In 2009, Pastor Christine A. Smith (Senior Pastor, Covenant Baptist Church; Wickliffe, Ohio) invited six other female ministers to sign and submit a grant proposal to the Ministers' Council (A national ministerial organization of the American Baptist Churches, USA) for a "Together in Ministry" grant funded through the Lily Foundation.
In January of 2010, we received notification that the proposal was accepted and the grant was given. The "Women Together in Ministry of Greater Cleveland Network" was born!
Women Together in Ministry of Greater Cleveland (WTIM) is an ecumenical network designed to provide encouragement, information sharing between female clergy, resources, praise reports and upcoming events. Although the founders of WTIM and Advisory Board members were American Baptist female clergy, groups of all denominations are welcomed to be listed in the Female Clergy Directory and on the website. The vision for the Network is to provide connections, opportunities for ministerial growth and exposure for female clergy in the Greater Cleveland area.
Our guiding Scripture is taken from Hebrews 10:25 (NIV) which states:
“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
The seven orginal grant proposal signers, who also served as the Board of Advisors for the Network were:
Pastor Christine A. Smith, Senior Pastor, Covenant Baptist Church; WTIM Facilitator
Rev. Camille Brown, Associate Minister, Grace Tabernacle Baptist Church; WTIM Financial Secretary
Pastor Rena B. Hunter (Baker), Senior Pastor, Church of the Master
Rev. Dr. Margaret Mitchell, Assistant to the Pastor for Ministry Support; Director, Olivet Health and Education Institute - Olivet Institutional Baptist Church (deceased)
Rev. Julia Moses, Associate Minister/Minister of Christian Education, Covenant Baptist Church; Chaplain, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation
Rev. Itherine Spencer, Mentor/President - Affinity Baptist Church Ministers' Council, Minister of Visitation - Affinity Baptist Church
Rev. Clifflora Wright, Associate Minister, Olivet Institutional Baptist Church; Chaplain, Cleveland Clinic Foundation; Chaplain VITAS Intergrated Hospice
*Sister Kathryn Johnson, WTIM Recording Secretary (Support person for Board); Minister in Training, Covenant Baptist Church
Currently, WTIM functions primarily as an online network, sharing information and encouraging support for one another, sponsoring periodic gatherings, conferences, concerts, etc:
Pastor Christine A. Smith continues to serve as the Facilitator
Rev. Camille Brown continues to serve as the Financial Secretary
Since its founding, WTIM has held two national conferences (2011 and 2012), two community concerts, numerous "eblasts" to keep clergy women abreast of "happenings" throughout the Greater Cleveland Area and nation and an active prayer request/prayer support community for network participants.
Currently the WTIM Network has over 100 participants both locally and nationally.
Future events will involve leadership/guidance from the Facilitator in collaboration with WTIM Network members.
The WTIM Network Goals are to:
· Provide a website that will include a Directory of licensed/ordained clergy throughout the Greater Cleveland area. The WTIM website will also include a listing of female clergy/ministry groups along with their respective leaders.
· Provide support to and information sharing between groups.
· Provide an opportunity for female clergy to share information about their group on the WTIM website.
· Have periodic events where as many of our groups as possible can come together and learn, share, support and lift one another in the ministry.
· Provide greater opportunities for female clergy to share their gifts and talents and gain exposure through periodic workshops or special speaking opportunities.”
We praise God for providing this wonderful opportunity for female clergy to come together, support one another, share with one another teach and lift one another as we seek to do God's will, bringing glory to His name!