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Women's group keeps students connected

By Julie Ooms

Women students at Dordt College who need to feel connected, or who want an atmosphere where they are free to discuss important issues or struggles, or who want a safe place to talk about things or sensitive issues, can often find their needs met by Women of Promise, a women’s Bible study group.

Started three years ago in the fall of 2003, Women of Promise comprises sixty women split into eight small groups of six or seven. In these close-knit circles women discuss anything from their sexuality to their spiritual lives and study biblical truths pertaining to themselves and their callings in the world. Linsay Carlson, a resident director and the founder of the group, says that when she presented the idea at GIFT one evening three years ago, there was an immediate and overwhelming response.

Women of Promise outreach and leadership team includes students from a wide range of majors. Pictured are: front row: Nichole Timmer, Jaime Altena, Lindsey Snieder, Shannon Van Staalduinen, Jackie Miedema; second row: Megan Moore, Rachel Daale, Sheila De Stigter, Abby De Groot, Linsay Carlson; third row: Jami Smith, Valerie Sinnema, Maggie Kloet

Women of Promise outreach and leadership team includes students from a wide range of majors. Pictured are: front row: Nichole Timmer, Jaime Altena, Lindsey Snieder, Shannon Van Staalduinen, Jackie Miedema; second row: Megan Moore, Rachel Daale, Sheila De Stigter, Abby De Groot, Linsay Carlson; third row: Jami Smith, Valerie Sinnema, Maggie Kloet

“There seems to be a need for something like Women of Promise at Dordt,” Carlson says. “I think the group provides an answer to this generation’s longing for connectedness.” Carlson also believes that the group provides women with encouragement for acts of kingdom service.

“One of the main goals of Women of Promise is to empower women to serve in the kingdom,” says Carlson.

Along with leading and organizing the small groups dotting Dordt’s campus, Carlson and her fellow Women of Promise leaders plan retreats and outreaches, not only for Dordt students but also for high school students and church youth groups. On February 3, 2006, the group organized a retreat for Dordt women. They’ve been to St. Louis to conduct a retreat at a Fine Arts high school, have held similar retreats and conventions (mostly for women, but sometimes co-ed) for area youth groups and Western Christian High School, and plan on going to Colorado Springs this summer to serve some youth groups there.

Even with such events behind them and more in the works, Carlson says Women of Promise is still in the start-up stage. She hopes the group will expand to be a campus-wide ministry for women, including a prayer ministry, a website, a group of leaders to minister to prospective women students, and a team that focuses on development for women in leadership. The ultimate goal of the group, Carlson says, is that all the women who are leaders now may go on to serve as leaders somewhere in their own churches and communities, being active in the kingdom.