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Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) celebrates Women’s History Month

Church invites congregations to honor women on Celebrate the Gifts of Women Sunday

by Gail Strange | Presbyterian News Service

The Rev. Dr. Betty Tom will preach during a special online worship service March 10 celebrating the gifts of women. (Photo courtesy of Old First Presbyterian Church in Newark, New Jersey)

LOUISVILLE — March marks Women’s History Month, and on Sunday, March 7, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) invites congregations to honor women who work for transformative change and seek to end poverty and injustice on Celebrate the Gifts of Women Sunday.

Though the gifts of women are being formally celebrated on Sunday, congregations and women’s groups may use the resource on any day they choose.

“The theme for this year’s event is ‘God Disrupts Us with Love,’” said Jewel McRae, Coordinator for Women’s Leadership Development and Young Women’s Ministries. “Racial Equity & Women’s Intercultural Ministries is pleased to work in collaboration once again with Presbyterian Women Inc. in celebration of this special time.”

Created by Jennifer L. Lord, the resource is based on Matthew 25:35-36. The resource is available in English and Spanish and includes a worship service guide as well as art for a bulletin cover.

A special online worship service featuring the Rev. Dr. Betty Tom is set for 9 a.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, March 10. Tom is the transitional pastor at Old First Presbyterian Church in Newark, New Jersey. Individuals may join the service via the Racial Equity & Women’s Intercultural Ministries Facebook page.

Tom, formerly a teacher and school counselor in the Indianapolis Public Schools and Warren Township School districts for 22 years, holds a Doctor of Ministry from McCormick Theological Seminary (2013); a Master of Divinity from Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis (2003); a Master of Science degree in Education from Butler University in Indianapolis (1986); and a Bachelor of Science degree from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana (1978).

She was pastor at Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis for 10 years before receiving the call to be the pastor and head of staff of First Presbyterian Church in Mount Vernon, New York, which she served from 2011-18.

Tom has a love for prayer, praise, worship and the study of God’s word. Advocacy for those whose voices have been muted and training and equipping others for the work and mission of ministry are the benchmarks of her ministry. A Bible verse that describes Tom’s ministry is Colossians 3:17, “And whatever you do in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

A lifelong learner, social justice advocate, spiritual teacher and leader, Tom is an active member of the National Association of Presbyterian Clergywomen and serves on the Advisory Board for the Presbyterian Hunger Program.

Old First Church has a rich treasure of authentic records which help declare that it is “the Church that founded Newark.” The church was once the seat of government for Newark, producing pastors that served as the first presidents of Princeton, Harvard, and Yale universities. In addition, it was one of the churches that helped found Princeton University.

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