This year’s theme, “Rise Up,” threaded throughout the event in the worship and speaking. Just walking outside between sessions lent reality to the theme as participants gazed at mountain peaks rising up toward heaven.
The first evening’s worship invited the women to leave a rock on the altar representing something they wanted to surrender or give to God. Friday morning, then-President Carla Sunberg of the Church of the Nazarene called the participants to “Rise Up,” using Song of Songs to encourage her listeners to rise up and follow Jesus. That evening, Janet Munn of the Salvation Army preached a message titled “Bow Before God” using Exodus to describe God as stooping to ask for our commitment in marriage and then to serve. Saturday evening, Joanne Solis-Walker of the Wesleyan Church preached through Ephesians and exhorted the women to “Stand in Christ.”
On Sunday morning, Free Methodist Gateway Conference Superintendent Lucia Delamarter preached on “Run With the Spirit,” telling us to “get in, sit down, shut up and hang on.” She ended by encouraging those who desired to pick up the rock they had laid down and find that burden lighter and different than when they gave it to God. Delamarter serves on the WHWC board and has assumed the presidency of this group for the coming term.
Other Free Methodists serving at the event included Diana Endicott and Beth Cullison who worked on the event’s planning committee and Kristen Markell and Beth Armstrong who participated in the worship team. Linda Scandrett Green presented a workshop titled “Responding to the GLBT Community,” and Kathy Callahan-Howell taught a workshop on “Exploring Publishing.”
Free Methodist livelihood ministry SEED provided beautiful bead necklaces to use as lanyards for the event. As each woman registered, she chose a necklace to wear with her nametag and to keep as a gift from SEED. Rose Brewer and Tasha Pryor brought a full display of SEED products to spread the word about opportunities to support livelihood groups around the world. Linda Adams provided a booth about International Child Care Ministries with opportunities to sponsor children.
Come to the Water will reconvene in two years, offering yet another opportunity of encouragement for women clergy.
The original version of this article can be found here.