The Rev. Pat McKinstry, pastor of Toledo's Upton United Methodist Church, has been named by a national religious magazine as one of “America's 10 Most Dynamic Female Pastors.”
Dr. McKinstry, who has been a minister for 43 years, 12 of them as pastor of the 500-member Upton church, said she doesn't know how she was chosen for the honor by Gospel Today magazine. She learned in December that the publication wanted to include her in an article, but didn't quite understand what it was all about until she saw the headline on the cover of this month's issue.
“I thought it was a pretty good honor and I appreciate that,” she said. “I'm thankful to God that they feel that way.”
Roland Hairston, an editorial assistant at the magazine, said the 10 women pastors were chosen by the Gospel Today editorial and marketing staff. “We tossed around different names and came across Dr. McKinstry.”
Mr. Hairston said he first learned of Dr. McKinstry's ministry through his aunt, Pam Hairston, who attends Upton. “Once we looked at a national group of people we were considering, we thought she would be a good fit.”
Candidates were evaluated mainly on the impact of their ministry and what they were doing in their communities. The staff chose Dr. McKinstry in part because of her speaking ability and her long tenure in the ministry, Mr. Hairston said. “She's known across the country as an excellent speaker.”
Other women selected for the magazine's top 10 are Dr. Suzan Johnson Cook of the Bronx, N.Y., Christian Fellowship; Dr. Claudette Copeland of New Creation Christian Fellowship in San Antonio, Tex.; Dr. Millicent Hunter of Baptist Worship Center, Philadelphia; the Rev. Jacqueline McCullough of The Gathering at Beth Rapha, Pomona, N.Y.
Dr. Betty Peebles of Jericho City of Praise, Landover, Md.; Bishop Ernestine Reems of Center of Hope Community Church, Oakland, Calif.; the Rev. Juandolyn Stokes of Deeper Life in Christ Ministries, Atlanta; the Rev. Brenda Timberlake of Christian Faith Center, Creedmor, N.C., and the Rev. Paula White of Without Walls International Church, Tampa.
Dr. McKinstry said she knows seven of the women who were selected, and has worked with several of them, including Dr. Copeland, with whom she started a ministry 15 years ago that was named for Bishop Reems.
“There are so many great women. We sit in conferences and come together, especially with the E.C. Reems Women's International. We would meet in Atlanta and I would stand in awe at some of the women that have made great contributions.”
Despite that, however, Dr. McKinstry said women ministers still face opposition from those who believe the Bible prohibits women from preaching. “I think some slowly but surely are recognizing that the work speaks for the calling. Sometimes, they won't believe us, but they can't deny the works.”
Dr. McKinstry said since the Gospel Today article came out she has been busy autographing copies of the magazine after Sunday church services the last two weeks.
The magazine article also mentions her husband, Luther, without whom she said she could not be in the ministry. “He's a great man, but I would never be in the ministry except for him walking with me side by side. That's what makes the ministry with married women so easy when their companion is in agreement with them.”
Gospel Today magazine, based in Fayetteville, Ga., was started 14 years ago by Teresa Hairston, a Bowling Green State University graduate who is now the publisher.
- JUDY TARJANYI