Women’s Ministries: Looking Back, Journeying Forward
Reflecting on her year as president, Sherry Bartlett says she has spent a lot of time looking back – reflecting on the works of God through the centuries. Now, on the last steps of her journey as WM president, she again looks in the rearview mirror.
She sees a young girl, whose mother led her led her by example as a Titus 2 woman and actively taking part in the women’s ministry of the ARP Church. Years later, as the girl followed in her mother’s footsteps, she gladly accepted the changes within the Women’s Ministries organization. This brought her in contact with WM Coordinator Elizabeth Burns, who helped her plan her first Women’s Retreat in her Presbyterial, and became a valuable mentor.
She praised Burns for serving as a base of continuity between the members of WM’s constantly changing board and the agencies of the ARP Church. “Elisabeth has provided our women with biblical inspiration and guidance through seminars and as a retreat speaker. She has been a God-send for WM.”
In that same rearview mirror, Bartlett also sees other ARP women of varying backgrounds and faith journeys – each bringing her own experiences, ministries, talents and needs. “One woman said she married into the ARP, and had not felt part of the church until she found Women’s Ministries.”
Looking now in the windshield, Bartlett sees a panoramic view of the road ahead – and where God is leading Women’s Ministries. With social media, for instance, you can read results instantly. One church plant member posted, “Women’s Ministries is great! I don’t know where I would be without my covenant sisters. I love each one of them. We are family!”
With WM approaching its 100th Annual Meeting in 2014, Bartlett says we will certainly be looking back, yet again to those who have gone before us and paved the way. “They did not know what they were building, but God did, and now, 100 years later, He is still building ARP Women’s Ministries.
Looking back in the mirror once again, she sees the girl is older, a little wiser – looking to God for strength. WM has been a God-send to her. The Apostle Paul knew that only women could fill the role of mentor to other women who are dealing with all sorts of trials and tribulations – when he instructed Titus to teach older, wiser Christian women to mentor to younger women.
Women’s Ministries provides this fellowship and Christian relationships. “The challenge for us is to unify, minister, mentor, and love those God has and will put in our path,” Bartlett said. “Looking forward through the windshield of the future, I pray we will keep it alive, well and kicking, for the women who will come after us – growing our church to all that God is calling us to for his honor and glory.”