Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Choosing the Good Portion: Women in the OPC

Greenville Seminary Registrar Kathleen Curto and Tricia Stevenson, wife of the GPTS Alumni Association president, have contributed chapters to a new book on the lives of women who have played a key role in the history of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

The book, Choosing the Good Portion: Women of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, has been published by Orthodox Presbyterian Publications.

The book tells the story of the OPC through profiles of more than 90 women who sacrificed and served during the last 80 years to help mold the OPC into what it is today, according to the publisher. The 480-page hardback includes photographs of nearly all the women. Fifty-five women contributed to this volume, among them Mrs. Curto and Mrs. Stevenson. Mrs. Curto, in addition to serving as GPTS registrar, is the wife of Dr. Tony Curto, associate professor of practical theology in missions and apologetics at GPTS. Mrs. Stevenson is the wife of Jim Stephenson, a 2012 GPTS graduate and founding pastor of Providence OPC in Tulsa, Okla.

Kathleen Curto
"A little over a year and a half ago I was contacted by Patricia Clawson, the co-editor of a book that was in the formative stages," Mrs. Curto says. "My assignment was to highlight the lives of four women, Ruth Morton, Jane Crum, Marieta Laranjo, and Diana Cruz who 'have or are currently reaching the world in their backyards.' I accepted this request with fear and trembling, but was immediately  captivated as I began to interview each of these ladies and write their stories.

"What stood out to me in every case, was each woman’s commitment to serve her Lord and Savior by serving faithfully to support the work of her husband," she says. "These women faced trials and tribulations, but witnessed joys and blessings as God used them as help-meets to their husbands."

Mrs. Curto, a frequent speaker at women's conferences and retreats, says the book, particularly the chapters about the early days of the OPC, "has caused me to wonder at the Lord’s kindness to the OPC in giving this church women who, as Mary did in the New Testament, chose the good portion. There are stories of mothers, daughters, wives, sisters, widows, missionaries, school teachers, pastors’ wives, and the list could go on and on.

"I commend this book to your reading and pray that it might, as Mrs. Clawson and co-editor Diane Olinger desire, 'cause you to give thanks to our Lord who has lavished upon us this wonderful denomination!'”

Mrs. Curto is a member of Covenant Community Church (OPC) in Taylors, S.C.

Tricia & Jim Stephenson
Mrs. Stephenson describes her contribution to the book, saying, "I was asked to interview four ladies in the OPC who have practiced hospitality in their homes and churches over the years. It was a delight to speak with each of them and hear first hand the variety of stories, creative tips, and familiar situations pastors' and elders' wives face when hosting others.

"Each woman came from a different background, but each had to overcome trials, needs, and stresses. They all knew it was the Lord that gives us what we need when hosting others. It is out of a heart for people and a heart of gratitude for what the Lord gives us that we extend our time, our services, and our goods to others," she says.

"Hospitality is modeled best to other women while putting it into practice in our own homes. Some of us learned how to do this simply by being hosted. Simple food or using our favorite go-to recipes along with fellowship around a table can create a wonderful opportunity to share the gospel and be an encouragement to fellow believers," she says.

"It was such a blessing to interview and get know a little better some of the women in our denomination. This book as a whole contains a beautiful collection of stories and testimonies from the lives of many women, and I hope it will be a wonderful encouragement to future generations of ladies in the OPC."