Mary Magdalene was the first to preach the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Priscilla was an evangelist. Phoebe was a deacon. Huldah was a prophet. Deborah was a warrior judge. Junia was called an apostle. Despite the Bible being rife with stories of female leaders, Christian church leadership has traditionally been a male-dominated field. But last Sunday, a local church broke with tradition and chose a woman to lead the congregation. After 150-year history in Morgan County, Pleasant Grove Baptist Church named its first-ever female head pastor, Carrie Peters-Reid. Reid, a Madison City Council woman and cosmetologist, was ordained at a special service Sunday afternoon, taking over as head pastor to replace Reverend Alfred Murray, who retired after leading the church for 34 years.
“Those are big shoes to fill,” said Reid, who is only the second African-American woman in Morgan County to become a Baptist pastor. “It is truly an honor.”
The road to becoming head pastor of her church was a long one. Reid has already succeeded as a businesswoman and political leader. Now she will tackle serving as a spiritual leader.
“I never just sat down and said ‘I want to be a Pastor, or minister,’ explained Reid. “I remember the first time I had an experience with God. I was totally amazed. I even asked my husband if he heard what I heard at church. After that experience I began to pray and listen. I also started reading the Bible more. It’s one thing to be in church. It’s another thing to be of the Church (body). God has plans for all of us. We only need to ask.”
Reid’s spiritual experience inspired her to take her faith more seriously as she took on more responsibility in her faith community. Now that Reid is ordained she can do even more in her new role as head pastor of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church.
“Being ordained opens so many doors—performing marriages, baptisms, doing counseling, and so much more. There has always been controversy about women being in the pulpit. But God said in his last days , He would pour out his Spirit on all people,” said Reid, referencing a scripture verse found in The Acts of the Apostles.
Reid is hoping to use her new position to not only lead her church, but reach out to the and sow seeds of unity in Morgan County.
“I am hoping to bring the community together in all areas,” said Reid. “Sunday is the day that we are mostly separated,” commented Reid about how racially segregated churches tend to be. We call ourselves One Morgan, why can’t we worship together?”
Reid believes that wherever life takes her from here on out, she is in good Hands.
“My favorite scripture is Romans 8:28: All things work together for the good of those that love the Lord and are called according to his purpose,” quoted Reid.
Minister Reid, 50, was born and raised in Madison, the fifth child of the late Laren and Mattie Peters. Reid is married to Morgan County Deputy Sheriff Derrick Reid. Together, the couple has six children: MeShunda Williams, Capricia Williams, Derricka Reid, Derrick Reid Jr., Darrion Reid, and Derriah Reid. The couple also has three grandchildren: King Hardy, Genesis Nelson, and Qirri Carter.
She graduated from Morgan County High School in 1986 and attended an Athens-area technical college and the Georgia Institute of Cosmetology, earning a diploma is cosmetology. She owns Carrie’s Dollhouse Salon in Madison, where she styles hair. Carrie has been styling hair for 33 years. But makeovers were not enough for Carrie. She wanted to make a positive difference in the community. That’s when she decided to run for the District 1 seat on the Madison Mayor and City Council five years ago. Reid is currently serving her second term as a councilwoman. She is only the second African-American woman to serve on the city council.
Reid takes her civic duties seriously, but was compelled to answer a higher calling into ministry. She was baptized by W.J. Reid at Springfield Missionary Baptist Church and first felt the call to leadership at Calvary Baptist Church in Madison, under Revered Dr. Hoke Smith.
“The biggest influence on me has been Pastor Bernard Hamp,” said Reid, who credits the New Enon Baptist pastor with training to become a pastor.
“That is where I received my foundation and purpose in ministry,” said Reid. “I love being a servant.”
“A church deeply rooted in tradition [such as] Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, women were not even allowed to preach from the pulpit,” said Hamp. “Then to have a woman birthed out of our community shows the sovereignty of a true and living God. God calls a person, not a gender.” Hamp cited a Bible scripture found in The Book of Jeremiah.
“And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding,” reads Jeremiah 3:15.
“God couldn’t have chosen a better person to be pastor,” said Hamp.
Reid earned the support of her congregation who voted her in.
“My name was on the ballot along with two other men, but they voted me in,” said Reid.
One of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church’s deacons is proud to have Reid lead the church.
“Sunday was an historic event at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church,” said Deacon Eugene Williams, chairman of the church’s deacon board. “I am truly happy with our Pastor. It had to be the Lord. I can’t judge about a woman or man being our pastor, that is God’s decision. I feel a woman can do just as good as a man.”
Reid is inviting the community to visit her church to join the important work she is pursuing.
“Please join us at Pleasant Grove, where it is always pleasant in the grove. We are praying for growth, community involvement, and inspiring the youth to reach for the stars,” said Reid. With God, all things are possible.”