Pastor Marjorie Esomowei is the founder of the Wise Women Awards (WWA), which celebrates its 10 th anniversary on March 29, at the Guoman Tower Hotel, London. Pastor Marjorie, as she is affectionately known, is a respected female church leader with a passion to empower and celebrate women. She is founder of Wisdom for Women International, a women’s ministry, and co-pastors Triumphant Church International alongside her husband, Clem Esomowei, based in Tottenham, north London. It also has branches in London, Essex, Kent, Birmingham, South Africa and Nigeria. Pastor Marjorie also heads a very vibrant media ministry – through which she pursues her passion to preach the gospelGospel, and is also a guest speaker at many events. Pastor Marjorie speaks to the Keep The Faith about the WWA, her life, faith and her considerable plans for 2014 .
KEEP THE FAITH (KTF): Congratulations on the Wise Women Awards (WWA) reaching its 10th anniversary. How do you feel about reaching such a milestone?
PASTOR MARJORIE ESOMOWEI (PME): I feel grateful! Grateful to God first and foremost, and grateful to all those who attended our all Wise Women Awards events; to those who have nominated friends and family, and to everyone who has supported us in one way or the other for the past 10 years.
KTF: What inspired you to establish the WWA, and do you think that it has achieved its original aims?
PME: I consider the Wise Women Awards an assignment to honour and celebrate Christian women, who are serving the Church and the wider community. Yes, we are meeting our original aims. I have seen over 90% of winners move on to greater achievements, and most have attributed their bigger achievements to winning or being nominated for a WWA.
KTF: Over the years, there must be some WWA moments that stick out in your mind. Name your top three moments, and why.
PME: Every year has been special and unique! In 2008: when God told me not to charge, but to personally sponsor everyone who attended that year at Hilton Docklands. In 2011: the story of Esther Baiden, the cleaner who used most of her resources to sponsor children in Africa. That is a great story of someone doing God’s work against all odds, and 2013: the testimony of Jennifer Blake just will not let go. Jennifer won the Award because, at 13, she had become a gang leader but, as a result of the prayers of her mum and church, today she runs a ministry supporting young people across the UK.
KTF: Many people seem to know about the WWA, but very little about the person behind the Awards. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself, ie. where you were born, details about your siblings, parents, and the role faith and church played in your childhood?
PME: I am the daughter of Comfort Kemmer and Chief OW Amachree (The Canadian Showman). I was born in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. I am from a mixed family of 10. My mum, in particular, has had a major impact in my Christian faith. I have often testified that from when I was five years old, I can’t remember a Friday or Wednesday that my mum didn’t fast, or a year when she didn’t complete the 40 days of Lent, fasting up to 6pm in the evening. My Dad was a college Principal at Kalabari National College for years, and moved on to lecture at Sokoto State Polytechnic until his retirement. My Mum was a businesswoman.
KTF: When and why did you become a Christian, and how did it transform your life?
PME: I have always been in church, but became totally sold out to Christ in June 1984. I haven’t looked back since then. I met Christ in a dramatic way. I had a dream that was just too dramatic. I had to run to people around me who were born again, and prayed the salvation prayer. I always testify that if I hadn’t submitted to the Lord at the time I did, I probably would not be alive today. I was just being introduced to the fast lanes of life when God grabbed me.
KTF: You worked in banking prior to becoming a full-time minister. Can you share what kind of work you did within the bank, and how did it prepare you for full-time ministry?
PME: I had an opportunity to work within retail and investment banking; that was the day when bankers had depth, lol. I worked within a very driven and target-oriented environment. You earned your pay! Banking in Nigeria in the 80s and 90s was something else. Mammon was strong. Because of the competition and the terrain, it was compulsory for all my team to pray with me weekly. We would meet at the church I attended at 10pm every Thursday and pray until 5am, rush home, get a bath, dress up and go to work for 8am. That’s how I survived the terrain and was successful. Yes, I can boldly say I was successful!!! I remember the first day I asked my team to meet me at church for night vigil, they looked at me like madam had gone mad! My exposure to banking taught me resilience, faith, and how to kneel before God.
