I hope this finds you safe from the storms of illness and despair. 2020 has been a tough time for so many. Yet you, women of faith, have found a way to not only navigate your way through the turbulence, but also encourage others on the journey.
Since Covid joined our world last March, I have tried to continue bringing you programing that would keep us connected to each other and inspire us to stay close to God, our Source. It’s been challenging to do things I’ve never done before and get speakers who would join us to speak to an empty sanctuary or join us remotely when we weren’t completely sure how to do that. I can’t say enough good things about Brent Manning and the St. Luke’s staff. They have never hesitated to try and do anything that I asked of them on behalf of our efforts to connect. We have tried. I hope you got to see the December program, I felt it was exceptionally well done given the circumstances. Thanks to Mo Anderson, we had the beautiful soprano, Sarah Coburn. Because online viewing is a challenge for some, we bought some television time on an alternate channel to make it more accessible. In addition to Esther Women, it was well received by the public. KAUT reported that approximately 5,600 people tuned in.
I’ve heard from some of you that the programming effort has been meaningful, but as time as gone on, the task has become greater. We’ve all become weary of online viewing, and speakers are more reluctant to speak through that format. I’ve come to the conclusion, through prayer, that it’s better for us to reschedule the rest of the Esther Women series until fall, 2021. I have contacted our speakers. Every one of them would prefer to speak to you in person, rather than trying to do it remotely or to a smaller audience. I have to agree that it is too complicated to try to add an audience during this time. So much of what we share is not just content but is true fellowship. We shall have that again, and I am hoping and praying that the time will be at least by September, 2021.
With your permission, I will credit the rest of your season dues toward next year ($55). We will try to refund the remainder of this season if desired. However, I cannot guarantee how timely that will be, since we don’t have a dedicated employee to perform this task. If you have questions or would like a refund, please contact Lauren Clanin at email@example.com or (405) 609-1030.
I believe God is preparing our next season to be the most meaningful we have ever had. I will continue to be in touch with you through this spring, and we’ll begin registering for next year before you know it.
To be together in thought for 2021, I’m mailing you this letter as well as a bookmark with one of my favorite scriptures, Psalm 28:7. Following a scary surgery in my life, I was struggling with depression, so I started walking in the backyard of my home. At first, it was barely five minutes, but day after day it became a longer, meaningful ritual. Throughout the walk, I would repeat this scripture, made personal, “You, Lord, are my strength and shield. My heart trusts in You, and I am helped.” Planting these words in my heart and mind, day after day, made it true. God was the One who gave me strength when I felt so weak that five minutes walking was an eternity. He was the one who was my Shield when the enemy of despair and depression knocked on my door. And when my heart grew in trust in the Savior of the world, I was deeply helped — peace entered, hope was restored, love grew.
This scripture is my prayer for you in 2021.
Esther Women is a monthly program tailored for women of faith led by Former Miss America and TV news anchor Jane Jayroe.
With special guests ranging from state leaders to the mothers of NBA superstars, Esther Women is designed to create meaningful dialogue and strengthen fellowship for Christian women as they navigate family, work and spiritual fulfillment.
Esther Women is an expansion of a project Jane began more than a decade ago, after she was appointed by then-Gov. Frank Keating to serve as Oklahoma’s Secretary of Tourism and Recreation. Determined to remain grounded in her Christian faith and wanting to share ideas with other women in community leadership roles, Jayroe launched a six-week course at Oklahoma City University.
Now she is broadening that message to include women of faith from all walks of life.
“The themes of the life of Queen Esther in the Old Testament continue to resonate today for Oklahoma women,” said Jayroe. “Just as this young woman of faith risked everything for others so long ago, God has a purpose for each season of our lives, as well. We bask in the assurance of a God who is involved in this time of life whether it’s on the mountaintop or in the dark valley, whether it’s defined by busyness or boredom. We were created for such a time as this.”
During normal years, Esther Women meets with a luncheon at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, 222 N.W. 15th St., on the first Wednesday of each month, September through May, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. A season pass is required to enter.
We will begin this year as a live streaming program and continue in that mode as long as we believe that is the safest option for everyone.We will bring people back when we can, properly socially distance, in masks, with cautions. God has provided outstanding speakers who are skilled at telling their faith stories to a cold camera, knowing that warm friends are on the other side.
This year we are offering a special Virtual Season Pass to access the live streaming program with speaker and music for $100.That’s 9 programs for $11.11 apiece.When we can add lunch, we’ll do a luncheon fee.
Each program will include inspirational music courtesy OCU and St. Luke’s United Methodist Church.
“These luncheons are not about networking or promoting a cause,” Jayroe said. “They are meant to encourage and inspire women who already serve their families and communities and will benefit from this time for themselves. It is about the bonds of friendship and the strengthening of faith.”