It’s no problem, at least not for me …
Anne could have said it, but she didn’t. For Anne Zernike (1887-1972), the first ordained Mennonite pastor in the Netherlands (1911) the problem was never that she was a woman and a pastor. From her liberal upbringing the strong belief stemmed that you could be whatever you wanted to be as long as you had the talent required. And talents she certainly had.
Though Anne didn’t think there (or she) was a problem, others did. That has changed since the past century in the Netherlands. Many Mennonite and other denominations have ordained women pastors and these are theologically, socially and culturally widely accepted. However, in other parts of the world that isn’t always the case. So the Anne Zernike Fund was established (2011) in memory of Anne Zernike to support Mennonite and Anabaptist women pastors,
- Acknowledging with an award those congregations that ordain a woman pastor for the first time
- Helping women theology students with a modest additional financial support.
In Africa and Europe awards are already decorating church walls and the Anne Zernike fund has supported women from Central and South America and from India thusfar.
During MWC 2015 the Anne Zernike Fund hopes to hand out a Pioneer Award to a special role model and a workshop will be given entitled ‘Gender challenges in a changing world’. And we proudly present a book with stories by women pastors and theologicy students about the obstacles they face in getting recognition or sometimes even a chance to do voluntary work in their congregation. The book is titled ‘It’s no problem, at least not for me’ and is doubled faced in English and Spanish.