“Lady Father” is on the shelves, so to speak. Actually you can now purchase a copy on Amazon.
Those who know me, know that I have been an Episcopal priest for 33 years and that my journey through the ordination process is legendary in the Diocese of Southern Virginia. I was ordained by a bishop who, for many years, did not believe that women should be in any leadership position in the church – lay or ordained.
I was ordained in a Diocese that elected that bishop on the strength of his opposition to the ordination of women. I was ordained for a church which was struggling with the issue of who should and should not be ordained – well, some things just never change. My experiences as an ordained woman are a mixed bag of satisfying and fulfilling moments as well as agonizing and painful ones. I was adored and hated, extolled and maligned, trusted and questioned at every turn. I was appreciated for my gifts and accepted for my shortcomings by many while my gifts were ignored and my shortcomings were accented and publicly denounced by others. I was yelled at, accused, and castigated for “trying to steal money from the church” because I dared to suggest a reasonable salary package and when I defended my original package from attempts to decrease my benefits.
As I have pondered and assessed these experiences, it is clear to me that I would not have been treated as I was if I had been a man. I was also accepted by many as a priest with no regard to my gender and I know that I made a difference in the lives of many faithful Episcopalians. I continue to hear from people to whom I have ministered over the years, thanking me for my care as their priest. Following my first “sort-of” retirement, I ministered to a tiny group of United Methodists in upstate New York who loved me and treated me like a pastor – period. They never yelled at me, rarely criticized me, and they didn’t complain behind my back (mainly because they just don’t do that but also because I told them that I would leave immediately if they did!). I have been hurt too many times by the “closet complainers” and I am not willing to be the object of such secretive and destructive behavior in the church ever again. I truly found my niche in my semi-retirement and after 12 years with them, I have finally and completely retired. As I have reflected on my ministry, I have discovered a strength that only comes from adversity along with a burning desire to share my experiences with other women (and men!) who may be facing the same or similar treatment as an ordained person or anyone facing discrimination in the church or any place. I want desperately to help anyone who finds themselves the object of such unconscionable treatment to deal with it, rise above it, overcome it, and process it. My negative experiences no longer control my life and I would love to help others come to this point. “Lady Father” relates my experiences in the ordination process and in parish ministry as a woman in a male-dominated field in the 80’s, 90’s, and into the 21st century. I hope you will want to read it and will get your copy from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, IndieBound, and other distributors. I hope you enjoy reading it and also that you will come back here to my blog frequently to read my continuing articles on “things of the faith.”
Please subscribe today and let your friends and relatives know about this sort of wild and crazy woman who has written a great book and has a very cool blog! So, I’ve been busy and continue to be, as you can see. Call me if you need help ordering the book or if you just want to talk. Cell – 518-330-9750; Email – email@example.com. There are other posts in this category – all together tell the story of “Lady Father – The Book”!
Susan Bowman, the “LadyFather” has written a book on her experiences in the ordained ministry. Aptly named “Lady Father,” it has now been re-released and is available on Amazon. com. Register to receive her newsletter and important emails and don’t forget to check out Susan’s Facebook page at http://facebook.com/ladyfather.