Jane Jayroe, OCU alumna, trustee and former Miss America, will utilize the talents of students and faculty in her lecture series for women of faith.
The series, entitled Esther Women after the biblical character Queen Esther, is a monthly program where guest speakers lead religious discussions for women. The program started 14 years ago and has grown into an annual lineup of luncheon seminars attended by about 400 women of all religions.
The Rev. Dr. Lisa Wolfe, professor of Hebrew Bible and endowed chair of religion, will speak in the first slot of this year’s season. It will be her second time presenting in the series, and she will discuss the book of Ruth, specifically how Naomi and Ruth relate to the unexpected gifts one finds in life, even in the midst of difficulties.
“The book of Ruth doesn’t often get preached on, so I-hoping to open that up a bit and give people the chance to think in new ways that challenge them-I put on my pastor hat for these gatherings and aim it a bit more inspirational, rather than academic, but my professor motives are always at work,” Wolfe said.
Jayroe chooses all of the seminar speakers, which vary from Olympic athletes to politicians, professors and performers. This season’s lineup also includes former Bishop Robert E. Hayes and Auntie Anne Beiler, the founder of Auntie Anne’s Soft Pretzels.
“There are women from all denominations of faith attending the sessions, so I try to choose speakers that will contribute to everyone’s spiritual growth,” Jayroe said. “Some speakers are more educational, while others bring powerful personal testimonies.”
Most of the luncheons feature music provided by students, faculty and alumni. OCU music faculty have been helpful in recommending singers and musicians, Jayroe said.
Ashleigh Robinson, music theater junior, will perform at the first seminar from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 6 at St. Luke’s Methodist Church, 222 N.W. 15 St.
“Jane has been a family friend and mentor of mine for a long time,” Robinson said. “I’ve attended one event that Esther Women has put on and loved it. I love what the women stand for, and I think it’s important for women to share their faith with each other.”
Robinson will sing “Blessings” by Laura Story and participate in an interview about her family in relation to Naomi and Ruth. That particular scripture speaks to her because it emphasizes the importance of family, she said.
The discussions are exclusively for women who obtain a season pass, which costs $180. This year’s passes are sold out, but new registration for next year’s season begins in July via stlukesokc.org.
“Originally, I only planned for this to be a one-time event, but we’ve sold out every year,” Jayroe said. “Women come from outside of OKC and find something meaningful. It’s a blessing that I can provide something that is wanted and needed in the community.”