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Shona Shaw


ShonaShawTell us about your call to be a minister?
I was on maternity leave with my first child and you do a lot of sitting still feeding a baby, in those early months.  I think God took the opportunity to plant the idea in my head during those hours in the night, when I was genuinely able to listen and be still.
 
Were there obstacles that you have had to overcome?
I encounter the same obstacles that the church permits, passively and actively to prevent women from becoming and being ministers.  The obvious ones, like not allowing women to preach, are more straight forward to challenge; the more systemic prejudice is usually more hidden, such as attitudes to women’s responsibilities in the home, in childcare, finances.  What makes it a struggle is the way in which it becomes your responsibility, and not the church’s to remove the obstacles.  For me it is also the extent to which I have internalised these obstacles from being a child in church; it is an on-going struggle.
 
What particular gifts has God given you for the church?
I would have to say the gift of not giving up! And perhaps the ability to see under the surface, to see and hear how things really are.
 
What would you do now to encourage younger women to consider a call to ministry?
Women of all ages are to be encouraged, let’s not make age another obstacle for women to discount themselves.  We are quite capable if we are given the opportunity to be preachers, pastors, prophets, missionaries for our time, it’s just time for the church to trust us as much as Jesus did.

 
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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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