Bishop Ward discusses the book “Mothers in Israel” with author and pastor, Donna Fowler-Marchant.
Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ.
March is Women’s History Month and it’s a delight to speak with Donna Fowler-Marchant, a clergy member of the North Carolina Annual Conference. Donna is a pastor and a historian and she has written a wonderful book called “Mothers in Israel.” It’s her hope that we will learn not just about these women but from them. Donna, thank you for your work. Tell us about it.
Rev. Donna Fowler-Marchant:
Thank you, Bishop. It’s a delight to be here for Women’s History Month with the people of the North Carolina Annual Conference. I became interested in the women of early Methodism when I was in seminary at Duke Divinity School, but I never really thought I would be writing a book about them. After a Wesley Pilgrimage in 2016 and doing research in 2017 in England, things just started coming together and I began to write this book and I finished it during the first part of the pandemic and here it is, “Mothers in Israel – Methodist Beginnings Through The Eyes Of Women.” I did want people to learn from these women and not just about them.
I’m especially interested in Mary Bethune Fletcher who was a remarkable woman. She was one of the very first who preached and had Wesley’s ear and had his approval and one of the things I love about her is that she had this sort of independence of conscious that made her absolutely devoted to God. She was going to do what the Spirit led her to do even if it looked strange, even if she got called an impudent woman which she did and I love that she took one of Mr. Wesley’s phrases and made it her own because she said, “As to reproach thrown by some on me, what have I to do with it but quietly go forward saying I will be still more vile if my Lord requires it.” I think that’s a wonderful kind of metaphor for all of us that when we are embarking on our ministries that it may look impudent, it may look strange, it may be something that we get reproach thrown at us about but if the Lord requires us to be more vile, we will still go forward and do it. And I think that’s a take-a-way from, hopefully from the book and an example of the ministries in the lives of these women.
Thank you, Donna. Donna led a webinar several months ago on her research. It’s available to you. I invite you, along with me, to read and learn from these women during the month of March.
Christ be with you today and always.