For the second year in a row, ENC hosted the She Leads Summit as a satellite location.
The She Leads Summit is a conference organized and presented by the Missio Alliance with the purpose of bringing together women and men who support women in ministry to talk about some of the issues that they deal with as they lead together. Event planners said they hoped the summit would equip and empower women who are taking on leadership roles in ministry.
Designed as a cross-denominational event for churches and ministers across the Wesleyan Holiness Tradition, the conference was simulcast from the First Church of the Nazarene in Pasadena, California on October 28. Keri Lewis, assistant dean for community life, organized the event on ENC’s campus while Lynne Bollinger, campus chaplain, helped facilitate.
Bollinger said ENC’s commitment to social justice issues made it the perfect place to host the event.
“ENC was an appropriate venue to be a satellite location because ENC feels so strongly about women co-leading with men in ministry,” Bollinger said. “Our female students feel proud that ENC would step forward and say that this is a place that supports our female students who are feeling called in this way.”
Bollinger noted she was unaware of any other church or Christian organization in the Boston area stepping up as a satellite location. ENC was one of about a dozen satellite locations where people could gather to watch the simulcast, and it was open to members of all Boston area churches. About 40 people attended, including eight students.
“There were so many great speakers and every one of them said something that stuck out to me and empowered me,” said senior Rose Percy. “My biggest takeaways were from our local panelists. It was great to hear their stories, up close and personal.”
ENC had panel discussions about the issues raised during the simulcast which focused on the long work of bringing up female leaders in the church. The three speakers were Jason Condon, director of church planting in the Evangelical Covenant Church in Connecticut; Jossie Owens, the first African American woman district superintendent in the United States; and Kaza Freeley, a pastor of the Nazarene Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Bollinger said that women interested in ministry should consider taking on leadership roles at any level – choir director, Sunday school teacher, youth ministry coordinator – just to get their foot in the door. From there, they might be able to work their way onto a church board where they are able to have a voice and influence decisions made by the church.
“ENC may not be a perfect place,” Bollinger said. “But we wrestle with these issues. We don’t ignore them. We don’t stay silent. Even in our wrestling we’re at least speaking to each other about the issues; we’re struggling with it.”