Wisdom, Science and the Scriptures: Essays in Honour of Ernest Lucas
Yes and Amen to the Ministry of Women

There is a line of women

This John Bell hymn has been appearing around facebook today, I think Craig Gardiner was the first to share it. We need more of this kind of hymns/songs in our churches today.

There is a line of women
extending back to Eve
whose role in shaping history
God only could conceive.
And though, through endless ages,
their witness was repressed,
God valued and encouraged them
through whom the world was blessed.
So sing a song of Sarah
to laughter she gave birth;
and sing a song of Tamar
who stood for women's worth;
and sing a song of Hannah
who bargained with her Lord;
and sing a song of Mary
who bore and bred God's Word.

There is a line of women
who took on powerful men
defying laws and scruples
to let life live again.
And though, despite their triumph,
their stories stayed untold
God kept their number growing,
creative, strong and bold.
So sing a song of Shiphrah
with Puah close at hand,
engaged to kill male children,
they foiled the king's command.
And sing a song of Rahab
who sheltered spies and lied;
and sing a song of Esther
preventing genocide.

There is a line of women
who stood by Jesus' side,
who housed him while he ministered
and held him when he died.
And though they claimed he'd risen
their news was deemed suspect
till Jesus stood among them,
his womanly elect.
So sing a song of Anna
who saw Christ's infant face;
and sing a song of Martha
who gave him food and space;
and sing of all the Marys
who heeded his requests,
and now at heaven's banquet
are Jesus' fondest guests.

John L Bell (born 1949) © 2002 WGRG, Iona Community, 4th floor, Savoy House, 140 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow G2 3DH, Scotland

Catriona Gorton (first woman to be a Baptist minister in sole charge in the Baptist Union of Scotland) has penned this excellent extra verse.

There is a line of women
continued down through time
Continuing to persevere
in living for their Lord
And though the church moves slowly
and trips over its feet
Yet still they keep on trusting
God's call upon their lives.
So sing a song for Edith [Gates]*
Who pioneered the way
and sing a song of others
who do the same today
And sing of all the women
who strive to do their best
as people called to serve God
in every time and place

*Edith Gates was the first woman ordained a Baptist minister in England in the 20th Century, back in 1929, and along with a Congregationalist of roughly the same date, one of first two in any tradition in the UK.


Jenny Few

Andy, thank you so much for quoting these lovely words which say it all so eloquently.

Jo Regan

There is a long line of women
numb and full of pain
Wondering if life
will ever be the same
There is along line of women
weeping at the cross
Wondering if you
will mop their tears
and take away their pain.
There is a long line of women
holding hands in unity
waiting for you to do the same.

Thanks Andy.


Jo that is beautiful and poignant.


Thanks for sharing this, Andy. This has not been a good week for women in my church. We have a lot to learn.

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