On March 4-7, 2024, over 700 clergy sisters and brothers from the Church of God (Anderson), Church of the Nazarene, Free Methodist, Salvation Army and The Wesleyan Church gathered in Dallas, Texas, and 300 joined online to listen to the Spirit, and to be fed and nourished as ministers pursuing God’s call in the world.

“‘In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy.” (Acts 2:17)

These prophetic words first uttered by the prophet Joel and affirmed at Pentecost by the Apostle Peter filled the hearts and minds of those gathered for E2024, the 30-year anniversary of the Wesleyan Holiness Women Clergy (WHWC) biennial conference.

Since 1994, Wesleyan Holiness clergy have been creating spaces to engage, empower and equip women for their God-given callings. And this year’s conference was no exception!

Preachers and leaders — Reverends Romanita Hairston, Tatum M. Osbourne, Sandra Maria Van Opstal, Christine Youn Hung and Captain Caroline Rowe — from across the sponsoring denominations served as mainstage speakers. Teachers and experts provided practical workshops, equipping and ministering to the heart-felt needs of today’s leader. And Spirit-led and filled worship punctuated the Spirit’s work among those present.

“There is just something about 700, 800 women who love Jesus a whole lot — the worship in this space — I can’t put it into words. It’s really special,” said Reverend Dr. Andrea Summers, dean of Spiritual Formation at Indiana Wesleyan University, Marion, Indiana.

“It was evident that God began a work before even attending WHWC when I reflect on my ‘Elizabeth’ reaching out and inviting me to attend with her,” acknowledged Reverend Laura Kichline, a Wesleyan pastor from Pennsylvania. “In the midst of transition, I was humbled and affirmed when God spoke through another sister in Christ. Each of the main session speakers shared a word from God with clarity and boldness; giving us so much to process and enabling us to move forward in his leading with confidence.”

Around the table each day, women and men broke bread together, sharing stories across a beautifully diverse denominational, generational and ethnic landscape. Whether dining with others from their own tribe or meeting a new brother or sister in Christ, God used these holy moments to unleash discernment and renewed passion for God’s call in their lives.

Friday afternoon, nearly 100 women clergy joined Education and Clergy Development for lunch, conversation and testimonies as a tangible expression of appreciation for their ministry in The Wesleyan Church (TWC).

“What a gift to share a meal together as a denomination!” said Reverend Carla Working, director of TWC’s Clergy Development. “In addition to fellowship, our goal was to encourage all in attendance that the Holy Spirit desires to empower us for evangelism to those that do not yet know Jesus and to build up Christ’s body through discipleship. Each speaker encouraged us that God works through women and men who are obedient to the Spirit’s call.”

There is also an increasing presence of male advocates and allies joining the conferences each passing year. District Superintendent Chris Conrad of the Great Lakes Region shares, “The Wesleyan Church has a rich history of honoring and celebrating all of the gifts Holy Spirit has poured out on his people, women and men. The WHWC allows an opportunity for us to not only celebrate the fullest of gifts given to my female colleagues in ministry, it also allows us the opportunity to communicate that we are fully committed to seeing those gifts fully realized.”

Throughout the conference, in quiet conversations and declarations from the mainstage, the growing conviction that the world needs the church and the church needs each member of the body was felt. God is calling and leading his people to bear witness to the good news of hope, holiness and love of Jesus Christ. And the E2024 conference affirmed for those who came that this witness must include the prophetic voices of Spirt-filled, empowered and activated Wesleyan Holiness women scattering, sowing and watering seeds of faith.

For Pastor Sandy Guffin, children’s pastor at Linwood Wesleyan Church in Souix Falls, South Dakota,The WHWC was an amazing reminder that being a woman called to ministry is an incredible honor and a journey that I do not walk alone. The worship and session speakers were life giving and I cannot wait for 2026!”

At the rise of the conference, Reverend Dr. Priscilla Hammond, The Wesleyan Church representative on the WHWC Board, was passed the baton of WHWC presidential leadership. Dr. Hammond shared, “Janae Meyer drew what I referred to as the WHWC Mt. Rushmore, a graphic of all WHWC’s past presidents. When I look at this image, I’m overwhelmed with the responsibility I have inherited to continue moving this organization forward … I stand on the shoulders of women who have been leading with grace and courage, and I lift up all women who have the gifts to preach, teach and lead the church until all the world has been reached with the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

For more information about WHWC and to stay informed about their 2026 conference, explore whwomenclergy.org and the WHWC Facebook page.

Rev. Angela Alvarado is the assistant editor of Communication and Administration of The Wesleyan Church and a graduate of Wesley Seminary, Marion, Indiana.


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