By Brenda J. Phillips, 4th Episcopal District
Psalm 150:6 says, “Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!” It is motivation for everything and everyone.
On August 18, 2019, the Bethel AME Church family in Evanston, Illinois, along with other Chicago Conference churches, came together under the 2019 Women’s Day theme, “Celebrating the Trailblazers, Designed, Defined, and Destined for a Purpose.” This celebration honored four special women in the Chicago Conference. They included the following retired pastors: the Rev. Dr. Anne Barton, the Rev. Annie R. Brooks, the Rev. Dr. Ida V. James, and the Rev. Dr. Esther Bernice James Mitchell. These amazing women answered a Divine call to work, build, strengthen, support, teach, preach, overcome, endure, birth, bury, and accelerate, all to give praise, glory, and honor to our Risen Savior and building His Kingdom.
According to Bethel’s pastor, the Rev. Rosalind K. Shorter Henderson, “When we consider all the work that these women have put into building the Kingdom of God, we definitely see His blessing of grace that allowed them to accomplish much in a world where women were expected to take a back seat. Their example of godly womanhood, leadership, and love as a pastor paints a stunning backdrop for other women pastors across the African Methodist Episcopal Connectional Church and the nation.”
The afternoon service recalled a steady stream of images and memories of their spiritual and temporal journey, each portraying an aspect of God’s unfailing grace and mercy in the lives of these phenomenal women. Among the many accomplishments noted in their biographies, the Rev. Dr. Barton was the first woman recommended to the Chicago Annual Conference from the official board and quarterly conference of Carey Temple AME Church for ministerial orders.
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Source: The Christian Recorder