Young women who are being ordained as ministers and rabbis today cannot imagine what the women who have gone before them went through to become leaders in their communities. They do not know this as the “new hour”, but as the only hour, the time which has allowed them to be the beneficiaries of the pioneers who have struggled to change minds and hearts. Reverend Rebecca Cohen admits that she cannot imagine her mother, Reverend Helen Cohen’s experience of never having seen a woman minister before she went to Harvard Divinity school.
The other women in this section are creating new forms of religious expression by blending traditional faith paths and practices of the human potential movement. Their work is often not weekly observance but weekend and week-long gatherings devoted to a special theme such as forgiveness. Jean Houston, anthropologist and counselor to the powerful such as Senator Hilary Clinton, says that her teacher, anthropologist Margaret Mead, told her to go out into the world and gather the best that each civilization has to offer. She sees our time as key to moving humanity a step forward by having the unique opportunity to take advantage of global awareness.
Reverend Della Reese’s reputation as a singer helped her to take her talents to a higher level as a servant of God. Her television show, Touched By An Angel, is part of her message and ministry. Iyanla Vanzant, a Yoruba priestess, catapulted to fame when Oprah Winfrey read her book, Yesterday, I Cried. While her workshops and lectures, primarily in the United States, are focused more on women, her commonsensical approach toward spiritual strength and personal growth has attracted both men and women, and people of all backgrounds and ages.