The 2019 SK PAOC District Conference is behind us and, well, it was one my heart was glad to experience and where I was an eyewitness to a historical moment in our particular district. This theme song is currently on repeat. Oh I will sing, of the goodness of God.
The significant experience for me personally was this: My friend and co-labourer in Christ, The Reverend Gwen Hacking was ELECTED (by 70% +, I think) to a position on our district leadership. This matters friends. Why? Because she’s the first woman EVER to be elected to a position in our region!
Another big highlight, the ordination of The Reverend Donna Drisner. In 2017 I was part of a missions team with Donna and got to know her. That 2017 trip showed me what a godly, gifted, loving woman Donna is. She didn’t need to be ordained for me to know that, but it was terrific to see the affirmation of her gifts and calling. If you don’t know her, you’re missing out. She is one of the funniest people I know!
And in the spirit of growing, a question was raised asking if there was a scripture that could be used to support women in ministry. It’s a good question, and in the spirit of giving some essential resources, here is our PAOC statement on Women in Ministry, and here’s one of the best videos I’ve ever watched, taught by two brothers in Christ, on women in ministry. I use this video in my class. I would encourage the use of these resources to encourage conversations.
Another exciting highlight is that we have a new District Superintendent, Assistant District Superintendent and a few new District Officers. It’s a season of change and an exciting one at that!
I heard from several of our women present that this was the most welcome they’ve felt at a conference. I echo that. There was such deep respect for one another. The first morning of the conference I was greeted by a dear friend, Pastor Luke. Upon seeing me, Luke immediately smiled, gave me a brotherly hug, and told me how good it was to see me. The feeling is mutual. You see Luke is a brother who is creating space for the female leaders; and, as a father of two young girls, understands the importance of the call to stand should-to-shoulder in ministry. He’s an extraordinary, growing, influential leader in his calling, but he gets that we’re strong together.
I also had the opportunity to serve as a junior parlimentarian, serving alongside Bill and Norm (Chair). These two guys welcomed me in, and we had a lot of fun serving together. We also sat together as we recognized the loss of Bill’s wife, Marlene, in 2017. She is missed, and she leaves an ever-present ache in Bill’s life. How could her passing not? They served in ministry for something like 50 years! My heart hurt for him. We had a brother/sisterly hug on more than one occasion during the conference. Hugs are a healing, caring act. He needed them; I needed them.
As for the ratifications & resolutions -they were pretty straight forward which made the parliamentarians jobs reasonably easy, but look out 2021, there’s a big resolution discussion coming! (This, friends, is my geeky side coming out!)
The 2019 District Conference may be over, but there is work to do, here are a couple of my closing thoughts:
- Leadership is hard work – let’s continue to pray for our leaders and to fight for the unity of the Spirit. Jesus interceded for it; it matters.
- We need to be intentional to find ways to bring the voice of our female leaders to the table. Our story begins in Genesis 1. In that story, it is abundantly clear that the distribution of God-given authority was to rest in the expression of the two genders. If you’re in a new leadership position, be intentional in your ability to chose who you surround yourself with.
- Find ways to champion one another on, and if you have a conflict with someone, resolve it. Leaders model the way!
- Keep showing up in the places God is asking you to show up – we need you!
- Steward wisely and well the power that’s been entrusted to you because it affects our witness to the world and affects the lives of people. Hold it with an open hand because it’s God’s power you steward.
- Be kind to one another – you never know the struggle another is going through.
I heard this statement the other day and I’ve not been able to shake it “Jesus deserves the reward of his suffering.” Let’s never give up; there are souls that need to find their identity and home in Jesus.
I look forward to 2021.
p.s Thanks Pastor John for taking my junior parliamentarian request seriously and creating space for me!