Doris Dale: A Tribute to An International Leader
By Bob Edwards
As we read the short obituary of this magnificent woman, we saw a couple of areas that were untouched about Doris Dale, the international leader. This must be mentioned, because her leadership, at both the Women of the Church of God (now the Christian Women Connection) and the Missionary Board of the Church of God (now Global Strategy), was phenomenal.
Doris may be best known for her leadership of the Women of the Church of God, which she led from 1981 to 1998. Doris is the one who widened the vision of the WCG from local and parochial to a connection to the world. As the executive secretary treasurer of the WCG, Doris traveled the globe, and took the women of the United States with her. In doing so she connected with the extraordinary ministries of strong and weak Church of God women’s societies. If there were countries with weak or nonexistent women’s ministries, Doris made sure that it did not stay that way long. She visited the nations, pulled together the women of the church, made sure that they then appointed a strong woman leader, and then stayed in contact with them as they grew in number and ministry.
One world leader has said that if a national church had a strong women’s society, the whole church was strong. But if that women’s society was weak, then the church was also weak.
Doris knew personally all the women leaders of the Church of God. But it was more than that; she knew their husbands, their children and, in many cases, their grandchildren. She ate at their tables, listened to their dreams for their ministries, and helped them achieve many of their dreams.
In 1998, the Church of God was going through significant change here in the United States. The Missionary Board of the Church of God asked Doris to serve as the interim executive secretary treasurer as Norm Patton retired from that position. It was to have been a short six-month to one-year period, where Doris would oversee the change from an independent board integrated into a new entity as part of Church of God Ministries that we have today. That six months stretched out to four years (1998 to 2002).
Doris stepped into the role, one that seemed ready-made for her. She already knew the women leaders from around the world, and had in the process gotten to know the national leaders of the international church. She stepped in as a known leader and friend of the world. Doris oversaw the difficult transition that took place, and gave it stability. When both local and world leaders of the church questioned where we were headed, they saw Doris and knew things were going to be all right.
Doris was a world leader. She loved the world, and the world loved her back. It was not a surface knowledge or leadership that Doris had, but one that ran deep into the local churches, the homes and kitchens, and family ties of the world. Her passing is going to be mourned in all its many ways across the globe.
Bob Edwards served as director of Global Missions (now Global Strategy) from 2002 through 2013. Learn more about Global Strategy at www.chogglobal.org.