Home > Opinion > Journey asks Lyn Burden: Who inspires you?

Journey asks Lyn Burden: Who inspires you?

THERE ARE many courageous people in this world whose stories are inspiring. On a personal level I have been inspired by the person who was my supervisor during the field year of ministry training, Rev Dr Norma Spear (although she was still working on her doctorate in those days). Norma was the minister of the Glebe Road Uniting Church congregation, a vibrant strong congregation in Ipswich, which, under Norma’s leadership, had been formed as a result of three congregations merging.

The visionary leadership of Norma was what first inspired me to ask if I could be a student at Glebe Road, and thus (I discovered) become one of “Norma’s boys” (a name for the large group of students who trained under her). As a student I came to appreciate Norma’s commitment to her call from God to be a minister in an era where women didn’t serve the church in that capacity. She responded to that call and, because women didn’t become ministers, trained as a Methodist Deaconess.

Deaconesses at that time were often considered lower in status in the ministry team than (male) student minsters, but Norma willingly obeyed her call to ministry. After many years of faithful service, Norma became the first woman to be ordained as a Minister of the Word in the Methodist Church in Queensland, when the church gave women the opportunity for women to be ordained as ministers.

Norma is a visionary who has the capacity to implement that vision within a congregation by seeing all who participate as part of the ministry team and encouraging people to use their gifts and graces in serving God.

Rev Lyn Burden is Superintendent Minister at Wesley Mission Brisbane