Women in the church

When the women looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, ‘Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.’ So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. -Mark 16: 4-8


For Christians, the most important event in human history is the resurrection of Jesus.  Each Gospel tells the same story, this news was delivered to a group of women.  Throughout Scripture, and the New Testament in particular, the work and leadership of women is affirmed.  At First Presbyterian Church, we believe the most faithful way to be the Church is to include women in all areas of our congregation’s work and life.  Because of this, women and men exist as equals here.  Women lead as elders and trustees, preach sermons, officiate at the communion table and baptize new believers.  We have no doubt that the work of women makes our church more faithful, more vibrant and wiser.  We are proud of the many women who have helped to lead this congregation over the years, and we celebrate the gifts women bring to the church.  


Long before women could vote, run for office, or offically lead the congregation, they were at the foundation of life at First Presbyterian Church. So foundational were they that, in 1873 when the church moved from 2nd and B Streets to 8th and B, the women of the church raised the entire amount of money needed to purchase the land upon which the church would sit. Today, women lead many initatives at the church, including a monthly meal for the vulerable in our community.

The Presbyterian Church (USA), as a denomination, began ordaining women to be pastors in 1956. In Arkansas, the first women ordained to the ministry was in 1977 at the church in Dardanelle. In our own congregation, women were ordained to be elders beginning in 1981 and serveral of those first women still lead in the congregation to this day.

This congregation welcomed its first female pastor Anne Cameron in 2004. She served as associate pastor of the church for over 3 years. The next female pastor came in 2012 when Tasha Blackburn answered the call to serve the congregation as co-senior pastor, along with her husband Phil Blackburn.

"When I was a child, it never occurred to me that I wouldn't be allowed to do something because I was a girl. Once I was grown, I was grateful beyond measure that Presbyterians felt the same way. It is an honor to be a pastor, whatever your gender, and to be allowed to bring your full self to the endeavor." 

                                                                                               -   Tasha Blackburn