A Powerful Presence: Rev. Cheryl Wade Helped me Discern My Call
By Rev. Heather Entrekin, American Baptist Women in Ministry Annual Appeal Steering Committee
I believe that God calls us through all the experiences of our lives, but it wasn’t until I saw Rev. Dr. Cheryl Wade in the pulpit at LaSalleStreet Church in Chicago one summer, where she was substituting for our vacationing pastor, that I started to recognize my own call.
Her sermon was excellent, but it was her presence that spoke to me most profoundly. Almost 30 years of age and seeing for the first time a woman preach, I felt a deep sense of belonging and worth that, until then, I had not realized was missing in my faith experience.
When I tried to describe this epiphany to a male friend after the service, he dismissed it with a few choice Pauline texts. I could not articulate a theology to counter his contempt, but I knew that my experience of God’s inviting presence through a woman in the pew was true. Those jarring proof texts helped to propel me to seminary where I hoped to learn a few texts of my own for future rebuttals. Instead, a call to ministry grew clearer and stronger.
What a joy to serve God who calls and values each human being created in God’s image and expects us to do no less. I am thankful for women who have refused to constrain the breadth and imagination of God along gender lines in ministry or anywhere else.
View additional American Baptist Women in Ministry Mentor Stories here.