Antoinette Brown Society receives more than $20,000 in pledges during General Synod
The Antoinette Brown Society, launched during General Synod on Monday, June 29, has secured more than $20,000 in gifts and pledges from inaugural members. The donations kicked off with a lead gift of $5,000 from an anonymous donor, and quadrupled during the ABS launch party attended by nearly 120 people later Monday evening.
“We were so thrilled by the interest,” said the Rev. Elizabeth Dilley, UCC minister for ministers in local churches. “But we feel like this is an important moment in the life of the church to focus on innovative women’s ministry, so I wasn’t really surprised.”
The Society will support female clergy in the denomination in an effort to cultivate the next generation of powerful, innovative women clergy who are “cut from the same cloth as the Rev. Antoinette Brown,” said Dilley. “The purpose of the ABS is to multiply women’s innovative leadership in church and society through creating opportunities for UCC clergywomen to collaborate and share wisdom for transformative leadership.”
The Society is open to anyone, not just women, who wants to help grow women’s ministry. Dilley said the funds will be used to create opportunities for UCC clergy women to get together, engage and share wisdom, including the first ABS conference taking place in April 2016. The gathering will take place every two years, during non-Synod years, and previous Antoinette Brown Award winners will be invited to give the keynote address.
The Rev. Sharon Ellis Davis, founding pastor of God Can Ministries UCC in Chicago, and the Rev. Traci Blackmon, the minister of Christ the King UCC in Florissant, Mo., were honored as the “trailblazers” in women’s ministry, and RevGalBlogPals, was recognized as the “catalyst” this biennium. UCC minister the Rev. Martha Spong, RevGalBlogPals director, accepted the award on behalf of the group.
The Antoinette Brown Awards returned to General Synod this year after a four-year hiatus.
“Twenty more people have contacted me today interested in joining the Society,” Dilley said. “I expected this to be a big moment for us.”
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