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Women's Conference Provides Ministry Training

By Amanda Morad | October 18, 2011

Bishop Anne Gimenez

The School of Divinity at Regent University hosted, "A Woman's High Calling," a training conference for women in ministry, Oct. 13-15. The event focused on restoring, refining and rebuilding women to be effective in ministry. A mix of plenary sessions and workshops afforded attendees a variety of teaching, preaching and worship.

Conference director Ella Thompson, director of Enrollment Services and Marketing for the School of Divinity, said the conference came "in response to the needs expressed by students and the Regent community." With topics spanning apologetics, discerning the call to ministry, professional development, marketplace and cross-cultural ministry, the event's main objective was to link teaching with the manifestation of ministry, she explained.

"As a woman called to ministry leadership, I realize it is difficult to find venues where one can receive Biblically grounded theological training from a renewal perspective alongside practical guidance on maneuvering the challenges and opportunities of ministry in the 21st century," she said.

The women who attended the three day conference came from diverse denominations, races, ages, levels of ministry and locations around the greater Hampton Roads area and Southeast Virginia.

Opening the first plenary session, Mrs. Dede Robertson welcomed guests with a prayer and was followed by Bishop Anne Gimenez, co-founding pastor of Rock Church in Virginia Beach, Va. Gimenez spoke to the opening session's audience on the importance of being filled with the Holy Spirit.

"You must be anointed," she stressed, "You have to hit a home run every time you get up to preach." Gimenez expounded upon several stories of her early years in which many questioned the validity of a woman in ministry. But for every encounter with opposition, her confidence in God's calling grew. "Act like you believe you're called," she said. Gimenez made clear that ministry is not an easy road and that resilience, mentorship and a servant's heart are essential. "Obedience to God will open doors for you," she noted.

Commenting on women in ministry, Gimenez got to the heart of the matter. "The woman issue is not a gender issue," Gimenez suggested. Instead, it's about men and women not truly believing what the Bible says about the Holy Spirit, she said.

Denise Graves, world-renowned worship leader and pastor at Covenant Church of Pittsburgh, led each conference session in worship throughout the conference.

Other keynote speakers included Rev. Debra L. Haggins, director of Religious Studies at Hampton University, and Dr. Elaine Shouse Waller, founding senior pastor of Abundant Life Ministries in Virginia Beach.

Several members of Regent's School of Divinity faculty presented at workshops and in panels during the conference, including Dr. Estrelda Alexander, Dr. Kimberly Alexander, Dr. Diane Chandler and Dr. Mara Crabtree.

The School of Divinity student body is currently 42 percent female. Learn more about Regent's School of Divinity.

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