Sharon Rader

As Interviewed by Zimm Davis, March 11, 2015

Sharon Rader: In Her Own Words

There was not any possibility that, that women could be pastors in the church when I was growing up, and frankly at that point in time I didn’t have any nudge that that was even something I wanted to do, I’d never seen a woman preach, I’d never you know, any of that kind of stuff because it wasn’t permitted in our church so, in our denomination I mean (coughs) and so, it wasn’t until, the 1970’s that I began to think gosh, maybe there’s something I could offer in the church and, I had been doing other church kind of related things, I mean I organized educational programs for children in the church and I had written curriculum for children in our denomination and so on. So I had been doing those kinds of things and it was alright for a woman to be involved in educational kinds of things but it was not alright for a woman to be a pastor.

In 1956 the denomination decided after a long struggle that maybe women could be ordained and could be pastors and so by the 70’s there were a few more women who were beginning to think maybe that was what they were supposed to do and we had a pastor who said to me and this was in the early 1970’s we were gonna move and this pastor said to me “You know Sharon,have you ever thought about just doing church work full-time? You're kinda schizophrenic the way you’re organizing your life you know, you’re trying to be a good wife and a good mother and you’re trying to be a good school teacher because that’s what I was, a schoolteacher, and elementary school teacher and you’re doing lots of other things and maybe if you were doing church work full-time why that would be, that would be good for you.” and that’s helped me kind of nudging that I really needed to look at what I was going to do next with my life and so your grandfather and I talked about that and he said “Well if you’re going to do church work full-time you’ve obviously been doing it just as a layperson but maybe you could do it better if you were trained theologically and so on” so I decided I would go to seminary and when I went to seminary or theological school, I started thinking that what I would be trained to was to be a christian education person and I got to seminary and it just seemed clear to me that the way that God would want me act and be and do was to be a pastor.