Watch this video created by World Witness about the Jubilee Birthday and women in missions!
THE REPORT OF ARP WOMEN’S MINISTRIES
The Board of ARP Women’s Ministries (ARPWMB) represents all women who are members of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (ARPC) in the United States and Canada and oversees the business of ARP Women’s Ministries (ARPWM) between annual meetings. The role of Women’s Ministries is to encourage and equip the community of ARP women to work together for God’s glory and purpose. Since the 2013 meeting of the General Synod, this board has met three (3) times. The following report concerns the actions and activity of those meetings as well as those of the Executive Committee, which has met five (5) times.
The 99th Annual Meeting of the ARPWM was held in July 2013. The theme of the meeting was “Connections.” Each lady in attendance received a small decorated box with a puzzle piece inside. The ladies were challenged to get out of their boxes and to become part of the larger picture of women joining together. The women’s ministry part of the timeline from last year was again used, as well as a large puzzle which consisted of faces of women from across the denomination. This puzzle was put together by the presbyterial presidents and representatives. There was also a “sculpture” made from decorated boxes. Each box was different to show that our women’s ministries differ from church to church and yet come together to make one beautiful, unified structure.
While the theme for the year remains Connecting, two other themes have emerged: Clarifying and Communicating.
- There is a committee in place to work to clarify our vision/purpose statement.
- ARPWM is no longer a funnel for funds from the women to the agencies and ministries. Women are encouraged to continue to give generously but to send their gifts directly to ARP agencies and ministries, not through ARPWM. The one special fund that is supported directly is the Jubilee Birthday Ladies. That fund is the women’s gift to missionary women. This year, after the retirement of Judy Buis, Shelia Osborne was added.
- Elizabeth Burns, our coordinator, has been working with Brent Turner to clarify ARPWM’s role in the planning and working in the Family Bible Conference.
- In an effort to streamline and organize our finances better, they have been transferred to Central Services. There is still a Treasurer who approves expenditures, but having all the finances at Central Services will guarantee consistency as treasurers change.
- Records and histories are being taken to be stored at Erskine as well as in Atlanta.
- There has been some confusion as to who is a member of Women’s Ministry at the presbytery level. Words such as “active,” “membership,” and “dues” have contributed to a feeling of exclusivity. The board has discussed and is working to deal with this.
- Because some churches run different calendars, there was a decision made to have our study emphasis run from July 1 to June 30. This past year, the emphasis has been Proverbs. Next year’s emphasis will be Titus. The books to be used are Opening up Titus by David Campbell, which is a study of the whole book of Titus, and A Woman’s High Calling – Ten Ways to Live Out God’s Plan for Your Life, by Elizabeth George, which is a topical study of Titus 2:3-5. The theme verse is Titus 3:5a “he saved us not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy” (with a focus on the grace of God in salvation).
- Website: The website www.arpwm.org has been completely redone. The hope is that with a new face, more women and men will visit it for information and sharing. There is a desire for stories of women across the denomination, of what they are doing in their churches and how WM has affected them.
- Facebook: A woman has been found who is willing to post things of interest to the page so that it, too, can be used as a source for information as well as inspiration.
- ARP Magazine: Along with the three pages which have been allotted to WM (the coordinator, the president, and a committee chair), another page has been added. The working name is “ARP WM 101.” It has been/will be a page where more people can get information about what women’s ministry is all about and what the women are doing.
- Email Addresses: There has been an effort to gather women’s addresses so that information and encouragement can be distributed.
- A new IPad has been provided for Elizabeth Burns. As her computer was over seven years old, it was felt that her job could be better done with better technology.
- Board meetings: A change in format was initiated. Reports are less activity-oriented and more people-focused. How are women being reached, and how are they affected by women’s ministry? These reports and prayer times are accomplished on Friday. Then Saturday, there have been workshops where the board members can work on ways to reach all ages of women both inside and outside of the local churches.
- 100th Celebration: This year will be the 100th Annual Meeting for ARPWM. Through the year, a large celebration has been planned. It will begin on Sunday, July 27th and continue through Monday, July 28th when the celebration will conclude with the Annual Meeting. Babbie Mason, an award-winning singer and song writer, will provide the music. Dr. Derek Thomas, Senior Pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Columbia, SC, will preach the worship service on Sunday evening. Elle Lofaro, of Heart, Mind, and Soul Ministries, will teach on Monday. A slight change will be that the Silver Tea and the Showcase, which are usually held later in the week during the Family Bible Conference, will be held on Monday afternoon.
- World Focus: Women’s Ministries will have a booth at World Focus.
- Oasis: Sharon Carr is the speaker at Oasis at General Synod. Her topic is “Being Real in Relationships.” This is a time sponsored by our Spiritual Life Committee during Synod when the women can come together for a time of refreshment, encouragement, and inspiration.
- Annual Focus: Since it is our desire to support the agencies of our denomination, presbyterials are encouraged to especially support their Annual Focus Agency.
- There are plans being considered for other projects to benefit the women as well as the whole denomination such as a prayer garden at Bonclarken and the possibility of yearly women’s conferences.
The desire of Women’s Ministries is to touch the hearts of all women in the ARP Church and help them to know fully who they are in Christ. To Know Jesus Intimately, Love Jesus Deeply, and Serve Jesus Faithfully.
