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Mighty Like a RiverThe Black Church and Social Reform$
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Andrew Billingsley

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780195161793

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195161793.001.0001

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Often Seen, Seldom Called: The Legacy of Jerena Lee

Often Seen, Seldom Called: The Legacy of Jerena Lee

(p.132) 11 Often Seen, Seldom Called: The Legacy of Jerena Lee
Mighty Like a River

Andrew Billingsley

Oxford University Press

The number of black women pastors is so small — less than 10% in the mainline denominations. So black women can be truly said to be often seen in the pews but seldom called to the pulpit. The struggle of black women for the priesthood today is still reflective of the legacy of the legendary Jerena Lee, first black woman ordained to the ministry. This chapter specifically discusses the story of Jerena Lee. After Jerena Lee, the doctrinal, intellectual and social rationale that prevented black women from being fully accepted in the ministry was swept away. In general, the task would seem to be for black men and women to see their common predicament more clearly, to cling to each other more dearly and to fight the common foe more fiercely together.

Keywords:   Jerena Lee, black women, ministry, priesthood, pastors

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