Breaking Molds in Big and Small Ways
When my husband and I entered a career in ministry thirty-two years ago, there was never a question that it would be both of us. We have worked in partnership with one another and were ordained together. Most of our work has been overseas so it was not until we returned to the States almost twelve years ago that I realized how many more women are entering the ministry and leading congregations. I was thrilled. Being stateside meant I had many more opportunities to preach. I confess that more often than not I preferred not to wear a robe and to use the pulpit microphone instead of the lavalier microphone often offered. The robes were for the most part big and bulky and I am a small person. It's not a good look on me; I felt swallowed up. Not to mention they were hot! I also felt uncomfortable with someone (often a man) messing with my skirt or shirt to attach a lavalier microphone. So I wore my own clothes and used the pulpit mic.
When Threads by Nomad had the opportunity to design and create clergy robes, I knew exactly where we needed to take this. We sought an easy, comfortable fit without the customary bulkiness. We wanted women in religious leadership to embrace their femininity and their role as clergy leading congregations. I was simply going to suggest to the robes' new wearers that they put the lavalier mic in the side pocket, but it was Rev. Amy Grizzle Kane who thought of the hidden pocket on the inside at the back. At this past summer's Threads pop up at the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship's General Assembly, the pockets were a smash hit! In fact, the robes themselves were such a hit that they spurred conversations which led to our upcoming participation in the 2018 Nevertheless She Preached conference next week. (If you're in or near Waco, let us know. We would love to see you!)
We are elated the popularity of our robes has transcended religions, too! A friend of mine who is a priestess in an Eastern religion saw our robe advertised online and wanted one for herself! We had to adapt the design to meet the requirements of her religion, but we kept the comfortable, feminine look and the pockets! In her faith, they do not normally wear stoles, but she decided to break the mold and allowed us to create one for her!
Women clergy have been breaking molds for generations. I have learned so much from and been so humbled by my women clergy friends. It is an honor to create for them and to bless them with a beautiful robe as they work and lead. Our hope and prayer is that each woman who robes with one of our creations senses the pleasure, anointing, and power of God as she leads.