The Independent Life of a Woman Minister
• the first full-length biography of one of the leading figures in British broadcasting and religious life
Elsie Chamberlain was a pioneer in many areas: the first woman chaplain to the armed forces; the first nonconformist minister to marry an Anglican clergyman; the first woman producer in the religious broadcasting department of the BBC; and the first woman to present the daily service on the radio. Her broadcasting accustomed many listeners to the idea of a woman leading public worship. And she became the first woman to occupy the chair of the Congregational Union of England and Wales and almost certainly the first woman anywhere in the world to head a major denomination. Elsie Chamberlain is the first full biography and a critical appreciation of this exceptional woman. Using original church and BBC archive sources, the book tells the story of a woman who did more than any other to change the way Christian women ministers are viewed
‘Alan Argent’s book is … a well-paced and clearly written narrative … straightforward and interesting …’
It is the merit of Alan Argent’s book that he allows his readers to … reach their own conclusions about an independent minister whom he regards, quite rightly, as a heroine.’
Prof Clyde Binfield, Emeritus Professor, University of Sheffield.
‘I found I just couldn’t put it down and I was intrigued to read the story of such an extraordinary woman… a really good piece of history. I was struck by the very fluent and beautiful writing style.’
Principal Susan Durber of Westminster College, Cambridge.
‘Combines style and balance’ while hinting at Elsie’s ‘awkwardness and vulnerability as well as uniqueness and loyalties’.
Dr John Thompson.
1. Introduction and early life
2. The Call to the Ministry
3. Elsie Begins Her Ministry
4. The Return to London
5. Chaplain in the Royal Air Force
6. Married Life
7. Vineyard, Richmond
8. Later Years at Vineyard
9. International Meetings
10. Elsie at the BBC
11. After the BBC: The City Temple
12. Another Crisis
13. The Congregational Federation
14. Hutton Free Church, 1971
15. The Kentish Town Situation
16. Travelling, 1973–1980
17. Going West, 1980
18. Ministry in Nottingham