The Holiness Church, founded by Sophia Chambers (1838–87), is one of the rare religious denominations in any country founded and led by a woman. The central primary source is the periodical created and edited by Chambers, the Holiness Advocate. The article argues that Sophia Chambers's leadership approach provides an additional exception to common scholarly conceptions of women's ministry, leadership, and gender roles of the late Victorian period. To make this argument, the extant sources for Sophia Chambers and the Holiness Church are provided, narratives of her life and of the history of the Holiness Church during her lifetime are reconstructed, and her theological framework is examined. At her death, she left the leadership in the hands of four of her male subordinates. The developments in the transition of power and their effect on the church are examined before reflecting on her approach to leadership. It demonstrates that the ‘two spheres’ paradigm is not adequate for understanding Chambers.

You do not currently have access to this content.