Asia-Pacific conference supports women's call to ministry
The Asia-Pacific Region held its first online Women’s Clergy Conference earlier this month. The theme of the conference was Cultivating the Call: Advocating and Nurturing the Call for Women in Ministry. Over 300 women and men from 20 countries attended the all-day conference on 9 October. Plenary sessions and workshops were translated into six languages.
Asia-Pacific Regional Director Mark Louw expressed his desire to see this conference be a catalyst in launching each participant as an advocate for women in ministerial leadership. He encouraged participants to look beyond cultural norms to ensure that the most qualified people would be considered for leadership assignments regardless of gender.
The conference included three plenary sessions led by Lena Crouso, Carla Sunberg, and Melba Maggay.
The conference hosted 15 workshops with topics such as what men need to know about women in ministry, holistic health care, empowering to lead, biblical foundations of women ministers, and cultivating space for women to flourish.
In the first plenary session, Lena Crouso, chief diversity officer and vice president of Intercultural Learning and Engagement for Southern Nazarene University, challenged the participants to be pastoral, prophetic, and purposeful voices in support of all women called to ministry. She reminded them that, “The Church is now called to be for your call and it is also their duty to be bound before God to affirm, honor, and champion their calling.”
General Superintendent Carla Sunberg shared her personal testimony, explaining how key mentors in her life championed her calling and journeyed with her through the unique obstacles of full-time ministry for women. Melba Maggay, president of the Institute for Studies in Asian Church and Culture, revealed that though she was educated and equipped for ministry and leadership, she needed “ego strength to lead as she is gifted” instead of simply emulating others.
The Asia-Pacific Nazarene Women’s Clergy Conference plenary session and workshop videos are available online. The region encourages its local church boards and leaders to watch these videos and share them.
“I enjoyed the sessions,” said Cecilia Pei Silovo, an attendee from the Philippines. “It was an eye-opener and very encouraging that we as women in ministry or leadership can also be part of the Great Commission. We just need to make ourselves available.”