Women and God Annual Gathering 2018!
Women and God is our national annual gathering for women to 'explore, learn and grow' and celebrate what it means to be a Woman of God.
This year our theme was PRICE TAG; The Cost of Living and was held at the Hayes Conference Centre from 22 - 24 June.
Worship sessions focused on this year’s theme of Price Tag: the Cost of Living and Bible verses from Philippians 3: 7-11 where Paul writes about losing everything for the sake of Christ. (New Living Translation).
In two teaching sessions “The Price” and “The Cost”, guest speaker Lieut-Colonel Gill Cotterill unpacked what following Jesus really means: “In our covenant relationship with God, he gets my life that leads to death and I get his that ends in eternity.”
Gill likened this to a free gift, where someone else has paid the price: “We are precious to God but we shouldn’t take this for granted. In Paul’s story, God came searching for him and turned him around. We, too, are the pearls that Jesus comes looking for but what does it really mean to follow Jesus in our everyday lives?
“Sometimes we think of the big costs like being called to be overseas but, whatever age you are, God is still calling you to follow him. It’s the calling in our everyday living, our attitude, how we deal with people. If we do that in a Christ-like way, Christ uses that for the transformation of where we are, our communities, and hopefully the world.”
Delegates might question whether they can make a difference. They were challenged that “being brave starts with small steps” in teaching by Emma Worral from Open Doors, an international ministry serving an estimated 200 million Christians who are persecuted worldwide.
As she shared stories of people who risk it all for Jesus, Emma explained how Christians can be locked up in prison camps or side-lined into certain jobs because of their faith: “It’s easy to portray Jesus as a mix between Santa and Superman but in the persecuted Church around the world Christians know that faith is costly and Jesus is totally worth that price.”
Emma told of Hea Woo who was imprisoned in North Korea as Christians are enemies of the state in that country. “This little lady with a giant heart for Jesus shared her portions of rice, washed the rags of other prisoners and held church services in the toilet blocks as the smells were so horrendous, it was the one place the prison guards would not go.”
The final session of the weekend called “The Investment” encouraged everyone to leave their rubbish behind them and to have the courage to live out a high-visibility faith in their homes, churches and communities as women of God.
Delegates raised £1,500 for the Waves of Transformation Helping Hand Appeal. Other highlights included Nexus Youth Chorus from the West Midlands Division who presented a vibrant evening of singing, worship and Generation Game-style challenges.
Eight workshops on Saturday afternoon included: craftivism - art and crafts for gentle protest; spirituality and growing older with Regional Older People’s Specialist Ali Thornton-Stark; Dr Helen Cameron Head of Public Affairs on how to stand up for unjust issues; and Major Rita Pearce from the Well-Being Unit on Christian meditation and mindfulness.