Durham congregation celebrates achievement

September 21, 2008 2:21:09 PM PDT
A female preacher is featured in a Christian magazine, but not everyone is okay with the article.In fact, one store is pulling the magazine off its shelves.

There was a joyful noise Sunday morning at the River Church. The pastor, Sheryl Brady, is on the cover of Gospel Today Magazine that features women preachers.

But you won't find it displayed in Lifeway Christian bookstores.

"We got an anonymous e-mail that told us, 'Hey, I don't think you know this, but they've yanked your magazine and put it behind the counter as though it were pornography.' And it was amazing to us, shocking," Gospel Today Publisher Teresa Hairston said.

That is because women as leaders make headlines.

"Hillary Clinton can put 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling politically, or Sarah Palin can be chosen as a vice presidential candidate, and yet there are certain denominations that think we can't run the local church." River Pastor Sheryl Brady said.

The Southern Baptist Convention owns the stores.

A spokesman told the Atlanta Journal Constitiution--showing women as pastors "is contrary to what we believe."

"Definitely not what I expected," Hairston said. "We were just trying to tell a very positive story, about a trend emerging around the country of women as pastors, leading their churches, changing the community."

Now the dispute over where the bookstores are displaying the magazine could become a legal one, because lawyers might get involved.

Because if the store's action really slows down magazine sales, "we either take the loss, or try to do something legal, you know they have the right to their opinion. They own the stores," Hairston said.

But, Pastor Brady says they could change their minds.

"I challenge them not to allow tradition to just say, 'Well, my grandfather didn't believe in women preachers but I guess I'm not going to do that either. Too many people do that," Brady said.


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