Triumph over isolation: The Rev. Norma Spear, the only woman minister in the Methodist church in Queensland

Kaye Ronalds, Julia Pitman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The Rev. Dr Norma Spear, who died on 26 November 2017, Christ the King Sunday, at the Wesley Hospital in Brisbane, was, in 1971, the first - and only - woman ordained as a minister in the Methodist Church in Queensland before church union in 1977.1 She was the sixth woman ordained in the Methodist Church of Australasia, which ordained women as ministers from 1969. Congregationalists had ordained women as ministers from 1927 - by 1971 they had ordained eleven - and Presbyterians would do so from 1974. Although Norma received much support from her family, her local church and male ministers, her story reflects the challenges for a woman in responding to a call to ministry in the 1960s and 1970s in Australia. Remarkably, despite the fact that she was the only woman minister in Methodism in Queensland, Norma sustained a long and significant career as a minister and church leader. Her ministry featured passionate preaching, sensitive pastoral care, innovative youth and children's ministry, visionary leadership during periods of change, effective lay training and supervision of field education students, the priority of further study and wise contributions to the councils of the Church. While she was a pioneer and inspiration for women in leadership, her gifts enriched the whole of the Methodist and Uniting Churches in Queensland.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-188
Number of pages16
JournalChurch Heritage
Volume20
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018

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