She's making history in Harlem.
Rev. Lisa Jenkins has been elected the first female pastor in the 88-year history of St. Matthew's Baptist Church.
Jenkins — a 48-year-old single mom of a college student — might appear to outsiders as an atypical choice. But the church's majority-woman congregation saw her background as a plus (not to mention the four male rivals split the vote).
"She's very relatable," said Kiesha Grant, 42. "Some pastors forget about the kids, and now we have someone who has a child who's college age, so she's still hip to the young people."
Parishioners hope her accessible, generation-spanning oratory will attract young people to its aging congregation's declining numbers. Five new congregants joined this month, they said, some younger than 30.
"She was preaching, my 16-year-old grandson had his head down, but all of a sudden his head pops up, he's listening!" said Grant's mother, deacon Nataline Vanderburg, 66.
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