People know Barbara Woods Riles Washington as a seamstress, preacher, teacher, crafter, writer and more. While she is excellent in all of those areas, she is more than all of that. The month of March has been recognized as Women’s History Month, and we want to focus on one of the Nashville PRIDE’s very own as she has dedicated over 15 years of continuous service each week as a spiritual columnist. Her column has been written fresh and published for 52 weeks each year with the exception of only three times.
Washington recalls informally talking with the former managing editor of the PRIDE, the late Geraldine Heath on many occasions. In the year of 2007, she notes that Heath told her: “You have a lot to say.” Following the death of ‘Pulpit and Pew’ columnist, the late Mattie Lloyd, Washington was told that she could obtain that space in the paper with her many thoughts. Thus, the column commenced and was named ‘Faith of a Mustard Seed.’
Why speak on faith and have the name remain the same each week? As mentioned, there are many titles associated with Barbara Washington who is frequently reference to as Rev. Barbara. Through the years she has had a variety of spiritual experiences that led her to this path. During a stint in Brooklyn, N.Y., she was noted to have a “high powered ministry.” She preached and ministered non-stop as the pastor of an 800-member church, Bethel United Methodist Church
By invitation she also ministered to a plethora other churches on a regular basis, including ministry in Bible studies.
Washington is a native of Cleveland, Ohio. She came to Nashville in 1993 to a home where she currently resides. It was in that year that she preached a sermon at Gordon Memorial United Methodist Church. She later attended Atlanta Gammon Seminary and performed other seminary duties that earned her ministry credentials as an Elder and a Deacon in the United Methodist Church. Her studies led her to Ph.D. studies regarding faith.
“I knew I wanted to write on faith,” said Washington as she recalled the scripture that speaks of faith, hope and love. “There’s faith and there’s hope and there’s love. The greatest of these is love. I argued that the greatest of these is faith!” When Washington started the column, she approached it as a word study. She taught that there are many words for the word ‘faith.’ She wrote her column around her studies uncovering the meanings each time the word ‘faith’ was mentioned in the text of the Bible.
From her weekly column, she wrote and published a book entitled Faith of a Mustard Seed that is a collection of her first 100 published columns. She currently is in the process of writing a second book on the 100 columns that followed, focusing on Acts.
We celebrate Rev. Barbara Woods Washington during Women’s History Month as a writer and spiritual columnist for the Nashville PRIDE newspaper for 15 years. While we celebrate her as a writer, she also remains an extraordinary crafter and is greatly recognized for her phenomenal creations in women’s fashions made from all types of denim as “The Rev’s Denim.”
Rev. Barbara’s column remains a staple in the Nashville PRIDE newspaper each week. However, she is currently engaged in a dialog through a social media platform on Facebook. Her topic visits every area of life that citizens are never taught. “There has never been a public religion class,” she said.
The Facebook Live broadcast can be joined on Thursdays at 6 pm, central time, under the page ‘Divided We Fall Dialog on the Great Divides.’