In a recent "Payson People" column in the Roundup, Pastor Elaine Watskey of Mount Cross Lutheran Church expressed mild surprise that the vast majority of her fellow pastors had not yet called to welcome her to the community. At the time she had been here five weeks.
Pointing out that some denominations still don't believe in ordaining women, she said, "It's very hard for me to personally understand why they truly believe God does not call women to the ministry when there are plenty of examples in the Bible showing that women were serving in leadership roles."
While Watskey stopped far short of calling it gender bias, there seems to be a lingering mentality in small towns like Payson that a woman's place is still in the home. In view of Watskey's experience, two stories in today's Roundup are most enlightening.
One story announces the departure of Main Street Project Manager Karen Greenspoon who has accepted a position as an economic development specialist in the much more liberal climes of Tucson. As town councilor and longtime Main Street proponent Dick Wolfe put it, all you have to do is drive down Main Street to see how much she accomplished in a little over two years on the job.
The other story details the successful effort by Payson Schools Superintendent Herb Weissenfels to lure Sue Myers out of retirement to become the new principal of Payson High School. The appointment of Myers, formerly superintendent of the Pine-Strawberry School District and principal of Frontier Elementary School, has been met with little short of jubilation by PHS teachers, students and parents, the superintendent said.
Two women whose presence and abilities have forever enriched our community: one who is moving on and will be sorely missed, and one who has selflessly answered the call to serve yet again.
Is it just a fluke that these events are juxtaposed so closely, or is there a moral and a lesson unfolding right here in our own community? Pastor Watskey called the Roundup the other day to say she had received several additional welcomes from fellow pastors and local residents after her story appeared in the paper. That's good, because if there's one lesson we all need to take away from the two stories in today's paper, it's that women have and will continue to make vital contributions to our community.