Golden Gate Seminary’s 2008 Women’s Leadership Conference

Strengthening the Leader Within You 

“When Jesus was present during a tragedy, he spoke from his heart. He wept and shared emotions with the person going through the loss or painful experience,” explained Deb Douglas as she taught the Ministering to Women in Crisis seminar during the Women’s Leadership Conference held at Golden Gate Seminary on March 14 and 15. “He physically touched them, and allowed the person that was hurting to become a priority.” 

The room was filled with women attending the two-day Strengthening the Leader Within You Women’s Leadership Conference. This particular seminar explained how to respond to hurting women and to learn practical tips to help. Douglas assured them that it’s okay to not have all the answers. 

One hundred and ten women came from all over the San Francisco Bay area to attend six seminars taught by Chris Adams, national Southern Baptist Women’s Ministry Leader for LifeWay Christian Resources. She was assisted by Deb Douglas, a conference/retreat speaker and Minister to Women at First Baptist Church in Bossier City, LA. 

The conference was spearheaded by Helen Groat, Women’s Network Coordinator at Golden Gate Seminary and Ann Iorg, wife of seminary president Dr. Jeff Iorg. “This year’s conference was specifically designed to provide tools to help women lead in today’s global setting,” said Groat. 

Jackie Nolen, whose husband was a Golden Gate student in the late 1960s, and whose Attendees Jackie Nolen and Genna Lewis, chatting before the breakout seminar “Surviving Spiritual Warfare in Your Church.”son is an adjunct Golden Gate professor, admits she came to the conference looking for spiritual renewal and encouragement. “Spiritually, it’s a dynamic conference,” she shared. “The information really hits home, especially the Emerging Cultures seminar on how to reach women from other cultures who live here. I’m getting lots of good ideas on how to approach my Muslim neighbor.” She marveled at how she is living out the speaker’s topic, “that the world is coming to us, and we don’t have to travel to foreign lands to reach the unsaved.” 

Attendees Jania Fusilier and Lorraine Combs, who met at the conference, which was a first for both of them.Lorraine Combs, whose husband is in the Seminary’s CLD program (Contextualized Leadership Development), is herself a student. She enjoyed the conference, her first. “My favorite seminar was Women in Crisis. It was very powerful, with a lot of take-aways, and I met some wonderful people.” She was chatting with her newly-made friend Jania Fusilier, whose husband is also a seminary student. Fusilier agreed that the information was very helpful, and especially because she could apply it in her daily life. 

The conference volunteers were impressed by the enthusiasm of those attending. “It’s important for women to know how to effectively reach the women in their community,” said registration chair Dawn Gary. “I was so pleased to have someone tell me ‘This conference came at the right time for me.’ And another woman said ‘I was looking for something just like this.’” Helen Groat, Golden Gate’s Women’s Network Coordinator and Conference Chair, discussing conference logistics with conference volunteers and Golden Gate employees Elizabeth Howeth (Decorations Chair) and Dawn Gary (Registration Chair)

Volunteer Elizabeth Howeth, decorations chair, was as enthusiastic as the attendees. “I appreciated that the leadership empowered me to do what I envisioned. I took the colors of the conference brochure and transformed the room.” She noted that she wouldn’t have typically thought of decorating as a ministry, “but it really made a difference in the presentation of the conference — it all came together with a feeling of welcome, warmth, and comfort.” In the main room the round tables faced a wall of windows revealing the gorgeous panorama of the San Francisco skyline and the bay. “The view contributed to the feeling of a vacation, giving the attendees a feeling of refreshment,” Howeth noted. “Connecting with God’s gift of natural beauty allowed them to focus on their spiritual development, on worship and renewal.” 

LifeWay speaker Chris Adams summed up the purpose of the conference: “There is not a woman today who is a believer in Christ who does not have a place to serve. He has a calling for every woman to perform in Kingdom work, and it’s our job to help them discover what that is.”