Episcopal Priest Helps Former Prostitutes Pen First Book

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Becca Stevens may well be the fastest-talking woman in Tennessee. Although the Episcopal priest speaks with a gentle Southern accent, the velocity is rapid-fire New York, so it's no surprise to learn her parents hail from there. Tragically, her father—also a pastor—was killed by a drunk driver when Stevens was just five years old. That experience, she says, changed her life and made her more aware of the pain that women can feel. "We went from being this hopeful young family to looking for the Social Security check," she says. To add to her suffering, the senior warden of the church began sexually abusing her.

Today, however, Stevens has channeled that pain into a compassionate and unique ministry to women from the streets. In 1997, she founded Magdalene, a Nashville-based program for women with a history of prostitution and substance abuse. Most of those women, Stevens says, were physically and sexually abused as children. "Because women don't get to the streets by themselves—it takes all kinds of failed systems to get them there—they're not going to get off the streets by themselves. It takes a community to bring them back." Magdalene is that community, a two-year residential program that gives women job training, drug rehabilitation and a house of their own to live in. It has been so successful that there are now five houses in Nashville, two in Charleston, one in Chattanooga, and even one in Rwanda. Another is planned for Ecuador.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry

4 Comments
Posted April 28, 2009 at 4:16 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Helen wrote:

This sounds like a great program.  I am imagining a time when women who are not prostitutes, but who have had many sex partners, will also flock to ministries like Magdalene.  I pray that it be soon.

April 28, 4:47 pm | [comment link]
2. Widening Gyre wrote:

It is a great program.  We attended one of the earlier fundraisers in Nashville and the testimonies of these women is POWER-ful.  Some of our old carpet now cushions the feet of my sisters in Christ as they walk back from darkness I can not even imagine.  We may not agree with some of Becca’s theology but she is doing Kingdom work for sure!

April 28, 5:43 pm | [comment link]
3. mannainthewilderness wrote:

What a wonderful ministry!  And to see them popping up in other towns is amazing.

April 28, 6:06 pm | [comment link]
4. Robert Dedmon wrote:

I know Becca and her ministry which has made a life giving
difference in the lives of countless women both in Nashville
and in the Diocese of Littoral (Ecuador).  Several years ago
when our daughter was battling lymphoma, the women at
Thistle Farms sent her a wonderful gift basket full of their
products and notes of love and faith.  That was a gift of love
which encouraged not only our daughter but our whole family. 
And which we will never forget.  I am thankful for the years
we spent together in the Diocese of Tenenssee and for the
witness of Christ’s love which she and her family have made
and continue to make.  Becca herself continues to live her
faith with compassionate actions of Christ’s love.

Robert Dedmon, Dean and Rector
St. Paul’s Cathedral, Peoria
Episcopal Diocese of Quincy

April 28, 6:44 pm | [comment link]
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