Giving back to those who give as a profession, the Florida Baptist Convention, Central Region held the Pastors and Wives Gala Celebration at the elegant Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in Orlando, this past May. Attendees were honored for their ministry and enjoyed a beautiful evening filled with praise, worship, music and a delicious meal. Each pastor’s wife received a swag bag gift and the pastors received an online support package, valued at $300, of online pulpit helps and commentaries, all courtesy of the Florida Baptist Convention (FBC) and LifeWay, Biblical Solutions for life.
Casa Porta Dos de Glorious, an incredible praise team, led the congregation in worship while ministering in four different languages: English, Spanish, Creole and Portuguese. “One choir, four languages, multicultural, multifaceted, multigenerational- this praise team led us in worship and it was glorious”, stated Pastor Jeffery Singletary, Central Region Catalyst of the FBC, who was a speaker at the function. The next group to lead the congregation was Jesus Fanatics. “Everyone was standing on their feet, praising God. The gala was a phenomenal success!”
Next, Dr. Tommy Green, Executive Director-Treasurer of the FBC facilitated a question and answer panel discussion with FBC wives Amber Singletary, Karen Green, Archalena Coats, Susan Townsend and Cindy Dowdy. “These ladies shared out of the vast reservoir of ministry as a pastor’s wife. It was such an encouragement to each wife to hear these women share their joy and challenges of being in ministry, laboring alongside their husband as he shepherds the people of God,” said Singletary. “The FBC wives shared it all: raising their children in an aquarium called the church, always on display, always with an expectation, with them placed on a pedestal, judged by different standards and pressures.” Collectively, this FBC wives’ panel has over 100 years of experience!
Archalena Coats said, “The event was a wonderful reminder that we must use our ministry experiences to help others. It was an intimate time to share our authentic experiences “in these shoes”, meaning being a pastor’s wife. Events like this are needed because so many Ministry families don’t have a safe place to share their joys and heartaches as a Ministry couple! It was a blessing to see the impact this time made on the pastors and their wives!”
“I felt honored to be part of the panel. The pastor’s wife role is a difficult and sometimes thankless one, so it was nice to have a night that allowed them time to gather and worship with other wives. All pastors’ wives have their own personal journey, so I think it was helpful to hear several different perspectives,” said Susan Townsend. “… my call to be a Christ follower helped me find my role in our church. I focused on those ministries in which I felt God had gifted me, not simply the roles others felt I “should” do as the pastor’s wife. I also shared with the ladies that deepening and strengthening my own personal walk with Christ by reading through His word and prayer was my best “tool” to help my husband in his role.”
Cindy Dowdy said, “Several ladies came up to me afterwards and some asked if they could contact me further. It is our charge as [seasoned] pastors’ wives to pour into others, and it would be my delight to support them. I think it was very encouraging to them to have several ladies speak authentically and be encouraging in their role as a pastor’s wife. Ladies from all walks were represented there, coming from various backgrounds, allowing it to touch a lot of different women.”
The gala inspired a plan to create an extended event for 2020. The FBC Central Region is preparing to do a pastors and wives retreat next year to further speak into the lives of more pastors and their wives in a longer, more intimate setting. Additional information regarding the 2020 schedule, to come.