Right now, the RMC is quietly and radically making history.
For the first time in the Rocky Mountain Conference, both of our Conference Ministers—Rev. Sue Artt (CM) and Rev. Erin Gilmore (ACM)—are women.
Further, all but one church in the Southeastern Association are led by female pastors.
This isn’t an isolated trend, either: As of November 2018, the majority of both Intermountain and Western Association churches are led by women. Meanwhile, Metropolitan Denver and Platte Valley have a ratio of about 50/50.
Rev. Heather Haginduff (Lead Pastor of First Congregational UCC in Colorado Springs) pointed this out to a group of us at Annual Celebration in June. Even now, six months later, it remains a fascinating and thrilling development to reflect on.
It’s critical to note that the abundance of strong female leaders within the Conference isn’t anything new. Still, this concentration of female Lead Pastors in the Southeastern Association feels powerful, meaningful, and remarkable.
It’s also inspiring to see that, as we’ve emerged as leaders of female empowerment in the United Church of Christ, there’s been nary a trace of fanfare or self-congratulation from the churches and clergy actually achieving these milestones. They’d almost certainly tell you that they’re too busy with their ministry to have given it much thought.
Our female leadership phenomenon was not planned, but I believe that it IS intentional. As church members, we have purposefully called these women to lead us into the future of our church. In doing so, we have also asserted our dire need for their wisdom and perspective—which, in 2018, feels more urgent than ever.
The extraordinary female Lead Pastors of the Southeastern Association are:
- Rev. Clare Twomey — Vista Grande Community Church (Colorado Springs, CO)
- Rev. Heather Haginduff — First Congregational UCC (Colorado Springs, CO)
- Rev. Marta Fioriti — Black Forest Community Church (Black Forest, CO)
- Rev. Anne Cubbage — Broadmoor Community Church (Colorado Springs, CO)
- Rev. Gaye Bosley-Mitchell — Community Congregational Church (Manitou Springs, CO)
- Rev. Diane Martin — Church in the Wildwood (Green Mountain Falls, CO)
- Rev. Rebecca Kemper-Poos — Congregational UCC (Buena Vista, CO)
- Rev. Sarah B. Linn — Creede Community Church (Creede, CO)
- Rev. Tracey Dawson — UCC Parker Hilltop (Parker, CO)
We must also say that, while Christ Congregational Church in Pueblo is lay-lead, it is done so by Moderator (and amazing woman) Sandy Taylor, in democratic collaboration with other amazing women and men of the church.