First Female Professor at Methodist Seminary in São Paulo
Visitors to the campus of the Methodist Seminary in São Paulo, Brazil, might not notice the name of one of the large classrooms: “Fanny G. de Pantelis.” But if they do and ask any of the women students about the name, they will find out who she is.
As an international person in mission, Fanny was the first woman ever to serve fulltime on the faculty of the Methodist Seminary in Brazil. The few women students found a strong friend and ally in their struggle for full acceptance as future pastors in the church.
As a student from Uruguay at the seminary in Argentina, Fanny met her husband, Jorge, a student from Bolivia. Upon completion of their studies at the seminary, Fanny and Jorge began their ministry in Bolivia. Her training and her writing skills became known and were used in developing a Christian Education curriculum which was used across Latin America. At the same time she became a champion for the role of women in the church at all levels.
When the Methodist Church in Brazil requested assistance in finding teachers for the seminary, Fanny and her husband were among the first international persons in mission in the region. Her passion for justice for women, including their place in the life of the church, made its mark in the lives of her students. This is why, in her honor, the classroom at the seminary bears her name for all to see.
“Room for Remembrance: Fanny G. de Pantelis,” in People Just Like These: Stories of Persons in Mission Serving Around the World, edited by Elizabeth L. Howard. (Denver, CO, and New York, NY: Global Mission Partners and The World Division, The General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church, 1992), p. 16.