On June 17, 1973, Emma Sommers Richards was ordained to Christian ministry by Illinois Mennonite Conference at the request of Lombard (IL) Mennonite Church. It was an ordination that marked a breakthrough in North American Mennonites’ understanding that the Holy Spirit calls both women and men to pastoral ministry.
These essays document how that change in understanding came about and describe its fruitfulness in Emma’s ministry. They trace the roots of Emma’s call, beginning with her spiritual development as a child and extending through her studies and teaching; in church planting work in Japan; and through preaching, teaching, and pastoral care ministries in the congregation. They probe the people, events, and encounters that shaped Emma’s legacy as model and mentor for a generation of younger women and men whose gifts grace church life today.
Edited by James Horsch, John D. Rempel, and Eldon D. Nafziger