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A Religious Feminist?

"Dr. Lois Wilson"

In 1980 Dr. Lois Wilson made history in Canada when she became the first woman to be elected as Moderator of the United Church of Canada.

"It was a wonderful feeling of accomplishment and something I really enjoyed doing."

Dr. Wilson had already earned her stripes after graduating from the University of Winnipeg and taking her post-graduate work in theology. She was ordained and ministered in Thunder Bay, Hamilton and Kingston, Ontario.

In 1983 she was appointed one of seven presidents of the World Council of Churches, representing 315 Orthodox and Protestant churches worldwide. She held the position until February 1991.

Dr. Wilson is barely 153 centimeters tall but she is a remarkably tireless and spunky woman. She calls herself a Feminist and has taken strong stands in the field of human rights. A newspaper once described her as "small but dynamic" which is just as well because her duties include exhausting travel to remote comers of the world.

"I've made several trips to Chile. I was there to monitor the plebiscite, and I was in Namibia when they declared their independence from South Africa.

"I was in India for six weeks sharing our experiences as ordained women of the west."

On the day we spoke to her last, Dr. Wilson was on her way to Australia to speak on human rights and the ordination of women.

What advice does she have for other younger women who might want to follow in her footsteps?

"I don't think I have to give that advice. About 65 percent of all candidates/or ordination in Canada are women."

She is not planning to retire. One project is to write children's books with a Feminist's point of view.

"I am also part of a task force on the concept of disposing of poisonous waste in Canada."

Dr. Wilson is married to a United Church minister in Toronto. With all her other duties she doesn't get much chance to preach.

"When I do I must admit I am terrified-but confident."

Dr. Lois Wilson-a Canadian Achiever and a shining example for other women who may want to reach to the highest order in the church.



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