ARP Women’s Ministries
The Vision of ARP Women’s Ministries (ARPWM) is to encourage and equip the community of ARP women to minister together for God’s glory and purpose.
The membership of ARPWM consists of all women who are members of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in the United States and Canada. It is the desire of the members of ARPWM that all women in the ARP Church know Jesus intimately, love Jesus faithfully, and serve Jesus fruitfully.
As an organization of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, ARPWM operates under the supervision of General Synod and has one Annual Meeting each year. Proceedings at the ARPWM Annual Meeting are governed by Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised. ARPWM is served by the Women’s Ministries Board (WMB) which holds three meetings per year. The Executive Committee (EC) of the WMB holds five meetings per year. According to the Constitution and Bylaws, the Women’s Ministries Board has the authority to conduct the business of ARPWM between Annual Meetings.
Women’s Ministries Board Membership
Voting members are President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Historian, Spiritual Life Chair, Missions and Outreach Chair and one woman representative from each Presbytery.
Non-Voting, Advisory members are Past President, Parliamentarian, Coordinator of ARPWM, and Executive Director of Central Services.
Executive Committee Membership
Voting members are President, Vice President, Past President, Secretary, and Treasurer.
Non-Voting Advisory members are Parliamentarian, Coordinator of ARPWM and Executive Director of Central Services.
Standing Committees of ARPWM
Constitution and Bylaws, Family Bible Conference, Finance, Historical Library, Missions and Outreach, Nominating, Spiritual Life, and Synodical Hall.
Special Committees may be appointed by the President as needed.
Synod’s boards and committees
ARPWM appoints representatives to Synod’s boards and committees through Synod’s Committee on Nominations. There are currently ARPWM Representatives serving on the following Synod Boards and Committees: Benefits, Bonclarken, Christian Education Ministries, Dunlap, Erskine College, Executive Board, Inter-Church Relations, Nominations, Outreach North America, Stewardship, Theological and Social Concerns, Worship, and World Witness.
Why Women’s Ministries?
The Purposes of ARP Women’s Ministries are as follows:
- Encourage every woman to cultivate a relationship with Jesus Christ
- Affirm the Biblical roles of women
- Foster unity within the body of Christ
- Promote community and Christian sisterhood among our women (connections)
- Encourage the women to discover and use their gifts for Christian service
- Motivate and equip women to reach people for Christ at home and around the world
- Oversee collection and distribution of designated gifts and other contributions
- Honor our heritage and maintain historical records
- Continue to improve communication through all available channels
- Train and equip women at all levels of ministry (local, Presbyterial, denomination)
- Continue to cast the Vision of ARP Women’s Ministries in an effective and efficient manner
Fulfilling our Purposes
Oasis is an event planned by the Spiritual Life Committee of ARP Women’s Ministries and hosted by some of the WM officers. This event is offered to women in attendance during the meeting of General Synod. The goal of Oasis is to provide a time of spiritual refreshment and renewal. In 2014 the guest speaker was Sharon Carr, wife of retired minister, Rev. Fred Carr. Sharon spoke to the women about building relationships with other women. The program provided plenty of time for small group discussions and interaction among the women.
The Spiritual Life Committee has been working very hard for this year’s program as well. The guest speaker for Oasis 2015 will be Fran Cope from Rock Hill, SC. Fran, wife of Marty Cope is a member of Ebenezer ARP Church, where she is active in most areas of the life of the church. The topic for this year’s Oasis will be “What’s A Girl To Do?” based on Titus 2:1-5. Fran will lead the women in exploring deep into these verses to find what God says about the who, what, and why of what a girl’s to do.
100th Celebration, Women’s Annual Meeting
In July, 2014, ARP Women’s Ministries celebrated its 100th Annual Meeting with the “Life is Great” Women’s Conference. The goal of this fantastic conference was to celebrate God’s faithfulness to the ARP women, to encourage spiritual growth and build community and Christian sisterhood among ARP women. It featured guest speaker, Ellie Lofaro and a concert by popular singer/musician, Babbie Mason. Dr. Derek Thomas, Senior Minister of First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, SC preached the sermon, Celebrating Women’s Ministry, during the Worship Service. In his sermon he considered the characteristics of the Titus 2 woman.
Ellie’s messages were Believing God’s Promises (Genesis 12:1-2), Being an Over Comer (Joshua 3:4a), and Building a Legacy (focusing on the difference between Heritage and Legacy). Babbie, two-time Dove Award recipient, filled the Chapel with music containing biblical truths taken from Psalm 100, 1 Corinthians 13, John 17, and more. An offering of $1,300 was collected and given to World Witness, designated for ongoing teacher training/development in the ARP Schools in Pakistan.
