As a Woman, Why Study at Gordon-Conwell?
Gordon-Conwell has a rich and unique history beginning with its founders, Rev. A. J. and Maria Gordon, who together started the coeducational Boston Missionary Training School in 1889. Since the origin of our school, women have always been included in the evangelical training of pastors and missionaries.
Today our faculty and staff are committed to supporting and equipping women in their callings, whether that is full-time ministry, the workplace or the academy. In recognition of our intriguing history, one of A. J. Gordon’s articles written in 1894 was recently republished in Gordon-Conwell’s Africanus Journal, titled “The Ministry of Women.” It was a revolutionary article in support of women for its time and is still a relevant message for today. In 2018, President Dennis Hollinger reaffirmed Gordon-Conwell’s longstanding commitment to women in ministry.
In alignment with the Gordons’ vision, we as a school are dedicated to providing a safe environment for women to pursue theological education as they explore controversial issues surrounding gender, ministry, and the church.
Engage and take courses with our female faculty in all departments — Biblical Studies, Christian Thought and Practical Theology—as they provide a uniquely feminine perspective, sharing their personal experiences from the academic and ministerial worlds.
Gordon-Conwell offers specific courses on women such as:
Gordon-Conwell students are able to take classes through the Boston Theological Institute (BTI) where many other courses and events are offered in women’s studies. Classes such as “Women in Scripture,” offered at Boston College; “Feminist and Womanist Theologies” at Boston University; and “Contending Sex and Gender, Making Early Christianity,” taught at Harvard Divinity School.
Gordon-Conwell offers a variety of resources on campus for women focused on encouraging them in their spiritual growth. These resources provide a supportive community for women growing in confidence in their call by God to serve the church.
This resource is focused on gathering women students, staff, spouses and faculty together for helpful dialogue and encouragement. Annual retreats are offered along with discussion forums on women’s issues. Once a month, women come together in a book-club style gathering to discuss theological articles, papers or videos in order to engage with cultural issues as a group.
The Women’s Council provides scholarships for students and opportunities for fellowship among women who share an interest in the Seminary. Events focus on special music, speakers from the Gordon-Conwell community, including students who benefit from the Women’s Council scholarship fund, and a luncheon.
While at Gordon-Conwell, I learned about the necessity of representation as a black woman in a predominately white society and how that plays out ethically and theologically. Reading books by woman and feminist theologians combined with conversing with other women on campus who understand the pressures and challenges that women face while at seminary enhanced my experience greatly.
Denicia Ratley, MAME ’15 & MATH ’16 Assistant Director of Faith, Reflection & Chaplaincy at Babson College
I am grateful to God for the theological training I received at Gordon-Conwell. I chose Gordon-Conwell because of its commitment to the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and to the truthfulness of the Scriptures; its emphasis on the local church; its legacy of training in expositional preaching; its passion for evangelism and global missions; and its cultural and theological diversity. But I could not have anticipated how the Lord would bless me relationally. The Lord granted me many refreshing and transformative relationships within my local church. He also provided deep friendships with my classmates and my professors, and I still partner with many of them in regular prayer and encouragement in our various spheres of service. Above all, the Lord strengthened my love for him as I pressed into his Word.
Mary Willson, MDiv ’09 & Th.M. ’10, Ph.D. Student in the Old Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School & Associate Director of Women’s Initiatives for The Gospel Coalition
Gordon-Conwell embraces women who want to be equipped for the work of the ministry. I was challenged by the passion the professors showed for Christ and also for us. I changed from the MAR to the MDiv after my first year at Gordon-Conwell. I would have gone on to pursue an academic career had I not been convinced to give my life to full-time ministry within that first year. One of my professors sat with me for hours to listen to me and prayed for me. Their wisdom and guidance challenged me and changed the trajectory of my life from only pursuing a career to pursuing the Lord Himself.
Yukari Hata, MDiv ’13 & Th.M. ’15, Assistant Pastor at Shukugawa Bible Church, Japan
My experience as a woman at Gordon-Conwell was unique, as I was one of the few married women whose husband was not a student, which was particularly surprising as my husband and I are both complementarians. I was always met with tremendous support. A number of the faculty encouraged me in my studies which gave me confidence that I belonged in the classroom and at Gordon-Conwell to study God’s word. The tools I learned from Drs. Donna & Tom Petter, Dr. Ed. Keazirian, Dr. Patrick Smith, and so many others, constantly guide me in my current role as Director of Children’s Ministries at North Park Church. Their words direct me as I choose curriculum, train and equip volunteers and teach our children about God’s word.
Jill Benson, MAOT’ 12 & MABL ’12, Director of Children’s Ministries, North Park Church
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