Marcia Dixon is convinced of the power of role models; here she tells us about those who have positively influenced her and many others
Women have always played an important positive role in my life. I grew up around resilient, empowering women, starting with my mother of course, and her friendship circle.
As I got older – and especially when I became a Christian – I was able to meet and connect with some amazing women, especially through my journalistic work. I met women who were committed to nurturing, empowering and encouraging others to be more Christlike, utilise their talents and fulfil their mission and purpose. Some were trailblazers.
I fully subscribe to the biblical injunction that the older women should teach and train the younger women (see Titus 2). However, I have also found myself in position where I learn from women of all ages – whether they are my peers, older or younger than me.
Here are some women that I’ve encountered on my faith journey who I believe are worth being on your radar.
Pastor Marjorie Esomowei
In Pentecostal church circles Pastor Marjorie Esomowei is a figure of inspiration, not just because she co-pastors Triumph Church International alongside her husband. The work she does through her women’s ministry Wisdom for Women International empowers Christians of all nationalities through various activities, including prayer retreats, workshops and conferences.
I have had the pleasure of working with Pastor Marjorie on one of her flagship events, The Wise Women Awards – now in its 18th year – which recognises Christian women for their work within the Church and wider society. The great thing about these awards is that they recognise women who are often overlooked. I recall one awards event where one award winner, a cleaner who used her salary to support widows in Ghana, was called up on stage to give her speech. She was so surprised to be a recipient she pointed the microphone at her ear to give her acceptance speech! These are the moments Pastor Marjorie lives for – celebrating others.
Pastor Marjorie is also a woman of prayer, faith and action. Every year she buys hundreds of uniforms for vulnerable children in Nigeria and has built a home for orphans. She even held a special dinner for homeless women on her birthday.
Visit wisdomforwomeninternational.org for more information.
Juliet Coley is an example of a woman who demonstrates how you can make lemonade out of the lemons life throws at you. She is known in black Pentecostal circles due to serving as a presenter on iconic gospel music show People Get Ready, which was broadcast on ITV and Channel 4 in the late 80s and early 90s. When the series ended Juliet became a teacher in an inner London secondary school, rising to the ranks to become an award-winning senior deputy head.
It’s her ability to bounce back from very serious illness that makes Juliet someone to be aware of. In the past decade Juliet has experienced a double whammy of life-threatening health challenges. Firstly, she had a heart attack followed by quadruple heart bypass surgery, and then a few years later she was diagnosed with bowel cancer for which she had surgery and chemotherapy, before being declared cancer-free.
Despite her experiences, Juliet set up Young Lit Stars, a company that specialises in publishing books by black children and is gearing up for the release of a book about church mothers – mature women who teach younger women in the Church (Mothers of Zion is due to be released on Mother’s Day, Sunday 19th March 2023). Throughout her experiences of ill-health, Juliet has leaned on God’s unchanging hand and in the process served as a source of inspiration to others.
Visit younglitstars.com for more information.
Angie Le Mar
The Bible says laughter is a medicine (see Proverbs 17:22) and one person who has been dishing out large doses of this unique and enjoyable remedy to believers ever since she became a Christian twelve years ago is Angie Le Mar.
Raised in a Christian home, Angie decided to carve her own path when she became a teenager and pursued her dream to become a stand-up comedian. She achieved that and, in the process, became the first black British woman to experience success as a stand-up comic.
Her success opened other avenues of opportunity and allowed her to develop as a playwright, director, radio presenter and author. However, something was missing and when Angie became overwhelmed by issues connected with her work, she recommitted her life to God. As a result of doing so she was able to start sharing her comedic gift and testimony at church services, conferences and ministry events across the UK.
Oftentimes, when Angie speaks, she receives a standing ovation for the hope in Christ she shares. Listeners often share with Angie how much her comedic gift has helped soothe and heal long-held hurts and emotional pain. Who knew laughter could be so powerful?
Visit angielemar.co.uk for more information.
Claudine Reid MBE
Award-winning social entrepreneur, business psychologist and leadership coach, Claudine Reid MBE educates and empowers entrepreneurs to create and build profitable businesses. Not only that, she teaches Christian entrepreneurs how they can maintain their integrity and serve the wider community.
In Pentecostal Church circles, Claudine, who also heads up a women’s ministry, has edited two successful anthologies, and written Priorities of a Social Entrepreneur, chronicling her business and life experiences. She has encouraged numerous people, particularly women, to start their own businesses and is also an in-demand speaker.
Two years ago, Claudine bravely shared with the Church community her breast cancer diagnosis, and we followed, through her posts on social media, her treatment journey to full recovery. Her experience endeared her even more to people’s hearts and now her aim is to encourage people to fulfil their potential, live their life to the full and leave a legacy. In her own life, Claudine aims to live out her purpose, empower others and do as much as she can for God.
Visit claudinereidmbe.com for more information.