BY JURRY TAALIB-DEEN
Journal Staff Writer
The seemingly, prestigious, and glamorous life of a Pastor’s wife, First Lady, is riddled with psychological, and spiritual obstacles, that can’t challenge those in the position, according to First Lady, Shirley Lyons, president of the Interdenominational Ministers’ Wives, Ministers’ Widows, (IMWMW). To discuss solutions to those challenges, the IMWMW hosted a seminar entitled, “Quitting is not an Option,” on Saturday, March 12, at the Radisson Hotel, on the campus of the University of Toledo Medical Center.
A panel discussion, as well as a talk on how First Ladies, who, work in the secular world, should handle the challenges of that world, were a couple of activities that occurred that day.
First Lady Lyons told The Toledo Journal, “So often, we as Ministers’ wives, get discouraged, frustrated, tired, and don’t feel appreciated. But when you’re in that position, quitting isn’t an option. You just have to learn how to deal with the pressure, treat people the way you want to be treated, and rely on the Lord to give you the strength to continue to carry out what you’ve been called to do.”
Keynote speaker, Evangelist Ellen Allen, wife of national and International famed gospel recording artist, Bishop Rance Allen, detailed solutions to some of the challenges faced by First Ladies.
“We, as First Ladies, have to put up with a lot of things. People will accept our husbands, the Pastor, but not us, as their wives. But even when we’re faced with those challenges, we must continue to do our job, and treat everyone fair; the way Jesus would expect us to treat them.”
During the panel discussion, in which the audience could ask questions, or make comments, First Lady Alma Mays of Dayton, shared a situation that coincided with Evangelist Allen’s point, on how, at times, some of the members of the congregation may accept the Pastor, but not his wife.
First Lady Mays said that, there was a situation in which, a member would always greet her husband, but would walk by her, completely ignoring her. Over a lengthy time of that behavior, First Lady Mays explained that, she, respectfully questioned the woman as to the subtle disrespect she was doing. Eventually, First Lady Mays said, the woman stopped her subtle disrespect, and in fact, the two became very close.
First Lady Lyons, during the panel discussion, asked the audience if they consider, as being First Ladys, that they too, are called to the job, like their husbands. Some of the people nodded their heads to the affirmative, to her question. Then First Lady Lyons gave an example of how the wives are also called to the mission.
She told the story of how she, and her husband, Pastor Robert Lyons of Greater St. Mary’s Missionary Baptist Church, lived in the Dayton area, and were over a congregation in Marion, Ohio; a two hour drive that they made three times a week. During the winter of the early 2000’s, Dayton was under a level 4 emergency, in which no cars were to be on the road, unless they were emergency personal. But never-the less, both awoke at 4 a.m. to make their two hour journey to Marion.
About 40 minutes into their journey, Pastor and First Lady Lyons, would end up sliding, into in a ditch, where they were stranded; they would eventually be towed out. About eight hours later, they would arrive to their destination; with the congregation, patiently waiting.
First lady Lyons conveyed the story to the audience to show that, no matter how wives feel, that if their husbands continue to push forward, then it’s the job of the First Lady to follow his example.