“You see how fun this is?” Jane Patete asks as she describes her work as women’s ministry coordinator for the PCA’s Christian Education and Publications (CEP) committee. Filling this role for 12 years, Patete considers it a “privileged call” to further the vision of the PCA, which she has loved and served throughout her life.
God used Patete’s experience, as a young pastor’s wife, of participating in the PCA’s formation in 1973 to shape her life story and calling. She and her late husband, Tom, who was the Great Commission Publications (GCP) executive director until his death last year, served in three Mississippi churches until the Lord called them to Philadelphia, Pa. There, Jane worked in the library at Westminster Theological Seminary, where she says it was a kingdom privilege to serve the men of the PCA.
After moving to Atlanta for Tom’s GCP work, Jane served as administrative assistant to Susan Hunt, then the women’s ministry coordinator. Helping to plan conferences such as 1997’s “Helpers By Design” gathering “was a wonderful beginning for me to share my love for this church that God has called out for His covenant people,” said Patete. In 2001, Charles Dunahoo, then CEP coordinator, had a new role in mind for her. “When I approached Jane regarding the position of women’s coordinator, she was almost embarrassed that I would ask her to consider that role,” remembers Dunahoo.
“I never sought this position, but the Lord had other plans,” she replied.
Patete saw her role as building on and expanding the theological foundation and structure that Georgia Settle and Susan Hunt had established before her. Kathy Stair, Patete’s one-time administrative assistant and current women’s ministry trainer, says Patete built a strong team so that she could be in touch with the concerns of PCA women around the country. “As a team leader, Jane does a great job of identifying people’s giftedness. She is able to honor differences and bring us all together in one purpose, and then make sure that those gifts are given back out to PCA women,” said Stair.
“Jane has been an excellent example of a woman who uses her gifts to serve the church with great humility,” said Stephen Estock, current CEP coordinator. “She is consumed with a passion for seeing the next generation know the beauty and dignity of living as adopted daughters of God in service to His kingdom.” But beyond her ministry talents, Patete is most remembered by what earned her the nickname “Chaplain.” According to Stair, Patete is always comforting, counseling, praying, and pointing people to the Word. “Jane has a unique ability to lift your spirit with her willingness to always stop and listen to your story,” explained Dunahoo.
Anticipating retirement in February 2014, Patete said she’s glad that God didn’t listen to her when she was reluctant to take this job. “His purposes were that I would serve. These have been some of the most challenging and glorious years of my life. I watched the Lord take my personal fears and show me His strength and His purposes.” Patete leaves with great anticipation for the next steps of her life. “My book is still open. It is with great trust and anticipation that I look forward to my next chapters with this great God. He has been so good to me.”