Archive for February, 2015

God-given Rights

1 Comment » Written on February 24th, 2015     
Filed under: Testimonies and Stories

Evelmyn Ivens was born in Mexico and moved to the United States during her teenage years. Graduated from North Park Theological Seminary in 2013 with a MA in Theological Studies and works at the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) in Chicago. Evelmyn has lived in Los Angeles, CA, Washington, DC, and Chicago, IL, enjoys traveling and learning about other cultures. She’s passionate about issues of immigration, hunger, poverty, and human trafficking.


A couple of weeks ago I was watching A Path Appears, a three-part documentary that looks into gender inequality in the U.S. and around the globe. If you haven’t heard of it, I encourage you to take a look here. After watching the first part, which discusses human trafficking and prostitution in the U.S. I couldn’t help to think about my trip to Thailand with North Park’s Global Partnerships ( Even though this trip was so transforming, there’s something that I think about often and that I still struggle to process.

During the last part of our trip we had the opportunity to connect with a woman who serves women and men of Bangkok’s Red-light district. It was heartbreaking to see mostly young women, been used in such a way, and that only God knows their pain and suffering. Right before that trip to Thailand I wrote a paper for seminary on the immigrant church and human trafficking, so I share with you all an excerpt of that paper: Continue Reading »

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Congregations As Sites Of Redemption

4 comments Written on February 16th, 2015     
Filed under: Testimonies and Stories

Jo Ann Deasy is a Covenant pastor who has served in a variety of ministerial roles including Youth Intern, Minister of Christian Education, Dean of Students, and Solo Pastor. She is currently serving as Director, Institutional Initiatives and Student Research at the Association of Theological Schools in Pittsburgh.


This past month Sojourner Covenant Church in Evanston, IL called Rev. Jennifer Gillan as their senior pastor. Jennifer is the third woman to serve as the pastor of this particular church. Rev. Isolde Anderson served the church in the 1990’s and I had the honor of serving as pastor from 2010 to 2014. Serving as pastor of Sojourner Covenant was incredibly redemptive for me. Yes, there were struggles. Yes, at times they were related to gender. But the positives far outweighed the negatives. Here are just a few:


• The church never wondered about calling a woman pastor. They did not have to study the issue for the first time. They did not worry about people who might leave the church if they called a woman. All I had to be concerned about were the normal issue related to transitioning into a new position. I didn’t have to worry about the added baggage of defending my right to serve. Continue Reading »

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Fantasy Church

Post a Comment » Written on February 10th, 2015     
Filed under: Testimonies and Stories

imageBecky Esser is a first year student at Seattle Pacific Seminary. Becky is working towards a Masters of Divinity, hoping to work in children’s ministry. She is working at Highland Covenant Church as the Children’s Ministry Intern. Being a native Washingtonian, Becky loves coffee and being outdoors.

When I started Seminary this fall, there was a trip out to a campsite for the new cohort. We spent four days reading theology, sharing testimonies, playing games and eating s’mores. One evening we made up a game, “Fantasy Church,” where we each got to choose staff for our imaginary churches. The game consisted of multiple rounds starting with pastor, theologian and worship band. For my first two rounds I chose Rachel Held Evans and Sarah Bessey. These were the first two Christian authors I read who really believe that women have a place in ministry. The third round was for the worship musician at our church and I was going to have the last pick. For round three, all of the Christian bands I had thought of were chosen, so I had to think of an alternate. Having recently bought Mandisa’s album I choose her. I instantly realized what I had unintentionally done: chosen all women. I paused, wondering if anyone would question my choice.

I had intentionally chosen Seattle Pacific Seminary because of their inclusivity of women in ministry. Female professors teach classes and over half of the seminary students are women. I expected it would be a place where I would be accepted and encouraged as I pursued ministry by my professors. But what about these classmates I had only known for a couple of days?

The silence was broken by a male voice, jokingly asking, “Are you going to only hire women for your church?” I smiled to buy time as I decided how to answer. Why not? For a game, did it really matter? Would this moment define how they saw me? Two of the women playing responded before I could. One asked, “Why shouldn’t she?” while the other wondered, “Are you going to recruit any women for your church?” It was true he, like some of the others in the group, had not chosen any women yet. Assurances were made that they were just about to recruit women and the game went on. Continue Reading »

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