Seventy women received the blessings of Southwestern’s Dressed for Service ministry this spring in Fort Worth and Houston, each shopping with a Women’s Auxiliary (WA) mentor, who helped her select an outfit suitable for serving in ministry.

Dressed for Service equips selected graduating female students and wives of graduating students with a head-to-toe outfit appropriate for graduation, interviews, church services, pulpit committees, speaking engagements and convention events.

As WA Coordinator Karen Collett met with a group of 19 women on one of the several shopping days, she explained that Southwestern First Lady Dorothy Patterson began Dressed for Service after experiencing firsthand the difficulty of not having the means to purchase a nice outfit for these types of functions. Patterson decided that, with the Lord’s help, no student or wife under her care would have to have the same experience when they left seminary and entered the ministry. The women of the auxiliary have been just as passionate in supporting the ministry.

“This ministry is loved by our Women’s Auxiliary ladies,” Collett said. “They light up when talking about this special ministry. They love making a difference in the lives of our students—hearing what God is doing in their lives.”

During one of the Fort Worth shopping days held in March, mentors helped women select suits, skirts and dresses to try on and helped them think through which outfits provided comfort and helped them present themselves in a classy fashion. After they chose outfits, with the help of Dillard’s associates, the women found footwear to coordinate with their new outfits.

After lunch at the Dixie House Café, the women headed to Macy’s to find purses to complete their ensembles. Each woman also had the chance to choose a new shade of Artistry lipstick.

 In April, the women visited Premier Designs, where they chose three pieces of jewelry to complete their ministry-minded outfit. A portion of the women who shopped during Dressed for Service will model their new outfits at the Women’s Auxiliary Tea, April 11.

Former Miss America Donna Whitworth, who helped Patterson begin Dressed for Service in 2005, says she always looks forward to meeting the women whom the ministry supports each year.

“I always get a great deal of pleasure out of going to the tea and being introduced to the wives who are modeling their clothes,” Whitworth said.
“They are such charming young women when they come to the table to visit, and they are so appreciative of having that special outfit.”

Whitworth said Dressed for Service allows women to enter a new ministry assignment with the confidence and poise that should accompany a woman serving the Lord.

“It’s a great way of making sure the first impression is the best impression for our Lord,” Whitworth said.

Collett said the generous and often sacrificial gifts of those who support Dressed for Service keep the ministry going year after year. Because Women’s Auxiliary never spends funds for the ministry that they do not already have, they always welcome any who wish to give to Dressed for Service at any level.

This spring, 92 ministry partners made it possible for Dressed for Service to dress 65 women in Fort Worth and five in Houston.