Celebrating Clergy Women Making a Difference

By Toska Medlock Lee

March is National Women’s History Month.  It’s a special appointed time set aside to highlight the accomplishments, achievements and acumen of women from across the globe.  It is a time to remind the world and one another that we are gifted, gracious and groundbreaking in ways that uplifts our families, communities and one another.


For centuries, women have made contributions that have literally changed the world.  From a variety of reform movements to setting slaves free – we have witnessed the bravery and benevolence of women.


Southern Dallas Magazine recognizes that there is a space where women have made contributions and is not always celebrated.  Women who are Pastors and Clergy Leaders living out their call has never been without controversy, yet the contributions of Women in Faith are without dispute.

More than at any point in recent history, women are guiding and nurturing communities of faith and quite frankly, changing the game.  With expanding roles as lead pastors, associate pastors and the likes, many houses of worship look and feel different with the presence of powerful women who are leading.

While there are many denominations and faith traditions who still reaffirm that women cannot be ordained, we wanted to highlight a couple of women who are ordained and are making a difference in and beyond the pulpit.


Meet Minister Danielle Ayers

Minister Danielle Ayers is a podcast host of the Fannie Lou Classroom and a leader passionate about justice and liberation.  Ayers serves as the Minister of Justice at Friendship West Baptist Church under the leadership of Dr. Frederick D. Haynes, III.  Minister Ayers gives liberating leadership to the public policy and social activism initiatives at Friendship West. Ayers also serves as the Co-convener of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, a delegate of the Transatlantic Roundtable on Religion and Race and on President Jimmy Carter’s New Baptist Covenant Advisory team.
Using her gifts and talents as Minister of Justice, Ayers mobilizes and organizes the church and community around various issues such as wrongful convictions, mass incarceration, predatory lending, zoning, food deserts, voting participation, legal resources and just restoration for Haiti to name a few. Ayers also lends her voice on panels around social issues and conducts workshops for developing justice ministries.

If you’re looking to lean into some consistent ongoing knowledge dropping, you can find Ayers in the Fannie Lou’s Classroom, a podcast she created and hosts that inspires, educates and challenges us to let our action match our faith. Minister Ayers is also leading a very important advocacy and awareness campaign about maternal health, reproductive justice and mortality rate of black women.  A Day at the State Capitol is March 12-13.  To learn more visit www.friendshipwest.org.

Ayers holds a B.B.A. in Marketing from The University of Memphis and is currently pursuing a Master of Divinity at Brite Divinity School. Ayers is the co-author of To Serve This Present Age: Social Justice Ministers in the Black Church. Ayers is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.


Meet Dr. Lucretia Facen

Only the second woman to grace the pulpit of the historic St. Paul United Methodist Church in its more than a century history, Dr. Lucretia Facen is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church and was appointed to this role during the pandemic, amid the worldwide shut down.

Taking the helm of the oldest Black congregation Downtown Dallas and within the UMC, St. Paul Downtown, as it is now known, is celebrating 150 years all year long and at the helm is a woman!

Dr. Facen grew up with and comes from a lineage of powerful preachers and pastors – her parents!  Responding to her call to ministry in 1997, she completed her education at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University with a master’s in divinity in 2001 and earned the Doctor of Ministry degree from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio, in May 2018.

Dr. Facen powerful preaching, passionate prayer and purpose-driven ministry aims to empower and minister to the needs of broken, hurting and marginalized people.

Dr. Facen is leading a congregation that has historically been led by men.  For the first time in history, the appointed pastoral leadership at St. Paul are women.  With the congregation preparing to celebrate 150 years of mission and ministry, the Dallas community will see more of Dr. Facen and her impact.

Have tea weekly with Dr. Facen on Meditation Mondays on her facebook page or join us for worship Sundays at 11 am.  Visit www.stpaulumcdallas.org.

As we continue the observance of National Women’s History Month, remember and act on the words of the late justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg “Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn’t be that women are the exception.” So, the next time you are in space where decisions are being made, remember silence is not an option, ask the question – where are the women?


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