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Beth Powney


BethPowneyTell us about your call to be a minister?
I was a member of a Baptist Church which did not believe in women becoming ordained or even preaching.

However at the time I worked for a Christian charity, the Director of which was also a Baptist minister.  He invested in me and encouraged me to use my gifts for God and my through this my leadership skills began to develop.  Gradually through challenges from others who I met in the course of my work, through scripture, through words from God and prayers from others, I became convinced that God was calling me to serve his church through ordained pastoral ministry.
 
Were there obstacles that you have had to overcome?

As I shared above, I did not have a supportive sending church as they theologically did not believe women should be ordained.  Therefore the process of testing the calling with my church was very difficult and caused pain both to myself, other women and to the church.

As a result of the church's standpoint, I received no financial support from my church for my college fees.

In my church-based ministry I found the greatest support was from my ecumenical clergy colleagues.  Unfortunately I still found some challenges from my fellow Baptist ministers, while the members of my church were 100% supportive.  In all of this I have sensed God continually saying that I should just stand firm in him and be who he has called me to be in whatever circumstance I find myself.

Unfortunately I still encounter churches across the association where I now serve as a Regional Minister, who do not feel they could have a female minister leading their church.
 
What particular gifts has God given you for the church?
I believe I am particularly gifted in developing and empowering others.  I am passionate about seeing others fulfil the potential of all that God has placed in them.  I am also very keen to bring Jesus' love and revelation of who he is to those who have not yet met him.  Church should be an integral part of the community in which it is serving and I believe I have been used to make this happen.
 
What would you do now to encourage younger women to consider a call to ministry?
I have now become a Regional Minister which places me in a privileged position of influence, which I want to use both sensitively and well.  I want to encourage ministers across of all of our EBA churches to recognise gifts in younger women to lead and to give them early opportunities to experiment, fail, grow and learn.  I would encourage younger women to seek out those whom they respect in the Christian faith to mentor them and to believe that God calls people from all walks of life to serve him in ministry.  I would say to these women, never think ‘it couldn’t be me’, but rather think ‘why not me?’

 
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First black woman to become an accredited Baptist minister in our Union
Team chaplain at Milton Keynes University Hospital
Minister of Portrack Baptist Church, Stockton on Tees
A Regional Minister with the South Wales Baptist Association. She was minister of Chatsworth Baptist Church in West Norwood, London from 1990-2007.
Minister of Stapleton Baptist Church in Bristol
An undergraduate and Minister in Training at Regent’s Park College, Oxford, on placement at New Road Baptist Church
     100 years of women in Baptist ministry 
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