This month, the L.A. Sentinel Religion section debuts “Champions of Faith,” a column about highlighting ordinary people inspired by their faith to make a difference in the community. In recognition of Women’s History Month, L.A. women will be featured during the month of March.
What is your name and what is your ministry?
I am Sheila Bankhead Grisham. Professionally, I am an attorney, however, I serve in several capacities with the Church of God in Christ, Inc. I am the Business and Professional Women’s co-chair under the Southern California First Jurisdiction’s Department of Women, the international vice president of the COGIC Christian Women’s Council, and a writer for the International Christian Women’s Council Monthly Topical Lesson Book. Also, I serve on the board of directors of Deep Green Housing and Community Development and I an the author of “Cultivating Wise Women Attacking Today’s Tough Issues with God’s Timeless Wisdom.”
How long have you been in this ministry?
I’ve been involved in ministry since my teen years because of Christ’s compelling love and an intense interest in scripture. I follow in the footsteps of my mother, Dr. Kathryn E. Bankhead, an amazing example of God’s passionate concern for others and excellence in leadership through service, who encouraged many in the pursuit of their full spiritual, educational and social potential. My ministry includes speaking, teaching, graphics and writing in-services, workshops, women’s groups, conventions, board and care and convalescent homes, and focusing on women, seniors, youth, business persons and the underserved.
What role has God played in your ministry?
I have followed John 15:16, in that God has called and enabled me in various ministry assignments.
What is a memorable moments during your ministry?
I was teaching Bible Study at a board and care when I completed the writing of, “Cultivating Wise Women.” The Lord gave me the lesson scripture for the class, “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” (I Corinthians 5:1).
Later that same night, our house mysteriously caught fire, forcing us out for months. Half of my manuscript was burned and while staying in a hotel, I was able to put the entire book together in two weeks and deliver it on time for the COGIC National Convocation in Memphis.
On another occasion, I wrote my mother’s mighty life testimony as she dictated it to me for a Christian Women’s Council Anthology book. About 10 days after she concluded, she had a stroke and never spoke another word.
What are you working on now and in the future?
Following a 2 1/2 year privilege of caring for my mother, I am supporting the women’s leadership in reaching women through innovative means to hear and answer God’s call, provide relevant information to improve their lives and relationships, and increase their capacity to fulfill their potential.
We are pursuing a “Love Your Heart Healthy” project with the American Heart Disease and the “Rose Garden Chat Conference Call” with our CWC president, Gale P. Gardner, to edify women with exciting lessons, challenging contemporary issues, stimulated by encouraging dialogue from across the nation on the first Monday evening of every month!
What impact is your ministry having on the community?
We are provoking women across the state and country to love and good works! We encourage adult women in lifelong service and lifelong learning, (with many pursuing further education and/or degrees). Also, we are assisting in building affordable housing from Alaska to Arizona.