Coming from across Ireland to worship and hear from God’s Word together members launched the theme of 2017/2018 ‘Grow and bear fruit’ and unveiled this year’s Special Project, which focuses on deaconesses.
The meeting also received the Annual Report that detailed over £500,000 (€591,000) raised last year by PW members for mission both at home in Ireland and overseas. This included support for the renovation of the Damascus Presbyterian Church in Syria.
Orangefield Presbyterian Church’s Youth Worker, Nicola Clarke, is the guest speaker speaking on this year’s theme at both meetings. The Moderator, Rt. Rev. Dr. Frank Sellar, who brought the greetings of the General Assembly, was also welcomed to the meeting.
This year’s President, Elma Leeburn (pictured), who is an Elder at Hillsborough Presbyterian Church and served as Home Vice President last year, said that she was thoroughly looking forward to visiting and encouraging PW groups throughout Ireland.
“Presbyterian Women is a well equipped organisation with the potential to impact thousands of women. In society the role of women has changed and although we may need to do some things differently there is one thing that hasn’t changed and that is the PW motto ‘Living for Jesus’,” she said.
“Our theme for 2017/18 Grow and bear fruit wants us to consider how women in the 21st century can grow in their faith and live lives that glorify God. It is taken from Colossians 1:10 ‘…bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.’ The Apostle Paul reminds us that we are all a ‘work in progress’ and that God wants us to blossom where we are planted and that He has not finished with any of us yet!
“If we keep close to God daily and allow Him to change us, we will not merely be His witnesses, but we will be evidence of what He is able to do in a life surrendered to Him.”
As women’s fellowships within the Church, each of the 465 PW Groups aim is to encourage women to become Christians, while seeking ways to actively reach women in their own area for Jesus and supporting mission at home and overseas.
Attending the meeting, Dr. Sellar said that he prayed God’s richest blessing on Elma for her year in office and the work and mission of PW. “In this year of Global Concern, our Fit for Purpose theme as a Church, it is thrilling to see that all over the world the gospel is bearing fruit and growing, and wonderful that women from so many congregations throughout Ireland are participants in this exciting adventure of faith,” he said.
Keeping to the ‘Grow and bear fruit’ theme, guest speaker Nicola Clarke said that the Bible had much to say on the subject. “In John Chapter 15 Jesus tells His disciples that He is the Vine and they are the branches. In my talk I wanted to explore what it means and what it actually looks like for us, as Christian women, to remain in Jesus and grow in our relationship with Him,” Nicola said.
“In the evening celebration I will be following on from this idea of growing in Christ and will look at how we bear fruit. The focus here will be Galatians 5:22 and the fruit of the Spirit which is ‘love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control’. I will be exploring the idea that they are not fruits but ‘fruit’ and what that actually looks like in our every day lives as we remain and grow in Jesus.”
L-R: Pauline Kennedy, Women's Ministry & PW Development Officer, Nicola Clarke, Elma Leeburn
and the Moderator, Rt. Rev. Dr. Frank Sellar
You can read Elma Leeburn's first blog as President here. You can also find out more information on the work and ministry of Presbyterian Women here.