Third Annual Women’s Dinner Celebrates Story

Women’s leadership dinner
Photos by Dean Heetderks and Gayla Postma
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For the third time, a dinner took place during synod for women in leadership in the Christian Reformed Church. This year, more than 50 women attended to hear Trish Borgdorff speak about the importance of story.

“Story work is worth pursuing,” Borgdorff told her audience. Pursuing your own story with intention and integrity is important. She said connecting with other people’s stories means listening, moving from curiosity to empathy and compassion.

Borgdorff, daughter of Janet and the late Peter Borgdorff, spent several years as director of children’s ministries for Sunshine Community CRC in Grand Rapids, Mich. She now owns Visiting Angels of West Michigan and is a member of Eastern Avenue CRC in Grand Rapids.

She said being a leader in church ministry can be a blessing and a curse. “Sometimes I think being on church staff, leadership, elder, deacon, can leave ruins for many years to come,” she said. “Today, I want to embrace my church, community, and worship for all it holds in the here and now, not in what I held 25 years ago. There are similarities and differences, and it is my responsibility to know the difference.”

She told the women there that during this week of Synod 2019, not everything has to be said. It’s okay not to speak. Listen hard, she said. It’s a gift.

“This week, as you go through many conversations, consider your intent and impact,” Borgdorff said. “Even the best intentions may not have the impact you’d hoped.”

At the end of the dinner, Denise Posie, the CRC’s director of leadership development, honored Joan Flikkema for her pioneering work of bringing women into leadership in the CRC as one of the founders of the Committee for Women in the Christian Reformed Church. That group worked for many years paving the way for the eventual ordination of women and their inclusion in the denomination’s broadest assemblies.

Synod 2019 is meeting at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., from June 14-20. For continuous coverage from our award-winning news team, download the Banner app on your mobile device or follow The Banner Magazine on Facebook or @crcbanner on Twitter. You can find more tweeting by following hashtag #crcsynod. News stories will be posted on The Banner’s dedicated Synod web page several times daily. Unless noted otherwise, all photographs are by Karen Huttenga.

About the Author

Gayla Postma retired as news editor for The Banner in 2020.