Thursday, August 26, 2010

James Gibb/the vital place of women (!)

A couple of quotes from The Story of the Otago Free Church Settlement 1848 to 1948 by John Collie.  The first relates to James Gibb, a minister who came to First Church, Dunedin around the turn of the 19th-20th century.

He could work strenuously all day in conferneces and committees and then study hard up to three or four in the morning, the intensity of his zeal being the guarantee of concentration.  When ill-health did seriously threaten him in his prime he cured it partly by defying it and partly by ignoring it.  Ordered to diet, he would munch sweets whenever opportunity offered.   pg 292

Gibb lived to be 78. 

No one who has even a cursory acquaintance with the work carried on in our Maori Field will ever doubt the vital place which women missionaries must always hold there.  More men are required, but they cannot do the work of a woman.  Similarly in the foreign field - the whole work would ultimately come to a standstill without the women missionaries.   pg 278

That the statement above is true is testified to by the number of women who served as missionaries throughout the 20th century.  While they couldn't hold leadership roles in their home churches they were 'allowed' to do so almost as a matter of course in the mission fields (both in New Zealand and abroad).   I remember, when our family was in the Assembly of God Church back in the 70s that there was an insistence that the men were the ones who led the churches.   And then a missionary came to speak.  She turned out to be a little, quiet woman with nothing much remarkable about her, yet she'd been working and leading successfully in the mission field for some years.  The irony of this seemed lost on the male leadership!

Photo of James Gibb courtesy of the Presbyterian Church Archives.
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