Did you hear of the woman who was arrested for preaching? .... Shortly after being baptized in the James River, Chesterfield, Virginia, resident Margaret Meuse Clay demonstrated the gifts of praying and speaking in public. With a sensitivity to the Spirit’s leading, an attention to the needs of God’s people, and a confidence in the Lord’s work in her life, Margaret Clay was regularly enlisted by area ministers to lead in prayer and even in preaching. She more than willingly obliged; her “yes” was a response both to the invitation of local churches as well as to the call of God. According to the Clay family, authorities summoned Margaret and eleven Baptist men to appear in the Chesterfield court, where they were all charged with “preaching without a license.” Margaret willingly went to the court alone because her husband was either unable or unwilling to accompany her. The court found all twelve “Baptist preachers” guilty and sen- tenced them to be whipped. The eleven men received their punishment, but when it came time for Margaret to be whipped an unknown man stepped forward and paid her fine, thus sparing her from the public humiliation and phys- ical abuse. Following this incident, the civil authorities left Margaret Clay alone, though it is believed she continued to pray and preach. Oh, two additional footnotes, the year was 1770, and the Clay family tradition holds that Patrick Henry (noted for saying, “Give me liberty, or give me death!”) served as her legal representation!
Women shape history;
Christian women change the course of time.
Joy for the Journey, Jay