A Girl In A Boy’s World: An Interview with Pastor Heather Cook
Throughout history women have been looked down upon and seen less capable and not as good as the male species. Problems with the equal rights of women have occurred in voting, in the workforce, and even the church community of Seventh-Day Adventists. The World Church of Seventh-Day Adventists, and the churches that abide by their rules, refuse to ordain women as pastors. Due to tradition and the idea of male dominance it is debatable as to whether women like; Ellen G. White can be considered prophets.
No exceptions had been made to tradition of not allowing female pastors, until the College Church, in Lancaster, MA, hired a female assistant pastor. Although she is not ordained, she preaches and does a lot of secondary pastor work. Recently The SLA Pioneer sat down with the assistant pastor of the College Church, Pastor Heather Cook, to see what it’s like being a part of history in the making and the trials that come with it.
1. What interested you into becoming a pastor?
“It’s kind of long story, but I will give you a summarized version. As a kid we had a really good youth pastor that was inspiring. Unfortunately, he lost his way and all of his good turned bad. It affected a great deal, and I started to think that if someone can cause so much damage and make such an impact, in such a short amount of time, then imagine all of the good that could be done. Also, mentally it was as if I were going back in history and correcting his wrong and finishing where he left off with his good.”
2. Name some examples of how your treated when people, including Seventh-Day Adventists, find out about your profession.
“Well, Adventists are always very shocked and usually not too pleased with my answer. Those who aren’t Adventists, like someone I would meet on an airplane are also shocked, but excited and ask questions, and are just generally receptive.”
3. What hopes do you have for the church regarding female pastors?
“Whether they give us an official title is okay with me, as long as they allow us to do our jobs. It would be nice for them to ordain us, because I think it would make a difference, but all in all I just want to do my job.”
4. What strengths do you believe women bring that guys don’t?
“I think with female pastors a whole new world is opened up. A whole new ministry is opened up. Females can lead out and do ministries that guys can’t because it would be inappropriate. For example, a ministry to young girls, is out of the picture for males, but a female could. Also the typical stereotypes that women are more caring and nurturing, is another benefit of having women in such a position.
5. How does your family accept it?
“Actually, in 1995 there was a huge board that ruled again ordaining women as pastors, and my father was on the board and he was one of the people that had a very strong opinion against it. My parents love me, and the work I do for God, but just don’t think I should be a legitimate pastor. If I ever were ordained, most likely neither of my parents would show up, but that is okay,”
6. Overall, is it worth it?
“Completely. I love what I do, especially since it is for God. I feel like this is what I am meant to do. I have reached so many kids, and even just reaching one would be worth all of the stuff I have been through.”
Perhaps one day all women who want to be ordained will be able to do so as easily as men. For now though we have to be patient like Pastor Heather. In other things in life we can follow her footsteps in pursuing all our dreams by pushing forward in fulfilling our passion, even if everyone is opposed to it. In the Bible, in the book of Joshua, we learn about Joshua, who’s job from God was to knock down a city’s wall by marching around it with his army for a week. To everyone else, and especially Joshua, the task seemed impossible and unlikely. Fortunately, with the help of God, by the last day they marched around the wall seven times, and with a loud roar from everyone the walls came tumbling down.
In life we will always face tasks that seem impossible, and have dreams that people crush. If we have God and have the desire to chase our dreams, during the race we will find that the obstacles blocking us from our dreams aren’t that big and are easy to conquer. Pastor Heather may not realize this, but she is making a difference for the dreams of many females, and setting an example for other dreams that wish to be accomplished.
Posted on April 17, 2013, in Spiritual Life, Top Stories and tagged Adventism, College Church, Ellen G. White, God, Pastor, Seventh-Day Adventist, Seventh-day Adventist Church, women's ordination. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.