by Karen Gutsch
The 2022 MCC Women’s Conference was held the weekend of March 11 – 12. Throughout the conference, we used a variety of ways to focus on our theme of Fellowshipping with Hope. Songs of worship and praise to God were sung at the beginning of three sessions to draw us into a sound Biblical focus on the glory of God. Testimonies of how ladies have personally been impacted by fellowship in the local church, as well as meeting in small groups for discussion and prayer times were other ways we connected with our theme of fellowship. We enjoyed talking by Zoom with intern alumni and a missionary we have sent to Indonesia to hear how they are being impacted by fellowship in their current local churches.
During the first session, we watched Grounded in Hope, a video conference message taught by Pastor Chris Brooks. From 1 Peter 1:1-10, he taught us that our hope is in the Lord. We see this in 1 Peter 1:3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope.
Julie Chipman spoke on the Biblical beginnings of fellowship from Acts 2, followed by a Zoom call with Liz Viens in Indonesia. Because of Covid restrictions in Indonesia, actual church services are currently suspended. Nevertheless, Liz has been gathering with small groups in homes for Bible study and fellowship.
A highlight of the conference was the seven testimonies from MCC women describing their experiences with fellowship in the local church. Each lady explained how fellowship had impacted a particular facet of church life. Many expressed gratefulness to God for the blessings of receiving and giving love and support throughout their personal circumstances and trials.
So as not to confuse true Biblical fellowship with just getting together for food and fun, Julie Yates included in her testimony this helpful definition of true fellowship. “When I refer to fellowship, I’m defining church fellowship as a mutual cooperation in the worship of God and the work of God as it is rooted in the Word of God through the work of the Holy Spirit.” The personal testimonies illustrated what a joy it is to have this true Biblical fellowship among the ladies of MCC.
Three small group discussions throughout the weekend allowed time to apply the Biblical principles we had learned and to pray about them, as well as other prayer requests within the small group.
Wives of alumni from MCC’s intern program were featured in the last session. Sarah McElroy was with us in person while Lauren Dickinson, Marie Dunford, and Lauren Montgomery joined us by Zoom. Highlights of fellowship in their husbands’ new pastoral positions, as well as challenges, were discussed among the four as we all listened in. We finished the Zoom call by praying for each of the alumni’s prayer requests.
The conference itself was a wonderful time of fellowship! We all benefited from the break from our normal routines as we gathered to study, pray, and Fellowship with Hope to the glory of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.