Our third Women’s Leadership Initiative cohort will soon gather for the first time. Twelve women will begin their M.Div. studies together at Conception Abbey near Kansas City with Dr. Molly T. Marshall and Dr. Angela Jackson. Their classes will continue online through Zoom Room, and in traditional class settings in Nashville, TN, over the next four years.
Over the course of their study, these women will come to know each other well and will rely on each other as they embark on an overseas contextual learning experience, explore areas of interest through internship placements, and read and write in the many classes they take together. Mentoring will also be an integral part of their experience as Central students, with each student participating in group mentoring led by Dr. Eileen Campbell-Reed during their first year of study, and then experiencing a relationship with a personal mentor over the final three years of their program.
The 2018 cohort is a diverse group in many ways. Latina, African-American, and Caucasian women ranging from their twenties to their sixties comprise this group. One just graduated from law school and another runs a non-profit that assists students from historically black colleges and universities. Among the group, we also have a professional musician and author, as well as a retired school principal who most recently focused her energies on artistic endeavors and on connecting people in the community interested in participating in conversation and pursuing collaborative work.
We are just beginning to learn the stories of these women. They all feel a calling to seminary and a desire to listen for how God works in their lives now and will continue to work in their lives in the future. Some have a clear idea of what they hope to do after earning their degree, and some are simply interested in exploring in order to determine what God may call them to do next. They are already gifted leaders, and embarking with them on this journey is truly exciting. We will have the privilege of watching these women hone their leadership skills and practice their ministerial skills in service for others. What will it be like to observe a woman with experience as a police officer more fully discover her gifts of leadership within the Christian community? What will we learn together as we see a woman who already has a speaking platform in churches start to integrate her seminary training fully into her work? The 2018 Women’s Leadership Initiative is a group full of potential, and we are thrilled to be working with them and walking alongside them! Anticipating what each will do in their communities after graduating inspires us to do this important work!