Our first CESA National Women in Ministry Conference (WIMC) took place on the 20th-22nd April 2012 at Rocklands Conference Centre in Simonstown.

The aim of this Conference is to encourage and equip our CESA women staff as they minister in their local CESA churches. 105 ladies from all around the country attended.

Our theme was “Therefore, we do not lose heart” and Phumezo Masango, Andre Visagie and Vuyani Sindo did our 3 Bible talks from 2Cor3-6. Their Bible teaching was excellent and the women thoroughly enjoyed all 3 of the talks!

Click here for an album from the event

We were reminded of the nature and glory of Gospel ministry. It is often difficult with many trials, and it is not only initiated by God, but it is also sustained by Him. “Who is equal to such a task?” Paul asks, and then explains that Gospel workers derive their competence from God. How encouraging too to be reminded that God chooses to use weak, fragile, dispensable jars of clay so that His grace may be seen and all glory given to Him alone!

We also had 4 ministry workshops which were led by 4 of our own ladies (Nicky Morris on Children’s Ministry, Alison Eloff on Equipping women in our churches, Berry Brown on Shepherding and mentoring our women and Anne Barkhuizen with a slot specifically for ministers’ wives)

Throughout our 8 sessions and the “getting to know you” session on the Friday evening we had our ladies giving their testimonies and sharing something about their ministries (Sandy Lyons, Hilda Esteves, Kele Taunyane, Lindi Banda, Phume Mazibuko, Brenda Mchunu and Velma Bedderson) These proved to be such an encouragement to us all, as we realised we were not alone in the struggles and ministry issues we face.

Sally Visser did a talk on “Pressures and pitfalls in Ministry” and Flo spoke to us from a man’s perspective. This was a very helpful and well-received talk! I spoke in our final session on Sunday morning on “Staying fresh and persevering in Ministry”

Our Presiding Bishop, Des Inglesby, did a session on our “CESA distinctives” to remind us of our history and the importance of holding onto the legacy of who we are as a denomination, and of ensuring that we pass the baton on to the next generation in a way that does not compromise our heritage as a Bible teaching, evangelical, reformed, Anglican fellowship of churches. The ladies were given the opportunity to ask Des questions (and they did just that!)

Since Des is high-lighting “Church-planting” at this coming Synod, we included a slot with a “Church-planting panel” of Michelle Adjes (Christ Church, Northcoast), Mpumi Makapela (Nomzamo, Strand) and Jeanine Palacio (Southern Cross Church, Constantia). It was quite moving for us all to hear the challenges they faced, not only in their ministry but also as families with small children, as they headed up a new work without other full time staff to help them! Although there were many similarities in their challenges, their contexts of ministry created their own particular challenges (townships as opposed to suburbs) – many of the ladies said they had no idea church planting was that difficult! But for all 3 of them, the blessings and joys of church planting was something they wouldn’t swop for anything!!

The Conference went extremely well, and I am so grateful to the Lord for His presence and help. I cannot begin to describe the benefits of this Conference in the life of all who attended, not only in encouraging and better equipping us all, but also in drawing us together as women in CESA Ministry. A huge thank you to our CESA Executive and Trustees for covering the cost of the Conference, and to the Church Councils for paying for the flights for the women to get to CT!!

Jenny Inglesby