by Iris Watson
Life Church Folkstone’s ‘Eden’ event, ladies conference, was well attended and hosted some of God’s most amazing women, among them Rachel Hickson, Founding Director Heartcry For Change, the main event speaker, and Helen Azer, guest speaker, who is also a Director of Heartcry.
The conference was hosted by the dynamic Virginia Maasbach, wife of Pastor Robert Maasbach, at Life Church, where Virginia was a very inspiring hostess and speaker herself. Lots of teaching but also a lot of fun, laughter and confirmation along the way too. The roomy, comfortable venue provided lots of spiritual food alongside non-stop tea, coffee, pastries and cold drinks, a buffet lunch and a great friendly, family atmosphere, as ladies across the region met and mingled.
Basing her day’s ministry on Proverbs 31, the freedom of women and how God wants women to be cloaked in his glory; cloaked in him, strong and steadfast, Helen Azer compared feminism to a strong woman of God, women’s rights vs a woman of God. She used Mother Theresa amongst others as examples of the strength of womanhood, commending us to be faithful in the small things.
Helen explored various topics such as cultural expectations, stereotypes, and poor theology and lack of role models, pointing out, “Women are assumed not to be in leadership/teacher roles” but how was it so in Jesus’s day, choosing Priscilla and Aquila, pointing out Priscilla’s role in supporting Jesus’s ministry. We heard to check the original Greek because it does not refer to male/female but translates them as ‘people’ – reliable people. Therefore, women are eligible in ministry. Galatians: 3:17-28 suggests it is all a matter of gifting and character (v.28).” Helen pointed to Paul’s authority on teaching. Again needing to be studied from the original Greek. In comparison 1 Timothy 2:11-15 refers to a wife – not permitting a wife to teach or have authority (violently murder, entice, sexually lunge at) over her husband; she must be silent.
When a good woman of God knows her gender she is dangerous to the devil and kingdom of darkness. Helen emphasised we are made in the image of God to glorify him.
Following Helen, Rachel Hickson powered up the temperature with “Power of the laid down Life.” Her ministry checks out on www.heartcryforchange.
She spoke on the hand of God, wonder working power and God flowing through us, saying, “The Spirit of the Lord comes upon us, the Word of the Lord comes to us and then the Word of God flows out of us.
“God isn’t going to just turn up, but is looking for people with his mandate on their life to get up! We mustn’t allow society and culture to get in the way, because it is never too late to give your life away and find it in Christ. God is looking for those people.” Further warning, “not to become politically minded and lose our Kingdom mind-ness,” and to “shift the spiritual climate and totally transform this nation.”
Rachel concluded “To really live the Jesus life takes courage – moral courage.
She left us with this one question: “Lord Shaftesbury stood for women’s rights. Tony Blair changed it! Are YOU ready to change the world?”