Dr. Nancy Ellett Allison

While the corporate glass ceiling is close to shattered, the stained glass ceiling has taken longer to crack. Finally, though, it’s not uncommon to see a woman wearing a robe at church these days, and we don’t mean choir robes. We spoke with seven of Charlotte’s female religious leaders to find out what they’re doing behind and beyond the pulpit

Written by Lori K. Tate
Photographs by Chris Edwards 

Pastor, Holy Trinity United Church of Christ

Dr. Nancy Ellett Allison, Pastor, Holy Covenant United Church of Christ

Dr. Nancy Ellett Allison, Pastor, Holy Covenant United Church of Christ

When a transgender individual e-mailed Nancy Ellett Allison through Holy Covenant's Web site asking permission to come to a worship service, Allison quickly replied with a long e-mail welcoming her. A few months later the sixty-something joined the church.

"The saddest thing for me as a minister is how many people have experienced such rejection from the church," says the fifty-four-year-old Allison, who fully embraces the UCC's Open and Affirming resolution, which welcomes persons of all sexual orientations and gender identities.

The sole minister of Holy Covenant, a 250-member church in the University City area, Allison has increased average worship attendance from sixty-five to 130 and has added ninety new members in the two years she's been there. The church recently held a capital campaign (concludes the end of November) for additional educational space and sent a mission team to New Orleans, its first ever.

"I think one of the best gifts both my parents and my early Christian upbringing gave me was a sense of being blessed by God, and the thing that I offer to others is blessing. It's that capacity to say who you are and as you are, you are God's beloved child and to try and make that real in terms of practice and outreach," she says.

More Women of the Word 


Categories: Feature