By Leslie E. Royal
Counselor. Nurturer. Advocate. Peacemaker. Confidante.
Teacher. Woman of Style. Elegant Example. Blessing.
Throughout the history of the church, the pastor’s wife, affectionately known as The First Lady, has been a warm-hearted, steadying, inspirational and encouraging presence for her husband, children and the congregation.
According to Pastoral Care Inc., a 501c(3) organization that supports Christian denominations through research, educational support and assistance, “One of the truly remarkable qualities of a pastor’s wife is that they are able to show a faithful love for the members they serve. There is a special anointing upon the pastor’s wife to go beyond the normal call of duty.”
This extraordinary anointing allows her, in her own special way, to care for the parishioners in the congregation. The First Lady devotedly provides unwavering support and counsel to her husband as he preaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
In the book titled Sacred Privilege: Your Life and Ministry as a Pastor’s Wife written by Kay Warren, her husband Pastor Rick Warren penned these words. “Before you read this book, I want you to know than none of my life’s contributions would have happened without Kay’s enormous influence on me, her belief in me, her prayers for me, her grace toward me, her advice to me, her support of me and her partnership with me. Without Kay, there would have never been a Saddleback Church, there would have been no Purpose Driven Life, no Global Peace Plan, no Daily Hope Broadcast, no Celebrate Recovery movement, no Daniel Plan or Orphan Care initiative, no HIV & AIDS or All African Initiatives, no Purpose Driven Fellowship of Churches, or any of the other ministries and tools that Saddleback Church has brought to the world.”
This is an exceptionally wonderful tribute to one’s wife. It serves as a testament to how much First Ladies are esteemed and appreciated by their husbands, members and community. As well they should be. The Ashro Blog is honored to take this opportunity to pay a special tribute to all of these elegant, stylish women of keen intellect.
We’ve asked two lovely First Ladies to share how they serve in their churches and make a difference in their communities.
Lady Synetra E. Leaphart
New Hope Cathedral
What is your favorite scripture?
“Galatians 2:20. It is one of the first scriptures I learned from memory. It stuck with me because I understood that I no longer had to please man or struggle to please God by trying to live life to the letter of the law. Jesus brought me grace and love, no condemnation. Through His death, I’m now complete in Him through faith. Righteousness is no longer what I do. It’s who I am in Christ Jesus. Salvation is not about religion but about righteousness.”
A kind, encouraging and engaging person, Lady Synetra has been supporting her husband, Dr. Richard A. Leaphart, in ministry for more than 21 years. Individuals are so very blessed when they step into New Hope Cathedral. This friendly First Lady is one of many at the church to engulf and shower them with love, support and compassion. Because of the warmth that can be felt in the church, guests and members feel like they have “new hope” in Christ.
She is joyfully encouraging others to join her in walking in New Hope’s vision for 2019. It is “The Year of Resilience in Our Family, Finances and Fitness.” Members of the church and community are urged to maintain a positive mindset and to protect the gateways to their hearts by being mindful, in a positive sense, of what they hear, see and speak. They are committed to bouncing back from challenges and understanding that positive change can begin within.
She is most concerned about how social media has taken the place of learning and knowing basic things. Within her church and community, she has implemented programs to combat this. That includes hosting a girls’ etiquette class, encouraging families to store phones away during dinner time and setting time limits on the Internet and social media.
Since her husband is the founder of New Hope, Lady Synetra has served in many ministries. She works with My Sister’s My Keeper, Women on the Path, Daughters of Divine Destiny, Deaconess Ministry, Seasoned Mother’s Ministry, Cupcakes and Conversation, and several other ministries. In the community, she works the Church Without Walls Food Pantry, Good News Club at Austin Road Elementary School and Community Toys for Tots.
How do you relax?
“I’ll head to the spa for a massage, manicure and pedicure. My hobbies are reading, vacationing and going to the movies. I relish her monthly “Siblinghood” time as well as Wednesday date nights with my husband.”
