Fire Side Chat: Women’s Roles in Church and Society
Written by Jessie Polley. Media by Shannon Geary.
On Thursday, February 6th, Dr. Teresa Holden and Dr. Lesley Sieger-Walls spoke at the fourth Fire Side Chat of the year. The topic was women’s roles in church and society, but they covered a variety of areas. They mostly discussed how they got to where they are now, and how to live in the present with whatever we are given. Betsy Wagoner, Executive Administrative Assistant of GCSA, put the Fire Side Chat together and said, “It was nice to have them here. Normally the chats are about school issues, but this was a breath of fresh air.” For those in attendance, there was plenty of pizza to go around thanks to GCSA.
Dr. Sieger-Walls started the chat talking of growing up, and the encouragement she received. She said topics we find controversial today were not that way when she was growing up that she could remember. Her pastor, however, really encouraged her and told her she should be a pastor, “not a pastors wife, but have a leadership role.” She continues, “He saw me not as my ‘sex,’ but with my gifts.” Dr. Sieger-Walls said when women are asked to step into a leadership role in church they say, “I’m not ready yet.”
Dr. Holden continued telling us about the first time she spoke in chapel and how it came about. She told us about how speaking in chapel that one time opened so many doors for her, all she had to do was follow God’s calling in her life. She pointed to Dr. Ben Wayman as an instrumental figure in her life. He asked her to speak at St. Paul’s Free Methodist Church after the chapel service she spoke at, and from there he told her, “You have something to say … God has given you something to say.” Dr. Holden brought up the idea of mentors, and how important they are. No matter if they are older or younger than you, it doesn’t matter, as long as you have a support system around you—encouraging you.
One of the students in attendance asked if they had ever questioned if what they were doing was really what they were meant to do. Dr. Sieger-Walls said, “Yes! I still ask that,” adding, “No matter the support you get, it still get’s lonely. Get mentors, but a majority of the support rest in yourself. Don’t forget that goals change.” Dr. Holden responded, “I never had a five or ten year plan.” She said that she views life like “a ball of yarn,” and we must “trust the path that is unraveling.” Dr. Holden had a her Masters degree, but couldn’t find a job right away and ended up moving back in with her parents. She found it very discouraging, but she also never gave up. Dr. Sieger-Walls said recalls how serious of a planner she use to be, always wondering “What’s next?” She liked to check things off, but said “plans don’t always follow suit.” Meaning the things that happen to us may not always be what we plan. We can’t plan out our life—curve balls will be thrown at us—but that’s fine because God has a plan for us.
Change happens sudden—it is inevitable—just ask any professor or senior on campus. Dr. Holden challenged us to “find our voice,” and Dr. Sieger-Walls spoke on vulnerability. Dr. Holden also talked about keeping our priorities straight, and making choices based on “will I be present …” In the end, everything boiled down to being yourself, and embracing our own path’s because, as Dr. Holden said, “No one else has your path.”