Women's Center for Ministry Newsletter 
May 2020
In this issue:
-Summer 2020 Women's Transformational Leadership Class!
  Learn how you can audit WL503
-Measure of Faith
  an article by Rachel Bell
-Rest Certain
  a poem by Leanne Stanton
-The Unexpected
  an article by Marie Dezellem
-Fall 2020 Women's Transformational Leadership Class!
  Learn how you can enroll for WL508
Special CoronaVirus Devotionals to receive these, sign up HERE
Women's Transformational Leadership (WL) Summer 2020 Class!
Learn more about WL503

Wondering how to invest your life for kingdom purposes during this pandemic? Why not join us for Women in Pain 2, a class that can equip you to minister more effectively to others struggling during this time of sheltering in place. Taught by Marie Dezellem, an ER nurse presently serving Christ and the Portland community on the front lines, no doubt Marie will bring to the classroom her own rich stories of how God is empowering her to minister to others during these trying times.  


Below is a description of the class to be taught by ZOOM, all from the comfort of your own home.  Don’t let technology hold you back. You’ll be sent a ZOOM link and be in class before you know it!  Here’s what it’s all about:  

WL 503 // Women in Pain, Part 2
Revisiting additional aspects of emotional pain in women’s lives, this course enables an increased awareness of pain through biblical experience and the lives of women today. Students will identify tools of compassionate, effective, and strategic pastoral care. They will learn about local resources for those in pain and/or their caregivers, how to make appropriate referrals, and how to understand empathic listening and presence. Issues discussed will include miscarriage, child death, infertility, parents in pain, religious abuse, physical disabilities, chronic pain, and homelessness. In addition to the in-class topics, other issues students may choose to explore via a reflection/research paper could include terminal illness, military families, and incarcerated women. Students will be taught by an ER nurse on the front lines of this pandemic, the author of “The Unexpected,” an article in this month’s newsletter. 1 credit.
  • Graduate Credit Application Deadline: March 1
  • Graduate Credit Class Registration Deadline: March 30
  • Cost for Graduate Credit: $600
  • Application: If you have not yet applied to Western Seminary, you can do so on our website, or by clicking this link here 

  • Prerequisite: High school diploma or GED
  • Application and Registration due: the week before class starts.
  • Cost to Audit: $130
  • To Enroll: Click Here! (This option allows you to take classes for audit OR to earn a certificate).
Instructor:  Marie Dezellem
Location:  Western Seminary Portland Campus
                   5511 SE Hawthorne Blvd
                   Portland, OR 97215
Dates:   June 5 & 6, 2020
              9:00am - 4:30pm
Measure of Faith
an article by Rachel Bell

“I never felt like I had enough faith.”


I was shocked. My friend’s testimony revolved around one overwhelming conflict, an insecurity of faith. Sure, I have had lots of moments where I disparaged my lack of faith, but her? This friend whose unwavering boldness always intimidated and inspired me?


She grew up on the mission field, in a country that blended Islam and Voodoo. She was surrounded by darkness and light: pustulating diseases miraculously healed, demon possessed natives rescued and restored, exhausted parents and neighboring missionary families constantly crying out to the Holy Spirit, His saving power reaching out to help time and time again.


Yet while surrounded by darkness, nothing ever happened to her. She thought something was wrong with her, that while every other Christian she knew was deeply engaged in all of these supernatural experiences, she was not. She believed it was because she didn’t have enough faith.


So, she overcompensated, throwing herself into all leadership ministries, doing anything and everything to prove to God, others, and herself that she DID have enough faith. Outside, she was a bold, brave leader in the church. Inside, her insecurities and doubts consumed her.


Every single woman in our bible study hung onto her story as if we were frozen, waiting for the end. It was so real, so honest, and most of all so relatable. How many times had each of us plastered on a good face, throwing ourselves deeper into “doing”, trying to atone for the fact that we weren’t enough? 


As I sat, I realized that these beliefs that we had about ourselves were not founded on truth, but on a misunderstanding of faith, why Christ died for us. You see, we will never measure up on our own. It is only through Jesus Christ, that we are made enough.


“...for we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” - Hebrews 4:14-16 ESV


We try so hard to compensate for our weaknesses, we forget that weakness is the origin of all faith! It is only through us admitting our helplessness that we can finally accept that we need God, surrendering our will for His, receiving His grace. 


When we have been crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20), God assigns to each of us a measure of faith (Romans 12:3). Hebrews 11:1 tells us that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Faith is meant to be grown! We do not receive salvation and then BAM immediately receive a FULL PORTION of faith. No, it matures as we walk with Christ, listen to the Holy Spirit, and surrender our lives further and further to Him. 


It was only later that my friend discovered that it was not a lack of faith that kept things from happening to her, but God’s provision. Recognizing that allowed her to heal and fall into a deep loving relationship with the Lord (a relationship through which God has worked many miracles for others).


It is not the question of “Do I have enough faith?”, but "Am I walking out in the faith that God has given me?" 


“...he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ (the founder and perfecter of faith - Hebrews 12:2) may dwell in your hearts through faith - that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”  - Ephesians 3:16-19 ESV

Rachel Bell is a reluctant writer. Called out of her comfortable field of physical therapy, God redirected her to become an author, to reveal His truths and miraculous hope to the world through the written word. Through the Lords leading, Rachel recently published a book, an advent devotional called the 24 Nights Before Christmas. She lives in BZ Corners where she is currently working on her debut fantasy novel, and is passionate about encouraging others through her blog at .