“The mission of New Hope Cathedral is to demonstrate love as we seek to save the lost, to edify the spirit-filled and to bring hope to all who hear the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” shares Lady Synetra E. Leaphart, author of Scent from Heaven, a manuscript offering prayer and daily spiritual insight. (Amazon $17.99)
Find out more about New Hope Cathedral:
Lady Agnes Marie Parham
Community Church of God
Black Jack, Missouri
What is your favorite scripture?
“Psalm 91 and Proverbs 31. Psalm 91 expresses the abiding love, covering and protection of God. Proverbs 31 illustrates the wisdom and genius of women as well as the love, respect and freedom in which they are entitled.”
For more than 30 years, Lady Agnes, a joyful, energetic giver, has served in the vineyard alongside her husband, Pastor Douglas M. Parham, at Community Church of God and the surrounding vicinities. We often ask, “What’s in a name?” For this beautiful lady, everything is in a name. Her church’s vitally important vision is to share a multifaceted ministry with the community which will allow it to strengthen families in their walk with Christ and in all that they do. A phenomenal woman of strong faith, she is committed to helping all people understand the pure love of God and how it can be applied to everyday living.
Her church’s mission is “To Know Him and to Make Him Known.” Lady Agnes personally lives out this purpose daily as she meets people in the world who make ungodly decisions, are angry and have no peace in their lives. She is a walking, living, breathing, beautiful example that the joy of the Lord is our strength—and that every person can have joy in and through Him. Lady Agnes likes to stress that God is a faithful and active participant in everything—this understanding inspires her as he leads the Women’s Fellowship and maintains a constant, welcome presence in Sunday School, Bible Study, the Children’s Ministry and choir .
“My instructions for Christian Living are to start with a foundation in Christ Jesus, having the heart and mind of God. The safest and surest place is under the shadow of Almighty God. When life’s situations are uncertain, God is always the cure and can be trusted in all ways. We must spend time daily at “wisdom’s door” studying His Word. He gives us counsel (what to do), understanding (why we must do it), wisdom (how to do it) and strength (the ability to do it),” shares Lady Agnes Marie Parham.
How do you relax?
I become engrossed in games like Sudoku, word finds and other puzzles.
We are thankful to these beautiful First Ladies for their graciousness in sharing their love for God, their husbands and their church families with The Ashro Blog readers. To each and every First Lady throughout the globe, we commend you for your dedication and devotion. We celebrate your kindness and commitment. You are greatly admired, revered and appreciated.
Ashro contributor and ambassador Leslie E. Royal is an author, international freelance writer, product review expert, social media influencer and global travel journalist. Her articles have appeared in numerous publications including: ESSENCE, Black Enterprise, FORTUNE.com, AAA Southern Traveler, Upscale, Upscale Living and Travel Bags with Annita.
She is the creator of the Leslie’s Lane consumer information blog and author of:
- Leslie Lane The Book!: Your One Stop Internet Resource Guide to Links for Jobs, Inspiration, Discounts, FREE Stuff, Scholarships, Travel & More ($9.99 Kindle, $14.95 Paperback)
- How to Write and Self-Publish Your Book for FREE with Amazon’s KDP: An Easy Way to Complete Your Manuscript in Seven Stress-Free Steps (Leslie’s Lane Inc.) ($9.95)
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Pastor Rodney Frazier, Sr. and Pastor Valerie T. Frazier
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- Overflow Ministries International
- New Covenant Christian Ministries
- Order these books from Pastor D’Ann!
Bishop Paul S. Morton and Pastor Deborah B. Morton
Pastor Toure Roberts and Pastor Sarah Jakes Roberts
6 Books That Will Help You Learn More About Church First Ladies
- First Lady: The Real Truth
- The First Lady: African American Pastor’s Wives in Their Own Voices
- The Heart of a First Lady by Yolanda G. Butler
- Fighting to Live: How to Thrive Inside & Outside of Ministry: The Handbook for Pastors’ Wives, Women in Ministry & Leadership
- The Pastor’s Wife
- The Ministry & Myth of The First Lady: A Handbook for Leading Ladies in Ministry