As denominations continue to support women in ordained ministry, some churches are beginning to witness-and support-single mothers in ministry:
“There’s nothing that points up the traditional conflicts that religious groups have put forward between ordination and womanhood than motherhood,” said Ann D. Braude, director of the Women’s Studies in Religion Program at Harvard Divinity School.
But even in houses of worship that have accepted women in the pulpit, an unwed mother can still unsettle the pews. “Traditionally, motherhood by Christians and others was viewed as a vocation, and you can only have one vocation: You could have the ministry or motherhood as a vocation, but not both,” Braude said.
While their numbers are few — and no one is keeping count — some female clergy are concluding that their congregations can handle their choice. “These women are putting forward the possibility that not only can you have a vocation to ministry and a vocation to motherhood, but that marriage is not necessarily a part of that,” Braude said.
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