American Church History tells us that one of the primary ways women answered the Spirit’s call to ministry in the nineteenth century was to enter the mission field. Women who were discouraged from preaching, teaching, medical work, and many other professional endeavors in North American congregations were welcomed in foreign fields and supported by those same churches that didn’t think this was their place back home.
The featured presentation for the Reformed Church Center’s annual Women’s Stories Day, hosted with the RCA Office for Women’s Transformation and Leadership for the sixth year, is “Bustin’ Lintels, Bursting Doors: Molly Talmage and Single Women in RCA Mission in China.” This presentation, by David Alexander, this year’s Hazel B. Gnade Fellow in RCA Women’s Studies, was on Saturday, 26 March 2022, 1:00 to 3:00 pm via Zoom. Following his presentation were two respondents: Laura Osborne, Reformed Church in America coordinator for Interreligious Relations and a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry in Missiology and Global Christianity at NBTS. Tracie Alston, Assistant Director of Foreign Institutes for the Church of God in Christ (COGIC), and a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry in Missiology and Global Christianity at NBTS. She has served as a missionary in several countries in South America, Asia, and the Caribbean; and is also a member of the board of Bible League International as a Scripture Engagement Advocate.
Afterward, there was a time for questions and discussion among all the participants.
Deepika Srivastava was our devotional leader. Born at Christian Medical College (CMC) and Hospital in Vellore, India—the hospital and school founded by RCA missionary doctor Ida Scudder—Deepika is Director for Church Relations at the Vellore CMC Foundation in New York City and a deacon at Bethany Memorial Reformed Church. She has a Master’s in Public Health from the University of Rochester along with a passion for sharing the healing ministry of Christ and building spiritual families.
David Alexander is a retired RCA missionary who served for most of his career with his wife, Char, in Taiwan. They currently live in Holland, Michigan. An NBTS graduate (Class of 1980), David was awarded the Global Ministry Alumni Award by NBTS in 2019. He is our Hazel B. Gnade Fellow in Reformed Church Women’s Studies for 2021-2022. This fellowship, created through the diligent work of Mary Kansfield, historian and wife of former president Norman Kansfield, is named for the longtime secretary of the RCA Women’s Board of Foreign Missions.