By Alisha Smith Haddock
We have a unique opportunity at this present time, to support called women of God. Women deserve the specific support of other women as we go out and serve each other and our communities. Our children, especially our girls, need examples of women working together and creating spaces for other women to do the work God has called them to do.
In our current climate, where women make less than men in the workplace and we even hear the president of the United States call women “nasty” and other thoughtless names, we must stand together and stand up for what we believe in: a God who values women and the work that we accomplish, individually and collectively. Seminary is a good place to begin intentionally supporting women in ministry and women called by God.
Seminary can be difficult when women are isolated or primarily surrounded by men. I’ve been in settings where I was one of two women in a classroom full of male students including a male professor. Historically, seminaries were not a positive learning environment for women. I remember being told by an older male pastor when I was first called to ministry that women who attended the school where I planned to enroll were promiscuous and not taken seriously. Of course that comment was meant to discourage me, but as I look back 12 years later, and through the lens of my own growth, I realize how important it is to stand together as women and speak up for women called by God.
We know that God is the one who calls women and men to do work on God’s behalf. We also know that we are all created in the image of God, so we all bear the qualities and character of the Creator, Sustainer, Healer, and Giver of Life. The role of women in the Bible has shown many sides of the call of women and the effects of sisterhood. In Numbers 27:1-11, readers see what women, sisters, can do together. The five daughters of Zelophehad stood together and found strength within each other to make change in their community and make opportunities for themselves, as women. We can do the same, right now. We have too.
Women need each other, even in seminary life. Women need an empowering community of sisterhood. Having a community of healthy like-minded women can be beneficial in the classroom where we learn and in the community that we serve. Having a sisterhood in seminary can help us become better servants and servant leaders.