Why You’ll Want to Read Sacred Friendships
Want to change lives? Learn how to connect like Christ. Sacred Friendships is vital in our world today. We’re so disconnected from one another. We sit by our computers . . . alone. We send quick text messages . . . without any depth.
People are hungry for profound relationships, for meaningful connections. But they have few examples showing how to connect to others in practical ways. Sacred Friendships provides over 50 concrete models that teach us how to be real and raw, how to change lives with Christ’s changeless truth, how to be a . . . sacred friend. Own your personal, autographed copy for just $9.99 when you buy it with Beyond the Suffering (also $9.99).
“Dr. Bob Kellemen and Susan Ellis, in their compelling work, Sacred Friendships, provide a voice for the voiceless. Like never before, they tell ‘her story’—the story of our great female forbears in the faith. As we listen, we do not simply learn historical facts; we are empowered and equipped to practice soul care and spiritual direction today. Lay people—male and female, students, Christian counselors, pastors, and spiritual directors will all glean a wealth of life-changing ministry principles from the unburied treasure of historic feminine soul care and spiritual direction.”
—Julie Clinton, President, Extraordinary Women
“Dr. Robert Kellemen and Susan Ellis have done a masterful job bringing together here a wonderful anthology of the stories and voices of Christian women throughout the history of the church. They steer a robust course between feminist misreadings on the one hand and irresponsible neglect on the other. A superb presentation!”
—Dr. Timothy George, Founding Dean of Beeson Divinity School of Samford University; Senior Editor, Christianity Today
“Sacred Friendships was exhilarating to read! I am recommending it to our students and professors ASAP. It unveils the rich heritage of diverse women in Christian ministry from a global perspective and presents a model of soul care that is powerful. It suggests an approach that provides all of the elements necessary for authentic spiritual transformation. This is a refreshing portrayal and celebration of the impact that women have made in the lives of others that has reflected the image of God in the healing process for those who are suffering. At last we see a book that promotes the fusion of biblical truth and loving grace as the foundation for the complexities of the sanctification process.”
—Catherine Mueller-Bell, MA, LPC, Assistant Professor of Counseling, Grand Rapids Theological Seminary
“An inspiring read! Forget legacy, forget praying wallflowers, and insipid backstage facilitators. I am wowed by these gutsy, practical, courageous and compassionate women of God. Thank you for allowing me to see real women “live Jesus” in each century, caring for and guiding women and men in their sphere of influence. As I walked this women’s Hall of Faith it has freed me to minister more fully to others from my God-empowered woman’s heart, doing my part to accomplish His purposes. The entire book was totally applicable to my daily ministry among Internationals, women, and church staff. It is incredibly expansive in scope and insightful in viewing how God has designed and is using women to further His Kingdom. Super encouraging to me personally. I have and will be encouraging all to read it.”
—Dr. Julie Stoll, Director of Cross-Cultural Ministries and World Missions, McLean Bible Church, McLean, VA
“With a flair for history and facility for detail, Sacred Friendships unfolds the edifying soul care ministries of godly women through the centuries. As a spiritually enriching and biblically faithful sequel to Beyond the Suffering, this work breaks fresh ground in the burgeoning field of spiritual formation and direction. Equally, it encourages us today to become more effective, Christ-centered physicians of the soul. I heartily endorse it!”
—Dr. Bruce Demarest, Professor of Christian Theology and Spiritual Formation, Denver Seminary
“What a blessing to be exposed to Sacred Friendships. It came at a great time, because I had just been wondering if we had any strongly historical books on women in ministry. This will be a great aid to those of us teaching in the area of women’s ministry. I also see it guiding ministry approaches to both men and women in the area of spiritual formation. Sacred Friendships is a needed guide to understanding how the past can shape our theory and practice in the present-day conundrum of Christian counseling and ministry issues. Kellemen and Ellis have done a masterful job of interpreting the words and works of godly women from church history and have gleaned guiding principles for ministries concerned with spiritual formation in our day and age. Sacred Friendships is not just an anthology of these women’s voices, but a thoughtful reflection on what they uniquely add to the stream of Christian counsel flowing through the waves of human history. The insights gathered by the authors and the penetrating discussion questions posed in each chapter provide helpful guidance for those who are interested in equipping others in soul care professions and ministries. This book would be useful for training soul care workers in academic and church-type settings because it enlists a broad spectrum of scholarship, but also connects that scholarship to practical issues. Bravo!”
