12
This Sunday we will consider the story of the first woman deacon in the church. It's a rather funny fact that the church took so long to ordain women and that there are still many churches that don't. I say "funny" because of our own Christian history. There is no church in existence today without women leaders, Methodism especially.
One of the great stories of early American Methodists involved a woman named Barbara Heck. She emigrated from Ireland to New York with her family in the mid-to-late 1700s. In Ireland she was converted under the preaching of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. In America the religious fervor in her community cooled off as other "interests" arose. Philip Embury had been a local pastor in Ireland. One day Mrs. Heck went into a room where Embury and others were playing cards and drinking. She threw the cards into the fire and said, "All these men are going to perish, and their blood will be on your hands Mr. Embury if you don't start preaching!"
Well that startling directive launched a spiritual revival. Barbara Heck was a leading figure in it (no surprise!). She even had slaves joining the services as equals forming a multi-racial community. They eventually built a church, John Street Methodist, one of the first in American Methodism.
Think about all the social barriers and customs being crossed in that congregation, all because a woman took action and followed what was on her heart. She could have said, "Well it's not my place." "They'll never listen to me." "Who am I to say?" No, she felt a conviction from God and helped launch the movement of Methodism in America.
What might God be waiting to launch through you?
See you Sunday,