This evening, Pam and I were watching “Who Do You Think You Are?” featuring Helen Hunt. This was a great show, because in it Helen finds out about her great-great grandmother who was a leader in the WCTU (Women’s Christian Temperance Union.) At first Helen approached this part of her genealogy with trepidation, but as the layers were pulled back, she became aware of the great things her great-great grandmother did through the work of the WCTU. Her thoughts were initially that the WCTU was a judgmental organisation. Again she discovered that in the 1800’s alcohol was the source of physical and sexual abuse. This is what the WCTU fought against. In addition, the WCTU fought for voting rights for women, education, and other important social issues.
Toward the end of the segment they talked about how instrumental Helen’s great-great grandmother was in women getting the right to vote in 1920. One of the things that I love about our denomination is that we fought for many basic human rights back in the 1800’s – slavery, basic rights for women, taking care of the widows and orphans and so on. I’m glad to see that we are doing some of these things again through organizations like World Hope International, Hephzibah Ministries and Wesleyan Native Ministries and others.
As I watched that segment this thought came to me. In the Wesleyan Methodist and Pilgrim Holiness Churches, women were able to preach before they had the right to vote. Many look at our stance at women in the ministry and think we’ve come to this late in the game, when in reality, Wesleyans were one of the first to ordain women. Some may ask why we ordain women. Isn’t that against the Bible? Let me close with two links