—Christy Hill, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Spiritual Formation and Women’s Ministry, Grace Theological Seminary
“Sacred Friendships is a heartwarming historical anthology of women whose conviction and pluck shaped history. Rarely have I picked up a book to read that has so encouraged me to use my gendered gifting as a means to promote the growth of others. The stories contained in this book elevate the role of sister, friend, daughter, mother, wife, counselor, and spiritual director as the means God will use to shape lives. I learned there are no ordinary women: like the women in Sacred Friendships we leave a story behind to be told no matter when we live, or who we live among. What historical story will others tell about how you used your gift? The women in Sacred Friendships shaped ancient history, stepped up to be martyred for their faith, spoke words of comfort to soothe those they served, fought for justice when prejudice was unbridled, used wise words to encourage depressed church fathers, mentored theologians, and rebuked authorities. Each woman chose to follow in the footsteps of the Maker of gender by using her mind and words to reflect Him in unique ways.
—Penny Freeman, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Graduate Counseling, Philadelphia Biblical University
“Dr. Robert W. Kellemen and Susan M. Ellis have sketched clearly and powerfully the portraits of the forgotten history and vision of women. Their echo of sacred friendship in the lives of women is irresistible. A ‘must read’ for every women soul care-giver and spiritual director, and for all men who want to learn from these great women of the past.”
—Jayanthi Benjamin, Director of Field Education and Women Student Development, Moody Graduate School
“Great read! These are important stories to tell and vital stories to read—great men of God were influenced and encouraged by great women of God. Sacred Friendships retraces the lives and perspectives of many women who walked their lives in faith. The authors sketch the spiritual words and deeds of women whose relationships with God caused them to minister grace and truth to those around them. This ‘cloud of witnesses’ humbled and challenged me all at once, and inspired renewed commitment to live each day with an eternal perspective.”
—Lynelle Buchanan, MA, Chair, BA in Counseling, Baptist Bible College, Clarks Summit, PA
“The stories of guides on the path to God are an important part of the resources that God has given us to educate us in spiritual guidance. But most of the stories we have been told are stories of men, which means only half of the history of the Church is being recited, and this in an area where women have contributed so much. In such a context, Sacred Friendships must be counted a special treasure. Containing fifty-two stories of female travelers and guides to God, sampled from the breadth of church’s history and interpreted from a classical Christian perspective, this book does more than fill a void. It allows the lives of these women to educate us today, and by their example, to draw us into the holy love of God.”
—Dr. Eric Johnson, Professor of Christian Psychology, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; Founder and Director, Society of Christian Psychologists
“Sacred Friendships: Celebrating the Legacy of Women Heroes of the Faith is a remarkable work! I invite you to come and be refreshed as you are enlightened by the many discoveries presented in this masterpiece. Every woman will see herself in this book and sometimes more than once. Every man will develop a deeper appreciation for the struggle, sacrifice and sensitivity for soul care of the women they have encountered. Bob and Susan take us on a journey of hope, help, and healing as they uncover the treasured stories of women who loved God and demonstrated their spirituality in numerous ways worth emulating. Through sustaining, healing, reconciling and guiding, the women of Sacred Friendships nurtured to maturity men and women of their day. And now we too can benefit from the graces they extended. The “Learn Together Lessons” at the end of each chapter are also very helpful as we hear their hunger and thirst for righteousness. You can share in the dialogue of lessons they have learned while implementing practical application strategies from the context of the culture in which they gave their clarion call for Christlikness. This text will help counselors, professors, pastors, ministry leaders, and care-givers move beyond ethics and skills to a place of compassion and mercy.
—Dr. Sabrina D. Black, Clinical Director, Abundant Life Counseling Center and A Healing Place Ministry
Though silent these many years, even centuries, the remarkable compilation in Sacred Friendships allows these world-influencing women to speak to us even today. We all will be wise to heed their many voices. These women’s influence and spiritual vitality throughout history—captured and arranged so thoughtfully in Sacred Friendships—will both inspire your personal devotion and spark your imagination.
—Mindy Caligure, Founder and President of Soul Care; Author of Faith Books and Spiritual Journaling
“In a time when much is being said about advocating for the voiceless, little has been done to memorialize the specific contributions of godly women who teach, challenge, and encourage us to live lives worthy of the God who calls us His. Sacred Friendships fills a much needed void by recording the imprint that known and unknown women have left throughout time on their families, their churches, their communities, and our history. I found myself hungry to read the stories of these women who made such a difference in their own unique and female way. Women whose strength and courage, wisdom and insight, leadership and followership challenged me as a woman to consider what my Father may be calling me to fulfill in the chapters of His story. Adding this important feminine element to our Christian heritage does not negate the powerful ways men have led, but rather gives a truer, more holistic, and richer perspective of the impact and modeling made by both genders. Women and men alike will be encouraged, inspired, surprised, transformed, and challenged by the stories and lessons found in the pages of Sacred Friendships.
—Deb Musser, MA, Assistant Professor, Department of Counseling and Interpersonal Relations, Grace College