New show by and for Christian women
WHEN MELINDA ESTABROOKS first pitched her show to a group of male network executives, she was given a firm no. "But God said to me, ‘No means not yet.’" When Lorna Dueck became CEO at Crossroads Christian Communications, Estabrooks approached her. "And Lorna said, ‘Let’s do it!’ So we launched on International Women’s Day in 2017. It was an absolute step in faith," she says.
Estabrooks had about 20 years’ experience in the Christian media world before developing See Hear Love, a show by and for Christian women. She had been at Crossroads before, working on a show called Full Circle. She recalls it as the first Canadian show of its type – a place where Christian women shared thoughts and stories about their faith and life. It lasted seven years.
"I remember it ended and as cohosts we grieved it," says Estabrooks. "We had been rallying women across the country, and we knew there was something special about Canadian women coming together and sharing honestly."
See Hear Love began as an online program, well poised to reach millennials. Now in its fourth season, the show has expanded to radio, podcasts and national television with women watching from around the globe (www.SeeHearLove.com). Estabrooks says the appeal lies in the show’s authenticity.
"When we launched, we went for it," she says. "We went right into divorce, daughter/father issues, women in church leading, identity and self-esteem. I said to my co-hosts, ‘You need to be willing to be honest. There’s no, "No comment." I want it to be real.’ "
The show follows a panel format with Estabrooks and four cohosts (Cheryl Nembhard, Brooke Nicholls, Lisa Pak and Joanna la Fleur) each representing different ages and ethnicities. Guests talk candidly about personal challenges – one episode featured a woman who shared her struggles with bipolar disorder. "When you’re your true, authentic self, we invite people into our lives," says Estabrooks. "I want women to be sharing and talking openly, and to bring people into a conversation about Jesus that is so needed today."
The show’s tagline – and hope – is that viewers will be reminded that they are seen, heard and deeply loved by God. "Women often don’t feel seen. They’re lonely, they need connection, they need friendships," says Estabrooks. "They’re not heard. They have no platform to talk, to write their story. There’s silence on women’s issues. And then loved – it’s what we all want – to be loved, adored, cherished and valued," she says. "That’s it. To be seen, heard and loved. And so we are reminded, through our conversations on the show, of our love for Jesus and His love for us." –AMY MACLACHLAN
PHOTO: CATHERINE LIGUORI PHOTOGRAPHY