A highlight of the Conference was the announcement by Steve Nichols, Director of Gift Planning for the ARP Foundation, that a sizable gift had been received from a dear Sister-in-Christ. This donation will establish an endowment for ARP Women’s Ministries. We are extremely grateful for this generosity so that Women’s Ministries can continue to build a legacy of encouraging, equipping, and connecting women for generations to come. Then, to add to the excitement, Moderator Larry Littlejohn, on behalf of General Synod, presented a $1,000 check to ARP Women’s Ministries in honor of the 100th celebration. WM is also very grateful for this gift and for the encouraging support of General Synod. A special thanks to Steve Nichols for his help and support in establishing the Endowment Fund.
The “Life is Great Conference” was so well received that ARPWM is now exploring the possibilities of holding Regional Women’s Conferences (Spring and Fall), beginning in 2016.
Recommended Bible Studies
Women’s ministries in local churches usually begin their annual Bible studies in September or January depending on which calendar year they follow. A responsibility of the ARPWM Spiritual Life Committee is to select a book of the Bible to study each year (alternating the Old and New Testaments), and then to recommend that book of the Bible, along with study books approved by Christian Education Ministries (CEM), for use by the women in our local churches. The use of these approved, recommended study books is not mandatory. However, if the women choose to use those books recommended by the WM Board, they, and you as their pastors, can be confident that they have been reviewed and approved with proper authority, by CEM. Women’s Ministries is blessed to have CEM to work with us in selecting, ordering and promoting study books.
During the current year (2014-2015) we have been studying the book of Titus and have been using Opening up Titus, by David Campbell, which is a study of the whole book of Titus, and A Woman’s High Calling, by Elizabeth George, which is a topical study of Titus 2:3-5. The theme Scripture verse is Titus 3:5a “He saved us not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy” with the focus being on God’s grace in our salvation.
The WM Board voted in 2013 to study the book of Joshua in 2015-2016 and have recommended the study book, Joshua: No Falling Words, by Dale Ralph Davis. The spiritual life study book will be Extravagant Grace (God’s Glory Displayed in Our Weakness) by Barbara Duguid. Our theme Scripture verse will be Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
The WM Board voted in 2014 to study the book of Galatians in 2016-2017 and at the WM Annual Meeting this year (2015) the WM Spiritual Life Committee plans to recommend Timothy Keller’s book, Galatians for You. They also plan to recommend The Envy of Eve, by Melissa B. Kruger, as the supplemental spiritual life study book. The recommended theme verses will be Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
Prayer Emphasis Program
Each year ARP WM publishes a Prayer Emphasis Program in the November/December issue of the ARP Magazine. The purpose of the Prayer emphasis is to encourage, strengthen and bless the prayer lives of the readers. The Program is designed for individual or corporate use. We urge the women in the local churches to use the program prepared by the ARPWM Spiritual Life Committee and printed in The ARP Magazine, but we also encourage them to design their own program if they so choose. The theme Scripture verses for the 2015 program are Titus 3:4-7 and the theme is “Prayer – A blessing of God’s kindness, love, mercy and grace.”
Missions and Outreach
Support of Missionaries and their ministries has been at the heart of ARP Women’s Ministries since its beginning. We continue to financially help support two “Jubilee Birthday Ladies” through World Witness. Through the year 2014, we supported Shelia Osborne and Nannette Howard. Nannette Howard retired at the end of 2014, so we will vote on a replacement for her at our Annual Meeting in July, 2015.
ARPWM also sends monetary Love Gifts to the retired missionaries at Christmas time. These missionaries have responded to the gifts with great appreciation.
WM Missions and Outreach Committee members continue to seek methods of outreach to both foreign missionaries and church planters in the US and Canada. They seek to maintain communication with them and they encourage the local churches and Presbyterials to do the same. This Committee is available to Presbyterials and local churches to provide practical support and ideas for ministry to church planters’ and missionary wives. Recommended Bible study books are made available to missionary wives by ARPWM. WM orders and pays for the books through CEM and World Witness sees that the books are delivered to the women. Last year, the WM Missions and Outreach Committee was responsible for the Women’s Ministries display during World Focus.
