Sandra Kay Williams models Christian motherhood, prayer, and leadership.
(The following is a re-print of an original feature published in the July 27, 2012 edition of General Assembly Today, the daily publication of the Church of God General Assembly.)
By Lorna Gosnell, coordinator of Church of God Women’s Discipleship
The Church of God welcomes Sandra Kay Williams, wife of newly-installed General Overseer Mark L. Williams, as International Women’s Ministry President for the Church of God.
Our new “First Lady” was born December 13, 1968 to Mr. and Mrs. William R. Collins of Houston, Texas. She was saved at age six at her Granddaddy Collins’ church in Grapevine, Texas where he was pastor. According to Sandra Kay, she received the baptism of the Holy Ghost literally “under the Bible of Floyd Lawhon” at age nine.
She first met her husband, Mark, during a youth camp in 1985 at age sixteen. Mark was the night speaker. After service one evening, Mark came through the concession line where Sandra Kay was working. He looked up to pay and jokingly asked, “Will you marry me?” Little did she know that that question would be prophetic.
Sandra Kay graduated with honors from Deer Park High School in 1987. In 1988 she attended San Jacinto College on a music scholarship. She carried eighteen hours that first semester, while also going through the Ministerial Internship Program (MIP). One of her teachers in MIP was Mark Williams’ mother, Rose Marie Williams. Sandra Kay played French horn professionally with the Pasadena Philharmonic Orchestra while still a student at San Jacinto College.
In 1988, Mark conducted a revival at the church where she faithfully attended. In the spring of 1989, he came back for another revival. During the revival, Sandra Kay asked Mark to go to the Houston Symphony with her. Mark declined because he did not date during revivals. As was the case so many times in the past, groups of people from the church would go to local restaurants to fellowship after service. After the revival ended, Mark asked to ride to the restaurant with Sandra Kay. Since she drove a black and gold Dodge Ram 50 truck, she thought he just liked her truck. He asked for her phone number that night.
Sandra Kay and Mark’s first date was on a Tuesday night of Texas Camp Meeting in 1989. Sandra Kay transferred to Lee College (now Lee University) in the fall of 1989. In September of 1989, Mark asked her to marry him. They were married December 29, 1989.
Sandra Kay began traveling with her new husband and while evangelizing and singing every night in the 1990’s she completed two recording projects. She returned to Lee in 1995 and completed a bachelor’s degree in church music, with honors.
The summer of 1995 she became mother to Austin Mark. While serving as pastor’s wife and women’s leader at South Cleveland Church of God in Cleveland, Tennessee, she worked as a counselor at New Hope Pregnancy Care Center. At her job she was able to lead young women away from abortion and prayed many of them through to salvation. She started a ministry for young mothers at that pastorate called “Mothers on the Move.” She led worship at Community Bible Study (an international, inter-denominational organization) in Tampa, Florida, while serving as the pastor’s wife at Riverhills Church of God. Sandra Kay started a small group women’s Bible study at their church and saw it grow to well over 100 every week on both Tuesday mornings and Wednesday nights. She hosted several regional nights of Worship for Women with well-known speakers and large crowds coming great distances.
In 2001, the Lord again blessed their home with another son, Ryan Lanier, while living in Florida. Sandra Kay’s world was rocked by a horrible fall June 12, 2004 when she fell ten feet through the attic to her garage floor, shattering her heel. After many months in a wheelchair and torturous therapy, she adopted Psalm 56:13 as her verse for life, “For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.” In August 2004, while still in a wheelchair, she and her family made the move across country to Fresno, California.
As state Women’s Ministries president she enjoyed hosting women’s conferences and pastor’s wives retreats. Heavily involved in her boys’ school and extracurricular activities, she kept her boys in the local church and traveled minimally for the sake of their stability.
In October 2007, she lost her father, with whom she was very close, to cancer and empathizes with those who suffer loss. While serving on the International Women’s Advisory Council in 2008 she was selected to serve on the Peniel Board of Directors (Pennsylvania) a Christian rehabilitation center for those struggling with substance abuse, addiction and dependency.
She has enjoyed homeschooling both Austin and Ryan since the fall of 2010. Her boys are her first priority. Austin began classes at Lee this fall to fulfill his final requirements for his home school high school graduation and Ryan begins 6th grade junior high at a private Christian school in Cleveland. With these academic changes Sandra Kay will be able to focus more fully on the responsibilities and duties of her role as International Women’s Ministry President. She is eager to embrace her role and minister to the women of the Church of God. Sandra Kay has a first-hand understanding of the pressures and multitasking demands faced by 21st Century women.
When asked what she would like to say to pastors’ wives throughout our church she responded, “That they involve themselves in a prayer group of ten to twelve women. It doesn’t have to be women within their church. Find Christian women in your community to meet with weekly for prayer. Prayer keeps you sane, makes you accountable, fortifies you spiritually and is vital for your home, marriage and ministry.”