We celebrate Women’s History Month by sharing an inspiring story from our Graduate Residency Program.

Stacie’s journey is a powerful testament to the unique contributions and perspectives that women bring to ministry. She is the Children and Family Life Pastor at Cathedral of the Rockies – Boise First United Methodist Church in Boise, Idaho.

What challenges have you faced as a woman working in ministry?

As a female pastor in the Wesleyan tradition I have often found that while at times it can be difficult to find a seat at the table where decisions are being made, that has not been one of the greatest hurdles. The difficulty lies in what we do with the wildly gifted and called women in our midst once they have a seat at the table. Any church can be proud that they have female clergy, but it is something else entirely to lift their voices to be decision makers, key note preachers, and regularly seen and heard preachers of the Word. If the Church truly believes that women are gifted for the ministries of the Church then we need to be proactive in carving out spaces for them where they are not forced to choose between having a family and being a pastor (if that is a path they choose to take). We need to change our structures and systems in our churches to be hospitable to women. Creating paid maternity policies in our guidebooks (and not just on a case to case basis) is a great place to begin. Standardizing pay practices based on education and experience is another great practice to ensure equity.

What unique strengths do you bring to ministry?

God has gifted me with a compassionate and creative heart. I thrive in a team ministry environment, and I am thankful for the ways that I am able to grow ideas from seeds other people have planted.

What makes you feel supported and empowered in your role?

The pastors and leaders that have empowered me most are the ones who are aware of the privileges they carry and serve with such humility that they are always looking to give that power away. They recognize that many of the systems in our churches have not been built with women in mind. They seek to make sure that they themselves are healed from their past traumas in order that they can pour into the lives of so many others, including my own. We need to take care of our own hearts before we can care for others. Some of the most powerful moments in ministry for me so far have been when I have been in conversations where the self awareness of other leaders was so strong that they chose to spend more time listening and giving space for other voices to be heard than their own. Their awareness that because of their gender some might more easily gravitate towards them as being the voice of authority is huge. Some of my most empowering moments have come from others choosing to give me the floor even though that position could have easily been them.

How has CYMT helped you fulfill your call to ministry?

You mean my MRS degree? Just kidding. Although if it were not for CYMT, I never would have met my husband. So… thanks? Ha! We are celebrating 10 years this year and our hearts are so full. We also now have two beautiful little girls. Receiving a Master’s Degree in Youth Ministry through my time in CYMT was such a gift. It allowed me to obtain a Master’s Degree without going into debt, as well as to gain incredible experiences through conferences and classes on the cutting edge of Youth Ministry research and development.