Presbyterian Church USA Marks 65th Anniversary of Women’s Ordination

Cayuga-Syracuse Presbytery ordained Margaret E. Towner the first woman minister of word and sacrament in the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America on Oct. 24, 1956. Source: Presbyterian Mission

In anticipation of the 65th anniversary of the ordination of the first woman in the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, the podcast “A Matter of Faith: A Presby Podcast” released a special episode featuring an interview with the Rev. Dr. Margaret Towner.

Towner grew up in upstate New York, after her mother relocated to Syracuse, following her parents separation due to her father’s infidelity. Active in church as a child, Towner began to feel a call to serve in vocational ministry as a young adult and experienced the power of God in interactions with her pastor, the Rev. Dr. Harry Taylor of First Presbyterian Church in Syracuse.

Together, Taylor helped Towner process her grief and anger around her father’s infidelity resulting in her having a greater appreciation for God’s grace and the value of community in spiritual formation. She said, “Harry allowed me to express my anger…He was a great supporter and counselor and got me help, helped get me on the road to health and to ministry.”

Working for the church as the substitute secretary, Towner soon became involved in the congregation’s youth ministry activities in their local neighborhood.

Source: Presbyterian Mission