KTF: When did you get the call to full-time ministry, and how have you gone about pursuing that call?
PME: I got the call of God in 1995, just before I resigned my work as General Manager at Intercontinental Securities – where I was on secondment from Intercontinental Merchant – to join Pastor Clem in the United Kingdom for ministry. God thought about me, and invited me to join His army. What a privilege. My husband has played a major role in my walk with God and in my ministry, nudging, encouraging and sometimes rebuking. A few people have asked how I have managed all the different things I do! My secret is the daily quiet time in prayer, and study of the Word. Years back, when we were kids, we were taught to read your Bible and pray every day if you want to grow! This hasn’t changed. It is still the secret of any Christian’s success. As I have grown in Christ and ministry, my monthly days for personal retreat have also increased. There are no shortcuts in ministry and the anointing. We have to pay the price!!!
KTF: How did you and your husband – and co-pastor of Triumphant Church International (TCI) – Pastor Clem, meet?
PME: I was at home doing my house chores – I was working at the bank then, but living with my uncle as a single girl – when the doorbell rang one Easter Monday morning. I opened the door, and there was one of the church mothers with Brother Clem from the church. Cut the long story short, she introduced us, and said I would be good for a wife. That’s how it all started. Cut the long story short again and here we are, 28 years later, still loving each other.
KTF: How easy/difficult is it to work alongside your husband in ministry?
PME: It has not been difficult working alongside Pastor Clem in marriage, although sometimes there will be slight misunderstandings. We both have very clearly defined roles and boundaries that we endeavour to respect. I am a strong stickler for structures and procedures, and that helps me greatly with not mixing up my first role as a wife, secondly, as a member of TCI, and then as a co-pastor of Triumphant Church International. When women in ministry mix up these distinct roles, then there are structural and biblical breakdowns.
KTF: TCI has been going for about 15 years. What kinds of things has the church done in the local community?
PME: Pastor Clem says if someone is out in the rain and getting really wet, first give them an umbrella before a Bible tract. That is the TCI philosophy. The world is our pulpit. We have a mission for outreach outside the walls for the church.
We run weekly feeding projects, providing hot meals for the homeless and needy. We also run a food bank, both in our London and Basildon churches, medical ministry, accredited courses at the Wisdom for Women training centre, and The Christmas Angel project, which gives out whole turkeys and other groceries to people from within and outside Haringey at Christmas time. The latest addition to our outreach is the Comfort Home Orphanage, which we are building in Nigeria. By the grace of God, that project should be in place by 2015!!!
KTF: You are one of the few UK-based female ministers, who fully utilises media. Why is that, and what kind of response do you get from your media ministry?
PME: Wisdom for Women International is cutting edge. Media is cutting edge. Most people today are online, and my question is, Why not? Personally, I have been around the Media and TV from my teenage years, and I did soap operas as a teenager back in Nigeria!!! The Media has given me opportunity to minister to people across denominations, to people of all cultures, ages and races.
KTF: You are passionate about encouraging and nurturing women. In what ways would you like to see the Church being more supportive of women, particularly women in ministry?
PME: Here are my thoughts. Women make up the majority of the Lord’s workforce. Every employer knows to pay great attention to that major part of their workforce. That is why I am passionate about women and ministry to women. We have a special place in God’s heart and in God’s agenda. I encourage churches to give great support to their women ministries in the areas of affirming their leadership, training them and, where possible, allocating some portion of the church annual budget to Women’s ministry. Of course, this is only where it is possible.
KTF: After the WWA, 2014 seems set to be a very busy year for you. What other exciting things do you have planned for 2014?
PME: You can say that again! Wisdom for Women has conferences already planned in 2014 in Nigeria, Holland, London, South Africa, Birmingham and Spain and, of course, the Wise Women Awards in Nigeria. It’s a very busy year, but the God of all grace will give the grace again and again in Jesus’ mighty Name.
KTF: Lastly, what special message of hope would you like to leave with readers of Keep The Faith?
PME: When life offers you more than you can stand, please keep kneeling before God. Life can be tough but, like your magazine says, I encourage everyone to keep keeping the faith. Victory is sure, and there is light at the end of every tunnel.