ARP Women’s Ministries President
To print this doc
2014 ARP General Synod = Women’s Ministries President’s Speech
Thank you, Mr. Moderator, for the honor of addressing this 210th meeting of the General Synod. Thank you delegates and friends for your warm welcome.
It is a pleasure to speak to you today about ARP Women’s Ministries. As your ministry, a ministry of Synod, we are overseen by the Synod Executive Committee. We are a little different in that we are not an agency. We do have a structured board and each presbytery has a president or representative. Do you know the name of your presbytery’s president or representative? If you don’t, the next edition of the ARP Magazine will help you find her. We are an unfunded ministry, which must raise our own budget of about $105,000 per year. If we are of value to the ARP, it might be good someday to be included in the ministries funded by the Denominational Ministry Fund.
So, are we valuable to you and your churches? Our vision statement is simple: “ARP Women’s Ministries is an organization which encourages and equips the community of ARP women to work together for God’s glory and purpose.” That means that we exist to focus on two biblical mandates.
The first is equipping. Certainly your women get fine teaching and preaching from your church worship services and studies. But Paul, who was known as a fine preacher, also instructed Titus, at Titus 2.3-5 to see to it that there were times where older women trained the younger women. A good translation would be that he wanted the older women to help the younger women have their minds right about how to be good wives, mothers, and Christian women in the church.
One thing we do to help you is to work with CEM to suggest Reformed, theologically sound, useful books for women to study. Are you familiar with this next year’s selections, Opening up Titus by David Campbell, which is a study of the whole book of Titus, and A Woman’s High Calling – Ten Ways to Live Out God’s Plan for Your Life, by Elizabeth George, which is a topical study of Titus 2:3-5? Would it be useful your women? What are they reading now? Make no mistake, your women, whether organized or unorganized, are reading and studying something.
The General Synod Position Paper on Women in the Life of the Church did a great job of settling issues of where women fit in church roles. The issue today is how they fit in their marriages and families when the world around them cries out that they need neither! The world is not getting better. We live in a world of political correctness. Male and female distinctives have been sacrificed at the altar of androgyny. And, so has the God who created those distinctives. Almost 20% of US adults and 30% of adults under 30 claim no religious affiliation. Your job as overseers means fighting back. Where are your women going to be affirmed as wives, mothers, and daughters? The world will not help you. We will. One woman reported to me that her session didn’t want to have the women get together because it would just be a gossip session. Sticking your head in the sand is not oversight. If you have two or more women in your church, they will get together, and we are here to help you make that a productive time.
Gone are the days where a local church women’s ministry had to fit a particular pattern. How you organize, structured or unstructured, is your business. Seeing to it that your women are taught in accord with Titus 2 is also your business. Helping, if you would benefit from it, is our business.
Providing support at the local level is just the first of our biblical foci. The second is connecting our ARP women. We are connected in polity because we believe it is biblical. That includes the women. General Synod Committees include representatives from ARP Women’s Ministries, and the feedback I get is that they are valued highly by the Committees on which they serve.
We are pleased that God has placed us together as ARPs. Our churches are connected in Presbyteries and General Synod. That connectedness is more than a meeting. It means we are connected as churches. When your Presbyteries meet, you do more than decide issues. Your times together provide encouragement and fellowship with likeminded men. They remind you that the church is bigger than your local congregation. You work together to support missionaries abroad and church planters here in North America. Women crave that same fellowship and encouragement. So, we organize Presbytery wide get-togethers for just that purpose. On the Synod level, we do the same. Did you know that through our Jubilee Birthday Lady program we annually support two World Witness women missionaries at approximately $37,000? Did you know that we minister to church planters’ wives at their annual retreat? On the weekend before Family Bible Conference, which, incidentally, Women’s Ministries was instrumental in founding, we hold an annual Women’s Meeting for women from throughout the ARP. This year will be our 100th meeting! It’s a 100th Celebration!!! Here are the bookmarks that were in your Synod packets. We maintain that if you have women in your church, you have a women’s ministry. We want all ARP women to understand that if they are in an ARP church, they are connected with sisters in all the other ARP churches—they are members of ARP Women’s Ministries. To learn more about our roles, please stop by our booth at World Focus later this week.
In 2007 my husband Bob was called as a Mission Developer in the Tennessee-Alabama Presbytery. Only four people in our core group had any ARP background. Prior to becoming organized in 2010, we worked hard to develop an appreciation for Presbyterian connectedness. Bob took guys to Presbytery meetings. We hosted Presbytery at our church so that our people could see what a connected church looks like. Bob has told me that getting our women involved in Presbytery wide retreats and meetings is what really made the difference. Those women took this connectional, covenantal understanding home and encouraged their husbands.
Look, these are tough times for all churches, and that is just as true for us in the ARP. We as women are as concerned as you are. Consider your women, and their role in a connected body. Consider all they do in your churches. Consider how they, your families, and your entire church might benefit from your supporting them to be actively involved with women from other churches through ARP Women’s Ministries. We need you, and for God’s glory, we think that you need us.
Print this doc
Women’s Ministries President Sally Illman has created a great bookmark reminding all of us what makes a Women’s Ministries. It isn’t about a formal board or committee, it’s about the women! Check out this great bookmark. And feel free to print one for yourself and for the women in your church to remind them of all the ways you are women’s ministries.
Check out what is going on in Catawba Presbytery with their most recent newsletter! See the members of their board, and see some great photos from their Meet & Greet in February.
You can also find them on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/CWMARP