I have been attending the PW Annual Meeting for many years and have always come away uplifted and inspired and this year I was just as uplifted and inspired, but there was a big difference - I had taken on the role of President. In preparation I had been very much part of the planning, the thinking, the energy and the prayers.
It was a privilege to join with women throughout the Church who are at the ‘roots’ of PW and came to glorify God, as we lifted our hearts in worship. One aspect of our annual meetings that has been inspiring each year is the worship and this year was no different; the lifting of praise to God was wonderful.
We are most grateful to Erin McBride from Wellington Presbyterian, Emma Smyth from Ballyloughan congregation and their colleagues for arranging the musical part of the programme and leading the worship in a most meaningful way.
Our guest speaker Nicola Clark, who is the youth worker in Orangefield Presbyterian, spoke on our theme for next year - ‘Grow and bear fruit’ which is taken from Colossians 1:10 ‘…..bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.’
Growing in relationship with Jesus
In the afternoon she explored what it means to remain in Jesus and to grow in our relationship with Him. We cannot be fruitful unless we remain in Him. In the evening she challenged us to think what the fruit of the spirit actually looks like in our every day lives.
Nicola also shared with us, how as a young woman she had benefited from the wisdom and knowledge of older women, who had been on the Christian journey longer than her. She really encouraged all those present to be prepared to mentor younger women when opportunities arose.
Here are two of the very encouraging comments I received after the meetings: ‘I would like to express our congratulations on two wonderful meetings. All who attended from our group really enjoyed the speaker on both occasions. We felt inspired by the message delivered and felt it was very a very fitting launch to the new theme.’ The second was ‘God is raising women up…. He is on the move.’
Letting God move
My prayer for Presbyterian Women over the next year is that as members we will allow God to move in and through each one of us, that He will move in our groups, that there will be an outpouring of His blessing on groups and that we will grow and bear fruit.
Our groups should be places where women can flourish and grow in Christ. God calls us to be fresh and green no matter what age we are, and my prayer is that we will not be resistant to any changes God wants us to make. God calls us to a life of spiritual growth, which we cannot achieve standing still – we must move on. If we are trusting in Him, then He will guide and help us to deal with any challenges that lie ahead.
As the Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 4: 15-16. ‘Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work’
Elma is married to Ian and has two sons, a daughter and six grandchildren. She retired in 2013 having worked with her husband and sons in the family business. She is an elder in Hillsborough Presbyterian Church and has held a nuymber of offices in PW.
Elma is pictured with Pauline Kennedy, Women's Ministry & PW Development Officer, Nicola Clarke and the Moderator, Rt. Rev. Dr. Frank Sellar.
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