Quakers and Women in Ministry

The Quaker testimony on equality began in worship, and it began with the experience that women were called by the Spirit of God to speak in the ministry.

Jon Watts

Jon Watts launched and directed the QuakerSpeak project for its first 6 seasons. Keep up to date with Jon’s work at his website.

8 thoughts on “Quakers and Women in Ministry

  1. Is it possible to have these videos translated into Spanish? I was thinking maybe having just the words at the bottom in Spanish. I know of a woman pastor in Bolivia that would really enjoy and use this video in her ministry.

  2. Kristen,
    If you want a spanish translation to the transcript you can get one in about a minute by visiting this website: http://www.spanishdict.com/translation
    and pasting the english transcript from the website. You could then email the link with the spanish transcript to your friend.
    Amazing what is possible in this electronic age.
    In faith and friendship,

  3. Women as ministers was a revolutionary idea because it placed women in leadership roles. Beginning with Margaret Fell, continuing with Mary Dyer who was hung largely because of her sex in Boston and her Quaker ministry, I think this is what made the Quaker faith different in the mid-1600’s. These women did meet Quaker resistence, but it failed. It paved the way for Quaker women, like Lucretia Mott, who gained experience in chairing the women’s meeting for business and later as a national figure for the abolition of slaves. Thank you for the wonderful video.

  4. Thanks so much, Jon and Friends Journal and your guests and all working with you, for bringing this series. Each week is a delightful new surprise, and I can feel you working hard and faithfully. The video production is great, the editing is tight and well-focussed, the themes are important and contemporary. Am I excited? You bet!

    I particularly value that you are showing that this particular social testimony-to-the-world is based on something other than Enlightenment doctrines about “the Rights of Man [sic!]” and democratic theory. I feel disappointed when our attempts to explain our views and experience do NOT start with the transformative, underlying, religious experience on which all else is premised and from which our Testimonies flow, as “fruits” and not “roots.” God—the Spirit of the Living Christ, the work of the Divine Light in our souls —must always be our starting place if we’re not to come across as yet another Good Cause or point on the political landscapte.

    I’m as interested in “Rights” as the next Quaker or political activist, and have amassed a number of credits on that score which it would be unseemly to try to list here. Standing with and standing up for those who have been denied their Human Rights based on any number of arbitrary factors is important work, and can indeed flow from our religious commitments. The problems I’ve had in Quaker circles (particularly in my own self-styled “Liberal” branch) is when we convey only a secularized version, or basically a left-wing political program with a “spiritual”-sounding gloss.

    These videos, however, I want to repeat have in my view hit the right note and will go a long ways toward our continuing to be “Publishers of Truth.”

    Gratefully, —DHF

  5. I, too, am very grateful for the hard work and faithfulness that is so evident in these video recordings. And I appreciated the contributions made by each woman who was interviewed in this one. This discussion on the little known historic role of women in Quaker ministry and its connection with the women’s suffrage movement is very important today! And to know that those 17th c. men vehemently defended women as being equally able to speak truth in the Spirit! A quotation by Fox in this regard so excited me the first time I read it, that I chose it as one I had to put to song. A couple of years ago, a local Catholic lay leader who’d heard the recording of it, asked me to sing it throughout the day at their retreat, the culminating event of a year of study to do with women in Christianity. As someone who left my Catholic roots in large part because of the policy on women, I was thrilled to share these words: “And may not the Spirit of Christ speak in the female, as well as in the male? Who is it that dare limit the holy one of Israel? For the light is the same in the male and in the female, and it cometh from Christ… And who is it that dare stop Christ’s mouth?” — George Fox, 1656

  6. Kristen & Walter,

    While it is quite helpful to be able to take an English transcript and have it nearly instantly rendered in Spanish, I can see how having Spanish or other languages translated as phrase-by-phrase text on the screen would help to connect the speaker on the screen to the words they are speaking. It could be a more powerful experience for the viewer. My intent here is to share in what I suspect was Kristen’s intent in her request.

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