Rest Certain
a poem by Leanne Stanton

Rest certain, be secure!

The earth is His and all that is in it.

It is subdued in Jesus name.


Fear not He has gone every way,

I am has never changed!


The God who parted the sea,

He lives within me!

Leanne Stanton is a preschool teacher at a Christian center and does ABA therapy for children with autism. She is incredibly passionate about helping families find new ways to communicate with and understand their children. She wholeheartedly pours into her work teaching children about God's love for them, and finds it both deeply rewarding and challenging. 

The Unexpected
an article by Marie Dezellem

With the advent of COVID-19 we are living in unprecedented and unexpected times.  I’m sure we can all finish the sentence “I never expected to…” with a long list of things.  I know I never expected to be a nurse in a pandemic without sufficient protective equipment in a first world country.  I also never expected to not be able to see my church family for months on end.  Many of us are facing loneliness, financial uncertainty, anxiety about our health or the health of those we love, and the list goes on. 

Thankfully, we serve a God who is not surprised by this nor is His power compromised by this.  This pandemic has not hamstrung our God or His ability to redeem our brokenness and pain.  Recently, I was reading in Luke chapter one and I was struck by the unexpectedness of Gabriel’s visit to Mary.  Gabriel appeared to a young girl in a little known town and gave her earth shattering news she certainly wasn’t expecting.  She would bear the Messiah.  The one promised to rescue the people of Israel. 

While filled with opportunity, this news wouldn’t come without a cost.  Mary would risk divorce, being stoned to death, as well as her reputation and relationships.  Yet Mary’s response models for us how to respond to the unexpected.  She says “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”  The word here for servant is the same word used in Paul’s magnificent description in Philippians two where he depicts how Jesus emptied himself of any privileges he could claim as God, took on the nature of a servant, and humbled himself unto death on a cross.  This beautiful, humble, sacrificial love is what brought about our salvation.

By the grace of God, Mary was able to see her unexpected motherhood as an opportunity to show sacrificial love and obedience.  Ultimately, Mary’s willingness to sacrifice to be our Savior’s mom points us toward His extravagant, sacrificial love.  This challenges me deeply as I think about the unexpected things in my own life.  The unexpected may bring pain and require sacrifice, but the unexpected will also provide me opportunity to imitate the sacrificial love of Jesus. 

It’s easy to count the unexpected losses this pandemic has caused.  Those are real and valid and to be grieved.  But if I’m going to live as a person of Hope, I must choose to look for how these same losses and pains provide me opportunity to point others to Jesus.  The world around us is hurting and needs the eternal hope of life and love to come.  I hope that we can look at our circumstances through the eyes of a young girl who lived long ago and use the unexpected to God’s glory.


Marie Dezellem finds deep joy in teaching and studying God’s Word and helping others do the same. She holds a Master of Arts in Biblical and Theological Studies from Western Seminary where she serves as an adjunct instructor for Women in Pain II.  Marie works as an ER nurse and teaches women’s Bible studies at Yamhill Christian Church.  In the past, she has been a program director at a Christian camp and a youth pastor.  She enjoys speaking, reading, gardening, snuggling with her cat, sipping chai tea, and traveling with her husband James.

Women's Transformational Leadership (WL) Fall 2020 Class!
Learn more about WL508
  • Graduate Credit Application Fall Early Deadline: June 1
  • Graduate Credit Application Fall FINAL Deadline: July 1
  • Graduate Credit Class Registration Deadline: July 31
  • Cost for Graduate Credit: $600
  • Application: If you have not yet applied to Western Seminary, you can do so on our website, or by clicking this link here 

  • Prerequisite: High school diploma or GED
  • Application and Registration due: the week before class starts.
  • Cost to Audit: $130
  • To Enroll: Click Here! (This option allows you to take classes for audit OR to earn a certificate).
Special Coronavirus Devotionals 
We would like to bless you! Two gifted women in our city are writing/speaking daily blessings for their own church women’s Bible Studies:

Michelle Ruetschle, senior pastor’s wife at Sunset Presbyterian Church has felt called to write a M-F daily devotional for her church family to bring them hope during these unprecedented days. She is delighted to share them with our WCM reading audience.  

Mary Ann Noack, Pastor to Women at River West Church, is speaking 15 minutes daily (M-F) on the nature of God to steady her flock during these trying days.  She too, is eager to share the links with us. 

Lisa Reiff, our IGNITE worship team leader is eager to share links to her live FB page.  Amanda Zentz will add other songs so we can worship daily as a community.

We pray these will be a great blessing each day, helping you to pause, to be still and know that He is God!  If you prefer to unsubscribe from the daily devotionals, you can do so without unsubscribing from our monthly newsletters, as they will be separate emails.  


To receive these, sign up HERE !

Contact us! We'd love to hear from you!

Women's Center for Ministry at Western Seminary

Phyllis Bennett, Director
Amanda Zentz, Administrative Assistant
Phone: 503.517.1931
Fax: 503.517.1889

5511 SE Hawthorne Blvd
Portland, OR 97215

The opinions expressed by the various authors in this newsletter do not necessarily represent those of Western Seminary. We provide information on an as-is basis. We make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this blog, nor will we be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its use.
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