Paula Mojzes

Paula Mojzes (1906-1970) was Methodism’s first woman district superintendent, appointed as an interim a year before the denomination even approved women’s ordination, and two years before she herself was ordained. Mojzes worked as a bank secretary in Croatia before marrying in 1934. When World War II reached Yugoslavia in 1941, the family moved to her husband’s hometown, Novi Sad, Serbia, which was then occupied by Hungary. In the summer of 1942 her husband died in a labor camp and her toddler daughter died of complications from measles. After the war, Mojzes was hired as church secretary under the Rev. George Sebele, District Superintendent of the Yugoslav Methodist provisional conference. Sebele was aided by Mojzes and other women that came to be known as “church sisters,” as they performed almost all the duties of an ordained minister except the sacraments. Mojzes began to preach regularly and became a train-traveling circuit rider, then learning to ride a bike in her 40s and, even later, to drive. She reportedly was the first woman to drive in Novi Sad, a city of more than 100,000 at the time, and she drew a crowd as everyone wanted to see  baba koja vozi auto, the “grandma who is driving a car.”  She could preach in Serbian, Hungarian and German, but her theological education was informal. In 1955 Sebele died, and the bishop appointed Mojzes to serve as acting superintendent – a position she filled in addition to her duties as secretary. Two years later, the bishop appointed a man as district superintendent and officially ordained Mojzes a deacon and made her supervising pastor of the Northern District. “She was a feminist without wanting to be one,” her older son wrote later in a biographical sketch of her. “Her love and dedication was for Jesus rather than for any organization, community, government or ideology.”

Want to know more?

Read the  biography by her son, Paul Mojzes

Information and history of  Novi Sad