Called Not of Men but of God

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“Some are pastors and evangelists, licensed preachers and deaconesses, missionaries and teachers from our education institutions . . . women with holy hearts, self-sacrificing spirits, shining faces, tearful testimonies, and a vision, born of God, for this great work fulling their souls. One of the remarkable developments of the holiness movement has been the bringing to the front the woman hood of the various denominations of this and other lands.” So wrote Martha Curry, herself an ordained Nazarene elder, in a Herald of Holiness article of 1919 on “The Women of the Fifth General Assembly.”

 

Nine years later, at Columbus, Ohio, the female preachers of the Eighth General Assembly gathered for a group portrait. Seated front and center is snowy-haired Mary Lee Cagle, pioneer Nazarene preacher in the South and Southwest, a builder of home mission churches and districts, and often elected district evangelist. Seated to her right is Rev. E. J. Sheeks, ordained with Mary Cagle in 1897 by the New Testament Church of Christ, a pre-Nazarene body. After 30 years as evangelist, pastor, and rescue work promoter, Rev. Mrs. Sheeks had earned a theology degree from Sterling College (Presbyterian) and settled into the final phase of her career—professor of theology, church history, and, missions at Bresee College, Hutchinson, Kans. There is Santos Elizondo (second row, fourth from the right), converted in California through the preaching of Maye McReynolds. Rev. Elizondo organized Nazarene work in Juarez, Mexico, in 1907 and established an orphanage there in 1921. Enduring bitter opposition in the early years of her ministry, her funeral in 1941 was attended by representatives of government and the Catholic church.

 

They came from every section of the country and represented experience in every section of the world—each woman with her unique history, each life consecrated to the faith—women preachers of the 1928 General Assembly

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