Family Bible Conference
ARPWM has two WM Representatives on the CEM Family Bible Conference Planning Team. The WM Vice President works closely with these Representatives in order to coordinate the WM Annual Meeting happenings with the WM portion of the Family Bible Conference. She acts as a liaison between ARPWM Board and the WM Representatives. The theme for the Family Bible Conference 2015 is “As I was with Moses, I will be with you.” The Conference theme Scripture text is Joshua 1:7-9. A special treat this year will be that Dr. Dale Ralph Davis, author of the WM study book for next year, Joshua: No Falling Words, will be teaching the Bible study at the Conference.
In addition to traditional women’s events such as the Silver Tea and the Showcase, ARPWM has requested that the Planning Team offer three seminars this year which will be of particular interest to women— one on leadership training (Casting the Vision), one on relationships (Intentional Pursuit of Relationships), and one on various Methods of Bible study.
One of the goals of the WMB this year has been to work toward increased training opportunities for the ARP women, so that they can be better equipped to lead and serve in their local churches, communities and around the world. During the past few months, ARP Women’s Ministries has been working in conjunction with Judi Hodges, CEM Training Coordinator, to evaluate the training needs of the women and begin to plan and produce appropriate events, seminars, etc. to meet those needs. Judi has been most helpful in providing guidance as we begin to set goals and plan for future events. We hope to continue this partnership with CEM as we seek to provide good, sound, Biblical training for the women of the ARPC.
The ARP Magazine is our primary source of communication with members of the ARPC. We are grateful to Susan Tanner and the staff of the Magazine for their assistance in making the best use of the space allotted to Women’s Ministries. This year one of our focuses has been on the good works that Women’s Ministries in local churches and Presbyterials are doing. It is a blessing to read about the impact the women are having in their churches, communities, and around the world.
ARP Women’s Ministries continues to seek ways to improve our means of communication. The ARPWM website is a work in progress, along with getting information on Facebook and other social media, and producing printed materials. We have also been busy working on a video introducing Women’s Ministries, as well as seeking someone to produce the video and to make audio recordings of speakers at the women’s events.
At the time of the restructuring of Women’s Ministries, in 2005, one of the goals for the women was to hold Presbyterial Retreats. It is felt that every woman needs to withdraw for a brief period of time from the busyness of her daily life to re-fuel her spiritual life. Retreats have proven to be one of the best and most popular means of doing this. Five Presbyterials have already held their retreats between November 2014 and April 2015. Most hold retreats every other year so that the local churches can plan their own retreats in the “off” years. This has been a wonderful way to connect the women and to help them build community and Christian sisterhood among the churches. The retreats are a time of spiritual renewal and refreshment for all who attend.
News Today/History Tomorrow
In many of the local ARP Churches and Presbyterials the only recorded church histories are those written by the Women’s Ministries Historians. While the WM Historian primarily focuses on writing the history of the women of the church, she also records a good bit of information about the church as a whole—things such as names of pastors, church officers, special programs, births, deaths, marriages, new members, etc., and special awards received by members of the church.
The current ARPWM Historian has a wealth of knowledge about writing histories and is available to assist Local Church and Presbyterial Historians. Copies of the histories are kept in the Historical Library of Synodical Hall at Bonclarken, and copies are sent to Erskine College for storage there.
Resignation of the ARP Women’s Ministries Coordinator
Elizabeth Burns, ARPWM Coordinator submitted her resignation in January, effective February 28, 2015. She believes that the Lord is leading her in a different direction at this time. We are very grateful to Elizabeth for her years of service to the women of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. She has demonstrated a great love for Christ and for Women’s Ministries and she has touched the hearts and lives of many women in the ARP Church. We pray for God’s guidance and direction for Elizabeth as she moves into the next season of her life.
ARP Women’s Ministries is alive and well! We are moving forward, holding on to our heritage, and leaving our legacy behind for the generations that follow.
One of the most significant things that the ARP women do is to pray. The ARP women are prayer warriors! And when they are not praying they’re busy ministering—to military families, widows, children, young mothers, singles, the elderly, the lonely, missionaries and their families, church planters’ families, women of addiction, the abused, those mourning, the sick and the dying, the injured, the homeless, and many, many more. You may find them hosting Christian book clubs at their churches, cooking meals for folks who need them, teaching Bible studies and Sunday School lessons, leading local church women’s ministries, planning missionary conferences, women’s retreats, and preparing and serving meals for Church Officers’ meetings. And they do it all with one purpose in mind—to glorify God. They will be easily recognized because they bear the imprint of their Savior, Jesus Christ… You will know them by their love.
Barbara Sherrill, President
ARP Women’s Ministries