Christianity Today magazine will release a list in their October 2012 issue of “50 Women to Watch” among those influencing the church and the culture. Included on that list are Dr. Jo Anne Lyon, General Superintendent of the Wesleyan Church, and Joni Eareckson Tada, an author, disability advocate and the 2009 inductee into Indiana Wesleyan University’s Society of World Changers.
Lyon is the first woman ever elected to lead the Wesleyan denomination. She came to the Wesleyan Church from World Hope International, a worldwide relief ministry that Lyon founded in 1996 in a converted back-bedroom home office and has a presence today in 14 countries around the world. Originally one of three, Dr. Lyon became the only General Superintendent of the Wesleyan Church this past summer after a reorganization at the denomination’s 2012 General Conference.
Joni Eareckson Tada is known around the world simply as “Joni” because of her bestselling 1976 memoir describing a disastrous diving injury at age 17 and her subsequent journey to find God’s purpose in her confinement to a wheelchair. A speaker and advocate for the disabled, Tada played a significant role in the creation of the Americans With Disabilities Act. Her organization Joni and Friends works to promote Christian ministry in the disability community. In 2009, Tada received an honorary doctorate and a bust in the Lewis Jackson Library on the IWU main campus in Marion.
Both Lyon and Tada have spoken at IWU chapel services this month. Lyon headlined IWU’s annual Fall Summit spiritual emphasis week, and Tada spoke yesterday about the importance of intimacy with Christ and the role of suffering in the Christian life.
Congratulations to both women for their impact on the Kingdom of God!