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Consider the story of Beth Wilcox and her preparation and calling to ministry. Our hope is that these stories will motivate you to consider preparation at Sangre de Cristo in pursuit of your calling. Be sure to check out all of the stories about pastors, worship leaders, chaplains, missionaries, women’s and children’s ministry leaders and Christian educators.
Beth Wilcox, Church Ministry to Women and Children
As a part-time secretary for the Southern Illinois church and presbytery where she worshipped, Beth Wilcox was looking to the Lord for more. She loved the work but felt ill-prepared. When college roommates had come home the previous year, speaking disparagingly about theology, Beth started asking questions of her pastor! That was it, that was the “bug” that got her started. Theology: it fits the Bible, rather than trying to force the Bible to fit into some man-devised teaching.
Beth had long wanted to take a class (classes) at a Bible school. A SdCS student was back at her church during the winter break term. She thought, that’s what she was looking for. When she talked with her pastor/boss he slapped his forehead and said, “That’s it! That’s what you should do!” Originally planning on going just for the summer, after a couple months she knew that she had to go all three years to be better prepared for a life of ministry.
Beth remembers the training in the original biblical languages of Greek and Hebrew to be hard for her. But as she became capable of accurately handling the Word of truth, it changed her life trajectory. Beth enjoyed the close fellowship she had with Dwight Zeller, the seminary director, and his wife, Lois, as well as with the tight-knit group of students. She reports: “The two most important things I learned were: 1) how to study the Bible and 2) how to teach it to others. While she was new to “covenant theology”, she quickly learned that its main tenant is that “the Bible is true, and it gives us what we are to teach.” Beth became fully committed to these ideas, the ones that would shape her life forever.
Following graduation in December 1983, Beth returned to Illinois for a few months. More schooling or a real job??? It was time to get to work. So that autumn she relocated to Colorado Springs, she had no idea what the Lord had for her, and ended up working as a secretary at Village Seven Presbyterian Church (V7PC). Over the course of her nearly four decades of work, she has been able to provide administrative support to the church, but more importantly she has found ways in which to exercise her giftedness in teaching older children and women. Some of her favorite work has been to make the stories of scripture come alive through her dramatic presentations. She has really found a way to “study the Bible and teach it” to women and children. Some of her favorite acts included giving “eye-witness accounts” of people (or a vulture) who witnessed the works of Rahab, Joshua, and Jonah.
When asked if she would recommend Sangre de Cristo Seminary (SdCS) to other women, she enthusiastically replied, “Definitely, yes! We must be women of the Word.” She went on to say about the solitude provided by her mountain seminary experience that – “There was no other time of concerted effort and focused study, than when I was at the seminary.” The serenity of the remote mountains has had a similar effect on almost every SdCS graduate for forty-five plus years.
Beth conveyed her great appreciation for Dwight and Lois Zeller. She remembered, “Dwight’s gregarious preaching was very influential in my life. My family, who visited with the purpose of assuring I hadn’t joined a cult, was enthralled with this seminary director who, one minute was in overalls performing manual labor around the grounds, and the next minute entered the classroom to teach advanced Greek. He really understands the Bible in the way it was originally given.”
Beth Wilcox graduated from Sangre de Cristo Seminary in 1983 with a Bachelor of Theology.