“February is BWIM Month of Preaching? What it that?” they asked.
And so I told them. Each February, Baptist Women in Ministry celebrates and honors women preachers by intentionally providing a space for them to preach.
“Oh,” they said. “We could do that.”
And so they did.
Our church, First Baptist Church of Danville, Virginia, is in a time of transition. We are in that time between when a senior pastor leaves and an interim pastor arrives. It is a time filled with pulpit supply and creative flexibility. In our church, the pastor search team is responsible for filling the pulpit during this time. The team took the suggestion to invite a woman pastor seriously. There were four Sundays in February, so they invited four women to preach. We had a BWIM MONTH of Preaching.
I began the month and was the first preacher. I reminded us to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly. The next Sunday Dr. Kelly Grooms led us in worship, celebrating God’s continued creativity in through the arts of music and hymn writing. On the third Sunday, Rev. Ka’thy Gore Chappell invited us to pay attention to the “highest ideal for living” as found in the Sermon on the Mount, and on the final Sunday of the month, Rev. Tracey Allred reminded us that, although our circumstances may change, God’s love and care remain forever.
The people of FBC heard four distinctive sermons from four talented women with four different styles of delivery. They heard God speaking through each one of us.
We are not the first women to occupy the pulpit at First Baptist, but hearing four women preach on four consecutive Sundays is a new thing. And it is a new thing that was well received. If this new, well-received thing could happen in this regular old church in Southside Virginia, who knows what the future may hold? The possibilities look promising indeed!
Angela Zimmerman is minister of music and associate pastor at First Baptist Church, Danville, Virginia.
Preachers pictured left to right: Angela Zimmerman, Kelly Grooms, Ka’thy Gore Chappell, Tracey Allred