Last month, Langham Preaching held its first ever Global Women’s Forum in Cyprus. Read this encouraging report from attendee Jill McGilvray, a Langham Partnership Australia Committee member.
“There were about 50 women of varying ages from 38 countries – from Africa, Latin America, Asia, Eastern Europe, the Caribbean and the Pacific. It was led by Ruth Slater, Associate Director of Langham Preaching, with the help of a committee of women from all around the world.
“I kept pinching myself as I sat down to morning tea with a group of Christian women from, say, Mongolia, Botswana, Vanuatu, Ukraine, the Philippines and Panama. Then lunch with women from Bosnia-Herzogovina, Indonesia, India, Burkina Faso, Turkey, Jamaica and Costa Rica. Where else would this ever happen?
Not just for preachers
“Each of the women who attended is involved in some ministry of bringing the Word of God to others. Langham Preaching ministry is not only for regular Sunday preachers. It’s for anyone in any kind of word ministry who opens the Bible with anyone else.
“It could be one person, or 100. It could be a two-year-old or an old person or a church congregation. Many are involved in one or more of the many Preaching Clubs, which are such an important feature of Langham Preaching.
Topics for the week came from the answers to a questionnaire sent by the organisers, canvassing the needs felt by women in the Majority World. Almost all of the teaching through the week was done by Majority World women.
“I loved hearing their perspectives and listening to their voices. I learnt so much, and their perspectives were so valuable! Everything was translated into Spanish. Or when the Spanish speakers were presenting, into English, either by an Argentinian, or sometimes by a young woman from Turkey.
Devotions each morning were all around Mary’s Song in Luke 1. Tuesday was led by the African women, Wednesday by the European women, Thursday by the lovely Latinas, and Friday by the Asia Pacific women.
“We talked about the way that when God asks something that takes us well outside our comfort zone – as He did for Mary – He also equips us and often gives us a community of others who will support us. The Forum was one such community for the women who attended. We talked about being women of conviction, of obedience, of courage and of determination. And we talked about passing on our knowledge of God to the next generations.
“Other topics included the Biblical examples of the way men and women can work together under God. We also discussed ways to find, train, encourage and raise up the next generation of preachers of God’s word and the values that underpin our ministries.
Another topic focused on ways to improve Preaching Clubs. We talked about evaluating our own speaking, the importance of reconciling public and private lives so that we are people of integrity. We talked about being wise in taking care of ourselves in ministry.
“There were many stories of both joy and pain told by the women, who come from very different environments. Some feel encouraged in their work for God, others feel silenced and saddened by their setting.
Difficulties of shame cultures
We talked about the difficulties of living in honour/shame cultures. We also discussed living in settings where being a Christian is hard, and being a Christian woman is even harder.
“Among the stories were many from women who have been nurtured and helped to flourish by the work of Langham Preaching. I was so deeply moved by many of their stories. It felt like a real privilege to hear their words of honesty and sometimes of vulnerability. It made me even more determined to support this important work with all my heart.”