Women in Leadership | CBE International

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Women in Leadership

I was recently asked to lead a discussion with a group of young ladies (mostly college-age students) on what it means to be a woman of God. I started the conversation by asking them what initial images and thoughts come to mind when they heard the phrase, "woman of God."  They responded: "Big hats." "Poised." "Virtuous." "Prayer warrior." "Spiritually strong." "High heels." "Knows the Bible inside and out." These examples sounded like some sort of spiritually immortal bionic wonder woman. I was overwhelmed with sadness. I recalled being a young college woman around their age, beginning my own faith journey. At the time, I wanted to be a woman of God so badly. When people would ask me what or... Read more
Liz Gentry
“Well, do you feel like God’s called you to ministry?” My mentor’s question made me laugh. Of course I feel like God has called me to ministry! For 5 years I’ve pursued ministry, and God’s call on my life has grown stronger. I’ve never questioned my calling—only my desire for ordination. He then said, “Well, then you should be ordained.” Simple yet profound. My journey toward ministry has been, at the same time, both incredibly beautiful and terribly messy. As a junior in high school, I knew God wanted me to go into vocational ministry and I pursued that calling from then on. I’ll be the first to admit, God has made my path much easier than some. At Milligan College, I never had condescending looks from Bible or ministry... Read more
Lexi Friesen
Grace Church began in 1991 near Indianapolis and has grown into a mega-church of about 6,000 weekly attendees. Their vision for an electric, passionate church has helped allow Grace Church to expand into a second location. On February 9, 2014, Grace Church boldly adopted an egalitarian stance on women in church leadership and people of their congregation and across the globe have been encouraged by their stance. We got in touch with Tim Ayers, the teaching pastor at Grace Church to learn more about the changes that have been made to their church currently and what these changes will mean for Grace Church as they move forward.   LEXI FRIESEN: What were the driving forces behind changing Grace Church’s stance to support women in leadership? TIM AYERS: About ten years ago... Read more
Lexi Friesen
Saint Alphonsa of the Immaculate Conception Sister Alphonsa of the Immaculate Conception, also known as Anna Muttathupadathu, was born in 1910 in Kerala, India. After experiencing the loss of her mother at a young age and then refusing pressure from her aunt to marry and become a housewife, Alphonsamma, as she was called locally, joined a convent at age seventeen. She completed her schooling through the Catholic Church, became a Franciscan nun, and taught at a girls’ high school. Her life as a teacher and sister was cut short as she suffered from multiple injuries and illnesses which lead to her death in 1946. Despite going through great pain, she remained faithful to God and became the first native Indian to be honored as a saint. At a ceremony to announce her canonization... Read more
Tim Krueger
Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin has a habit of making history. Hudson-Wilkin has overcome poverty, racism, sexism, and tradition to become a high-profile minister, trailblazer, and advocate. Born into poverty in Montego Bay, Jamaica, Hudson-Wilkin was raised by her father and aunt in Jamaica, but eventually moved to the UK where she pursued a career as a minister. Some highlights of her ministry include: In 1994, the first year the Church of England ordained women to the priesthood, she was ordained. In 2000, she became the priest of a parish in Hackney (an impoverished area of inner-city London). She was the first woman and the first person of color to lead this parish. In 2007, she became chaplain to the Queen of England. She is the first woman of color to hold this position.... Read more
Lexi Friesen
Harriet Beecher Stowe Author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher was born in Litchfield, Connecticut in 1811. An accomplished writer from a young age, Harriet decided early on that she wanted to use writing to make her voice heard and provide income for her family, especially since she was the seventh of thirteen children and her mother passed away when Harriet was only five years old. She studied and became a teacher at Harford Female Seminary while starting her publishing career, all before she married Calvin Stowe in 1832. Her big break came in 1851 when The National Era contracted her to “paint a word picture of slavery.” After Uncle Tom’s Cabin was released and energized many of the anti-slavery forces, she became a full-time writer. She published more... Read more
Lexi Friesen
Amani Mustafa, a former Muslim, has spent much of her life on the run, facing abuse and neglect, all the while remaining faithful to God. As a teenager, her mom secretly became a Christian while living in a Muslim community in Egypt. Appalled by her mother’s decision, Amani looked for ways to contradict her mother’s newfound faith. Instead, her eyes were opened to the truth of God’s love. She, too, became a Christian. The community she lived in soon found out about her mother’s faith and forced her to flee, but she was unable to take Amani with her. A short time later Amani’s father found her reading a Bible in private and he became abusive and threatening towards her. Because of this, Amani ran away for several years. Upon returning to the community, she w... Read more
Lexi Friesen
Venerable Ann of Jesus Ann Lobera lived from 1545 to 1621. She was a Spanish Discalced (barefoot) Carmelite nun and writer who founded and furthered the ministries of numerous monasteries throughout Europe. While she was serving in Madrid she appealed to the Holy See in order to challenge how she and her fellow nuns were being treated. Her requests were granted by the Pope, but she was punished by the friar in charge of the monastery for circumventing his authority by appealing directly to Rome. The constitutions for nuns that were established because of this conflict are still upheld in many Carmelite convents today. The last three years of her life were spent as the prioress in a congregation in Brussels. It was during this time that she and St. Teresa of Avila worked closely to... Read more
Lexi Friesen
Anne and Elizabeth Hart, sisters only separated in age by a single year, were Methodist leaders on the Carribean island of Antigua. Born into a slaveholding free black family, they were two of the first female writers and educators of black Antiguans – slave or free. They worked through their church and founded schools in order to improve the plight of black Antiguans. In doing so, they set an example for others throughout the Caribbean, although much of the white community still considered them insignificant. Their father, Barry Conyers Hart, had his own conflicts in owning slaves. While he needed people to help run his estate, he agonized over punishment and acted humanely towards his slaves. He offered to help his slaves with affairs such as preparing their manumission papers w... Read more
In commemorating International Women’s Day, we remain sober about the future safety of girls and women. According to the United Nations 35% of the world’s females, over 1/3 have encountered physical abuse in their life. What is more, in most of these communities women are rarely included in the strategies and implementations that address systems that perpetuate their own violence. Too often communities lack a “gender-lens” in dealing with power-imbalances that women and girls are best acquainted with and therefore are best able to address. When developing solutions to gender-based violence, their voice and experience is essential but frequently ignored. What is more, perpetrators depend on the silence of their prey, not only through systems that marginalize their ex... Read more