2018 Women in Ministry Conference

October 15–16

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Women at the Crossroads: Finding Resilience in Ministry through Coaching and Connection

How do women stay creative and resilient within the challenges of church leadership? Through reflection, discussion, and small-group coaching, our Chicago Women in Ministry (WIM) Conference at Fourth Presbyterian Church will focus on opportunities for change and growth in the daily work of ministry.

Sonia Waters

Keynote Speaker

Our keynote speaker, The Rev. Dr. Sonia Waters, will frame our time together with scripture inspiration and pastoral theological reflection on women in leadership. We will then work in coaching groups to explore best practices of ministry at the crossroads of challenge and change.

Experienced coaches Jen DeJong, Elinor Kirkland Hite, Aqueelah Ligonde, and Jen Van Zandt will work with us to explore the places in our ministries in need of change, renewal, and transformation.

Coaching topics include:

  • Redeeming mistakes
  • Transforming congregations in an era of church decline
  • Supervising staff with grace
  • Generational ministry in the local church

Other topics may be added if registration exceeds 35 participants.

Schedule and Registration

Monday, October 15, 2018

4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. | Registration and hospitality hour

5:00 p.m. | Opening worship and presentation by Dr. Sonia Waters

6:30 p.m. | Dinner together

7:30 p.m. | What Needs Transforming? – Open space conversations around the coaching topics offer each participant the opportunity to determine her focus for her Tuesday morning coaching group.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

8:15 a.m. | Continental breakfast

9:00 a.m. | Morning prayer and presentation by Dr. Sonia Waters

10:00 a.m. | Meet in coaching groups

12:00 p.m. | Lunch together

Registration Fee: $95 (includes three meals)

Register Today!

Event Details

Directions to Fourth Presbyterian: Fourth Church is located at North Michigan Avenue at Delaware Place and Chestnut Avenue. A handicapped-accessible entrance and elevator are located at the 126 E. Chestnut entrance, 100 feet west of Michigan Avenue.

For additional directions and parking information, click here.

Day of event registration/sign-in: The reception area of the Gratz Center, 126 East Chestnut.

Tremont Hotel at the Magnificent Mile
100 East Chestnut St
Chicago, IL 60611
Phone 312.751.1900
Group name: WIM Initiative – Princeton Theological Seminary


Ms. Jen DeJong is the Vice President of Innovation for Ministry Architects. Jen began working in youth ministry in 2002 as the Youth Program Coordinator at First Presbyterian Church in Nashville, TN. She currently serves on the Ministry Architects executive team, overseeing the work with Ministry Architects’ client churches. Jen graduated from Vanderbilt University with a B.S. in cognitive studies and a minor in communications. She also earned an M.S. at Vanderbilt in Developmental Psychology with a special emphasis on parental involvement in teenagers’ extracurricular activities. Jen currently resides in Springfield, IL with her husband, Marc, and their two daughters, Maria and Rose.

Ms. Elinor Kirkland Hite is an accomplished Executive Coach and Career Counselor. She brings 35 years of experience as a human resources executive, leader, and consultant. In vice presidential positions, she designed and implemented organizational strategies, individual development plans, and served as advisor to executive committees. Her experience includes a Fortune 500 company, a national law firm and the YUSA, the largest community services organization in the U.S. She has taught Organizational Psychology at Adler University. Her degrees are from Princeton Theological Seminary and Denison University and include Clinical Training certification. She is an active volunteer serving on several boards and a member of Fourth Presbyterian Church.

The Rev. Aqueelah Ligonde, an ordained PCUSA clergywoman, is an enthusiastic speaker and leader with a passion for today’s generation of youth, women, and leaders. She has worked with organizations such as Princeton Seminary Institute for Youth Ministry and Youth Specialties. She serves on the Executive Board of GenOn Ministries, an organization dedicated to intergenerational relationships. Aqueelah holds an MDiv from McCormick Theological Seminary, in Chicago, IL. Currently, she is a Staff Consultant with Ministry Architects and Transitional Pastor at Far Rockaway Presbyterian Church. She is also pursuing a Doctor of Ministry from Louisville Theological Seminary. For over a decade, Aqueelah served as the Associate Pastor at the First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica, Queens, NY. She and her husband live in Long Island, NY.

The Rev. Jen Van Zandt has been the Head of Staff at the First Presbyterian Church of Boonton, NJ since 2007. She is passionate about church vitality through intergenerational connection, playful worship, and meaningful stewardship. She is a former Moderator of the Newton Presbytery and consults with churches large and small on Generational Stewardship Strategies. Before her formal life in ministry, Jen was President and CEO of Bullseye Training, Inc., a coaching and training organization working with small and mid-cap companies and nonprofits. Jen has a B.A. in speech communication from Ithaca College and an MDiv from Princeton Theological Seminary. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, food and wine pairing, and singing with a jazz trio.

The Rev. Dr. Sonia Waters is Assistant Professor of Pastoral Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary. Dr. Waters received her B.A. in literature with a minor in gender studies from Wheaton College, her MDiv with honors from the The General Seminary of the Episcopal Church, and her Ph.D. in pastoral theology from Princeton Theological Seminary. She is an Episcopal priest with ten years of experience in parish ministry and prior experience in feminist advocacy work focused on violence against women.

Educating faithful Christian leaders.

Scholar and Theological Educator

Kathleen M. O’Connor , Class of 1984

“Informal time in discussion groups with faculty and students discussing feminist theological literature altered my views, excited my spirit, and greatly influenced my teaching.”