[Original Article: Nora E. Young and Sallie Crenshaw]
Nora E. Young, dates unknown
First African American women, along with Sallie Crenshaw, to receive full-clergy rights.
Nora E. Young, like Sallie Crenshaw, served several years as a lay pastor in the East Tennessee Conference of the MC when women were not permitted to become full conference members. Her first appointment was in 1949, when she became the pastor of three churches in the West Virginia section of the conference. When she and Sallie Crenshaw were received into full connection in the East Tennessee Conference in 1958, they became the first women in the Central Jurisdiction, in the Holston Conference, and in all of the Southeastern Jurisdiction to be received into full connection.
All of Nora’s pastoral appointments were in West Virginia–the last one at St. Luke Methodist Church in War, West Virginia, until 1961. Little more is known of Nora Young as her ministry was discontinued in 1964.
[Original Article: Maud Jensen]
Maud Jensen, 1904-1998
The First Woman to Receive Full Clergy Rights and Conference Membership in the Methodist Church – 1956
In 1956 the General Conference granted full clergy rights to women by voting that they could be admitted into full ministerial membership in Methodist Annual Conferences. On May 18, within a month of this action, Ms. Maud K. Jensen, a missionary to Korea, became the first woman to be admitted into full conference membership in the Central Pennsylvania Conference. She was admitted on trial, in absentia, as she was in Korea at the time. She spent forty years in Korea as a full-time and retired missionary.
A native of New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, Jensen was drawn to missionary work while a student at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. After graduating in 1926, she was sent to Korea by the Methodist Episcopal Church. She had met her future husband, A. Kristian Jensen, when they were both missionary candidates, and they married in 1928. By 1946 Jensen earned a Bachelor of Divinity degree from the seminary at Drew University. Her education at Drew continued in her later life when she completed a Ph.D. at the age of seventy-four. Drew also conferred upon Jensen an honorary doctorate and an outstanding alumni award.
During the Korean War, her husband Reverend A. Kristian Jensen, was a prisoner of the Communists from 1950-1953. The couple resumed service in Korea in September, 1954, and Mrs. Jensen taught at the Methodist Theological Seminary. Jensen was honored twice by the Korean government for her contribution to social welfare work in that country.
Upon finding herself the first full-fledged female minister in The Methodist Church, Mrs. Jensen cabled:
“I am deeply grateful for the privilege, but the honor was completely unexpected and due entirely to the early meeting of my Annual Conference. I feel that Georgia Harkness and other active women ministers deserve first recognition after their long struggle and able contributions to the church. I am praying for wisdom and spiritual development.”
[Original Article: Francis Asbury]
Francis Asbury, 1745-1816
The founding Bishop of the Methodist Church in America was born in England. Sent by John Wesley as a missionary to America in 1771, he promoted the circuit rider system which proved so eminently suited to frontier conditions. His powerful preaching, his skill in winning converts, and his mastery of organization had, by the end of the Revolution, established him as the undisputed leader of American Methodism.
Wesley and Asbury agreed that the Methodists in America should be organized into an independent Church. Thus in 1784 John Wesley ordained two lay preachers as pastors and Thomas Coke as Bishop and sent them to America. The American preachers gathered at Christmas time 1784 in Baltimore to implement the plan. A dozen preachers were ordained, Coke was accepted as Bishop, and Asbury was elected and consecrated to the same office.
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