First African-American Woman Ordained by Lancaster Mennonite Conference

Addie BanksAs the first African-American woman ordained by Lancaster Mennonite Conference, Addie Banks received a multicolored prayer mantle that symbolized how God has stitched the tapestry of her life.

Friends and spiritual mentors placed the teal fabric embroidered with blazing red on Banks’ shoulders during her ordination service June 18 at Riverside Church in Manhattan in New York City.

Banks has served in pastoral ministry for 25 years at King of Glory Tabernacle, a Mennonite congregation in the Bronx, and in other ministries within the New York City Council of Mennonite Churches.

The council is a multiracial fellowship of more than 17 congregations affiliated with Lancaster and Atlantic Coast conferences of Mennonite Church USA.

Banks, a member of the MC USA Executive Board, said the milestone on her journey is not as important as honoring the faithful God who led her there.

“Ordination was not an aspiration of mine until I recognized it as a symbol of the legitimization of a call,” Banks said. “Being in ministry is about being led of God and allowing God to form me. I am a servant of God and a co-worker with God, as I walk with God’s people.”

That partnership with God and others became focused in the early 1980s.

She and her husband, Michael, became part of Burnside Mennonite Church, which later became King of Glory. Michael served first as associate pastor and then pastor, while Addie served as an elder. They were named co-pastors in 1992.

Today she serves on the pastoral team at King of Glory as an associate pastor, along with co-pastors Hyacinth and Ben Stevens, her daughter and son-in-law.

The loving stitches of God were evident in Banks’ life long before her church ministry began.

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Source: Laurie Oswald Robinson, Mennonite Weekly Review

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