By Rewon Shimray | Staff Writer
Four women working in various fields of ministry will share their life stories in a panel discussion at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Paul & Katy Piper Great Hall.
Truett Women in Ministry “Women of Valor” panel discussion will provide networking opportunities, encouraging testimonies, time to ask questions and free pizza, according to vice president of Truett Women in Ministry Stephanie Westberg. An event RSVP form is available online.
Four women, Lori Baker, PhD., Lauren Barron, M.D., Beth Kilpatrick, M.Div, MSW and Pam Rivera, M.Div. represent diverse careers from professors to senior pastors.
Westberg said speakers were chosen to show the various ways “women can still have Christian leadership positions outside the church.” Westberg said she hopes the inclusions of both traditional and nontraditional ministerial roles will “empower women to know about options they have that they may not have had in their hometowns or that they may not have seen themselves doing.”
President of Truett Women in Ministry Brianna Childs said the goal of the event is three-fold: to “equip, empower and educate.”
Childs said spotlighting the capabilities of women gives a unique opportunity for students to see “faces of success stories.”
“It goes along with the #MeToo movement. It is women finding solidarity in places where it can be hard to find,” Childs said.
Childs said it can be discouraging to be a women aspiring to do ministry. The Southern Baptist Convention has formally stated that it “encourage(s) the service of women in all aspects of church life and work other than pastoral functions and leadership roles entailing ordination.”
Westberg said she had several strong role models throughout her undergraduate experience in Ouachita Baptist University.
“I was given opportunities to lead and wasn’t discriminated against because I was a woman, so I want to give that opportunity to others who might not have had that,” Westberg said. “The women we have chosen for this panel are fairly local to Waco, so hopefully this will provide opportunities for follow-up conversations.”
Wesberg said one relationship can help lead someone’s future, not only professionally but also personally.
George W. Truett Theological Seminary also has a growing women alumnae network that has continued to grow since its first graduating class in 1994, according to Westberg.