2023: Recap and Challenge
By Anne P. Term 4, 2023.
This year has nearly gone and it is an appropriate time for us all to reflect on the year. It has been a busy one for all, including The Women’s Ministry Team (that seeks to teach, train and equip women to live out biblical womanhood).
In term one, we held a teaching day with Lesley Ramsay, “Answer the Call. Women: Gifted, Chosen and Called to serve Together in God’s Church”. Lesley taught us from a range of scripture passages and provided numerous practical examples on servanthood for us to discuss further and put into practice. We had the opportunity to break into small groups to consider a range of questions. This was an ideal opportunity to get together with other ladies from the various churches who we may not know. We prayed that all the ladies who attended were encouraged and have been spurred on to love and good deeds towards one another as we live all together and All for Jesus.
In term 2 we held a Book Club where over 20 ladies met to read and reflect on “Women of God” or “Gods Good Design”. The Book Club provided the ladies with an opportunity to grow in their understanding on Women’s Ministry and, from feedback received, it appears they were greatly challenged and encouraged by what they read.
In term 3, a number of our church women gave short practical testimonials through the weekly church email on how they engage in loving and serving our church both informally and formally. It was encouraging to see how God is working in our lives to develop a culture of godly growth and love for one another.
And now we are, unbelievably, in term 4. Our Women’s Ministry Team is currently reading and reviewing the Women’s Resource Collection which is available online through the church website. I encourage all ladies to peruse the collection, as there is much wisdom to be found in the books included. Many of the books are available to purchase or some can be borrowed from individual church members.
With the end of the year approaching, now is the ideal time for you to sit back, pour yourself a cuppa and think over the year. For many, one year quickly blends into another, and we are quite automatic in our decision making as to what will have our time in the coming year. Reflection takes purposeful time to do, but is a valuable skill and part of maturity as a person and a Christian. So find some time to prayerfully reflect this term. Ask yourself some questions: what have I taken away from this year? How have I grown in my identity as the woman God designed me to be? What areas can I focus on in 2024 to make and develop deeper relationships with other women? How can I serve in 2024? Are what I am saying “yes” to the most important things?
Perhaps these reflections will prompt you to arrange a meet up with another woman from our church community to discuss these together. Use this time to encourage one another, share a passage of scripture and PRAY with and for each other. There is great power and encouragement to be had when we share these things with one another. Remember the reflection Jess S. shared with us early this year? She encouraged us to not “walk alone on our journey but to teach, model, upskill and empower each other to live all for Jesus”.
This is our Call to Action for 2024. Please don’t put it off and leave it until next year. Don’t delay. Act Now.
‘God’s Good Design’ BookClub Reflection
By Clare M. Term 3, 2023.
Here’s how I found myself in a group of women being vulnerable, gracious and dedicated to understanding God’s words and how they produce growth, not just for themselves, but for the growth of each other.
As a young adult I remember being told that it was important to be a ‘reader’ if you were a Christian. The sentiment was that you need to be reading regularly (God’s word, books about Christian living) if you wanted to keep growing. I found this hard. I found reading hard…not the skill of it, but reading for enjoyment, relaxation and from a desire to do it. Reading still feels like work for me so when the Women’s Ministry Team decided that it would be helpful for the women of BPC to have the opportunity to engage in understanding more about their God given roles through a Bookclub, I had mixed feelings. On one hand I thought, “Uugh…a term of work” – finding time to read through a book and really thinking it through. But the other part of me knew that brought with it the potential for growth, not just in myself, but in all the women who committed to it. So with a mix of enthusiasm and apprehension I signed up to a group reading through ‘God’s Good Design’, by Claire Smith.
Week 1 of the bookclub rolls around and I’m already wondering if there’s any way I can back out. It’s another night out in the week when my week already feels full. What if everyone doesn’t think the same way I do about the book and I have to address conflict? But my value to remain committed to the things I make a commitment to wins out and I turn up.
Every week in the lead up to our meet ups I continued to feel the same things as week 1 and continued to work through the reasons why I didn’t feel like going, but why I should go. And every week, despite my reluctance at the beginning, I found myself encouraged by a group of very different women, from different generations, different upbringings, different stages of life, differing relationship statuses, all impacting on our current view of the world and our role as a woman… and yet here we are, united in our desire to keep coming back to God’s word and reflecting on what it says our roles are, rather than what our feelings and influences say. Here was a group of women being vulnerable, gracious and dedicated to understanding God’s words and how they produce growth, not just for themselves, but for the growth of each other. Surely, whether I have to psych myself up for it or not, that is something worth spending my time on, and something I will look back on and be thankful I did. So perhaps I will never love reading like others do, but in God’s kindness I might learn that by doing what does not come naturally to me I might be encouraged and matured in ways I wouldn’t if I only ever said yes to things I enjoyed.
Serving at Church
Term 2, 2023.
Get to know the Women’s Ministry Team
Term 1, 2023.
We All Need Walking Buddies
reflection by Jess S. Term 4, 2022.
I grew up with bedtime stories, and one of my favourites to be read was The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan. While dangerous lions and murky swamps are perhaps not the best images to send a child off to sleep with, there were many great examples of courage, deliverance, friendship and truth that I could store in my memory for a later day. For those who have not read it, allow me to provide a far-too-brief summary: an everyday man called Christian goes on a journey from the City of Destruction (supposed to symbolise this world) to the Celestial City (heaven), being guided by his bible and avoiding any temptations that would lead him off the Narrow Path. His journey is hard and long and dangerous and he often goes astray, especially when he walks alone. In the story, Christian’s journey is most secure when he is walking with fellow pilgrims, aptly named Faithful and Hopeful. By himself, Christian is easily persuaded to leave the narrow path, join in on the joys of this world, or even stop and sleep a while. But when he is in the company of a friend on the same journey things go differently: they encourage each other to remain focused, they remind each other of what they know to be true when faced with appealing alternatives, and they pull each other along until they finally reach their destination.
Some of us may already know what a difference fellow pilgrims like Faithful and Hopeful make on our journey to the Celestial City. But some of us may feel like we are journeying alone – sure there are other people on the same road, but we’re hardly carpooling. This isolation can be accidental or habitual, but either way it makes a long and hard journey all the more difficult. Many of us felt that keenly during covid lockdowns – our bible reading decreased, our anxiety increased, we were just so tired of holding others together while struggling ourselves, and the narrow path never looked less appealing. That’s why the Women’s Ministry Team chose our focus for this year to be “Fostering Connections for Gospel Growth” – making and deepening relationships with fellow travellers so that we could walk together the road to knowing, loving and obeying Jesus all the more, with eternity with him as the goal. There is a vast chasm between sharing a friendly smile with someone we vaguely know and having safe and trustworthy walking buddies that we can rely on, but it is a chasm we need to cross if we are to journey with people well while we all take turns being the faster and slower walker.
I cannot imagine making it far on the path to the Celestial City without some faithful friends walking alongside me. They are the ones who give me courage when there are lions on the path, who pull me along when shiny distractions call my name, and who walk ever so slowly with me when I am burdened, so that I might limp but not stop. Like Faithful and Hopeful, these sisters show me Jesus and point me to Truth, that I might follow him faithfully in an ever-changing world. We want to be a church family full of such pilgrims so that no one walks alone, and the Women’s Ministry Team is committed to helping our women be excellent walking buddies. So, watch this space in the new year as we provide opportunities and resources to teach, model, upskill and empower each other to live all for Jesus.