Banks first Mennonite woman ordained in NYC in 100 yearsby Kenneth L. Thompson
Addie Banks, a pastor at King of Glory Tabernacle in the Bronx, was ordained for ministry on June 18 at Riverside Church, New York City.
Banks is the first woman to be formally ordained for ministry in a Mennonite Church USA congregation in New York City since 1911.
There had only been one other Mennonite woman, Ann J. Allebach, ordained by Eastern District Conference for ministry in the New York City area, 100 years ago.
Banks also serves as a member of the Mennonite Church USA Executive Board.
The service was officiated by leaders of Atlantic Coast Conference and Lancaster Mennonite Conference, the NYC Mennonite Oversight Council, Iglesia Mennonita Hispana, and attended by representative members of Mennonite Church USA Executive Board, Janeen Bertsche Johnson and Kenneth Thompson. Thompson also represented African-American Mennonite Association and Mennonite Church USA Intercultural Relations Reference Committee.
Bishop Michael Banks, Addie’s husband, said that this ordination is also significant because it is “true to the spirit of Anabaptist/Mennonite theology which urges us to search the Scriptures and apply it in present time. This is a faithful response to God’s call to do justice and express His progressive revelation.”
The speaker for the evening, Sister Terry Ricard ODM, taking her text from Paul’s words in Philippians 3, encouraged Addie and everyone to believe “the sufferings of Christ yield both the likeness and the newness of His life within us.”
Ricard went on to compare Banks’ life to this point as a daffodil flower growing up amidst an open lot strewn with debris. And how, like that flower, Addie has grown, pushed through and up past racism, sexism, and poverty.
Along with the ordination license from area bishops, Addie received a quilted mantle made by several women to commemorate this historic step.
Lancaster Mennonite Conference bishops Keith Weaver and Dale Stoltzfus followed with a statement of resolution on behalf of their conference that officially recognized and affirmed her call unto full pulpit ministry in Mennonite Church USA.
Barbara Bethea, poetess in New York City, wrote a poem, "For the Ordination of Minister Addie Sanders Banks." Click here to read the poem.
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