egg money and leadership training

During my first call as a pastor, I found out about egg money.

One Monday evening, I was listening to the treasurer’s report at the Presbyterian Women meeting, and asked why the group was giving a donation to the general church budget.  Doesn’t everyone already give to the general offering, I asked?  Well, I was told, that’s the egg money.

And what is egg money, I asked?  I learned that it was money women in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries earned on their own, without their husband’s oversight, raising chickens and selling eggs.  The tradition had lasted long after women gained equal access to the family checkbook.

Sometimes the church gets criticized, and rightly so, for being a place where only the select few are allowed to belong or participate.

Yet, sometimes the church is the only place where people can find opportunities to use their gifts and express their thoughts.  Women, slaves, unemployed people … these were groups that were cut off from full participation in the rest of society, and often from full participation in church.  So they created their own space.  Women’s groups, religious meetings in the woods, and youth groups for the countless young adults out of work during the Depression are just a few examples of how people have taken the do-it-yourself route when the system failed them.

future community gardener, maybe?

And these spaces provided great opportunities to become leaders!  I’ve always been impressed with the resumes of women from my mother’s and grandmothers’ generations … but those resumes were not necessarily formed at work, because their opportunities were restricted.  Those resumes were formed at church.  We may come in to the church building with just our egg money, or just our clothes dirty from pounding the pavement looking for work, but if the church is doing things right we can be transformed into people who claim their place at the table.

The old days are gone, and perhaps the need for an “egg money” account is no longer, but we still have people who are denied a full place and full participation.  We still have people coming to our door who could be uplifted, educated, trained, and sent out … by the church.  Think of the folks who have been edged out of the workplace, because they are too old or too fresh-out-of-college.  Or think of the refugees resettling in your area (it’s amazing to me how many little corners of America are home to communities of refugees.)  Or the people who have always been underemployed, living on the margins.

Who in your community may have a little egg money and a lot of potential?

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Jerrod Lowry on July 21, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    Amen sister! AMEN!

    Reply

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