Disciples News Service

South Dallas church to install first woman senior pastor in 142 year history

DALLAS, Texas, 11.16.12 —Rev. Irie Lynne Session, will be installed next month as senior pastor at Warren Avenue Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), making her the first woman to hold the job in the African-American church’s 142 year history. She is the former associate minister for the North Texas Area of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the Southwest,

 “I am excited that the congregation took that leap of faith. Because I know there are people who have issues and concerns with the fact that I am a woman. The responsibility is to be the best preacher and pastor that I can be,” said Session, 53. She plans to help the church, located in South Dallas, clarify its mission, develop its spirituality and to “preach the good news of Jesus Christ.”

She will be installed at 3 p.m. Dec. 1.

Session was hired as senior pastor, after 86 percent of the congregation voted Aug. 19 to call her, said Marilyn Calhoun, pastor installation chair.“It’s that old African-American value that a male is the only one that can be in that position. It has been a challenge to get equality for women,” said Calhoun, a deacon at the church. “It also signifies breaking the barriers for other denominations to come behind us.”

In addition to pastoring Warren Avenue, Session is the advocate and spiritual support coordinator at New Friends New Life. The Dallas agency helps women who have been trafficked leave prostitution.

Known as “The Avenue,” W.A.C.C. dates back to the late 1870’s when a group of white missionaries meeting on Sunday afternoon conducted worship services with African-American Christians. After several mergers and moves to different sites, the church has become a South Dallas fixture that heartily serves its community.