“Come and be Filled,” was the theme of the recent “Celebrate, women joining together” event held at Franconia Mennonite Church on Saturday, April 17. An all-day event, it included worship, sharing from the Word by Bonnie Stevenson of Mexico City, pampering stations including neck and shoulder massage as well as being refreshed through fellowship and prayer. A group from Blooming Glen ministered through singing “At the Foot of the Cross,” an echo of the message for the day, laying down our burdens and picking up the joy. We were blessed by the testimony of Luz Maria Vargas, a church planter with her husband in Gaithersburg, MD.
266 women of the region and beyond attended from congregations and communities throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania, Philadelphia and Lancaster as well as from Northern PA and the Washington DC metro area. Planned by nine women from local congregations, the purpose of the day was to help women come to relax, refresh, renew and rejoice as we celebrated the love of Jesus.
The following response to the day by Connie Detwiler, co-pastor of Lakeview Mennonite Church, reviews some of the highlights:
“God’s presence was sensed in many ways. The day was beautifully planned and flowed along wonderfully well. From the moment our group walked into the church we were welcomed. The hospitality of the greeters was warm and helpful in every way. What a heartwarming site as more and more ladies came and to hear the different locations they came from! The ways God draws us to unity is precious!
Bonnie is an amazing speaker. Her spirit is ever so gentle and delightful and yet so strong in who she is and ‘whose’ she is. What a gift we had in her!
Kudos over and over to the worship team! How amazing it was to have a group of women from different churches leading the praise and worship time! The voices, the instruments, and the spirit in each of them was just lovely and inviting.
It was humbling and challenging to be asked to be part of the prayer team and as always, God showed up in amazing ways as we prayed. I really feel many were ministered to through prayers that only God knows the end results.
The prayer rooms offered places of quiet and reflection in many ways, from the visuals to the guided prayers. And, speaking of visuals, the front of the church was a beautiful reminder of “being filled”…many times, over and over.
The ladies giving the massages were ministering to many and the massages were just a special treat, a great way of pampering.
The lunch was delicious and just right for the setting we were in.
It was obvious that much time, many thoughts and fervent prayers went into this time of celebration preparation and many were blessed. I have heard only positive comments from our group that attended and I’m sure if distance weren’t a problem, I’d be hearing more.”
A few other comments captured in passing included the following thoughts gleaned from Bonnie’s teaching:
- The Lord loves to hear my voice!
- Keep looking up!
- Be thirsty!
- Maranatha – The Lord is coming!
- Be faithful in the little things
- Intercession – keep knocking
- Lay my burden down and pick up joy
- With forgiveness, comes healing
- “The message about being wakened in the night and just enjoying the presence of God instead of stewing about not sleeping well, helped me on Saturday night.”
And Kristi Wile, Franconia Mennonite Church, writes, “I couldn’t wait to spend an entire day worshiping and fellowshipping with other women! I knew that God would do an amazing thing. With the worship time, the testimonies, and the speaker, God made His presence perfectly clear. At one point, I was standing down front amidst other women and I was so highly aware that the Holy Spirit was moving right around me and in me. It was awesome! I came away so full and overflowing that it was several days before I could read my Bible again!”
As a way to reach beyond us, the women in attendance were given an opportunity to knot two comforters for distribution in Haiti through Mennonite Central Committee. While “Celebrate” was free for those in attendance, an opportunity was given for donations towards the expenses of the day and any monies received in excess were promised to be forwarded on to Grace Assembly Network in Haiti, a Franconia Conference Partner in Mission. We are thankful to report that $417.00 will be sent to the church in Haiti.
For those who would like to hear the worship and teaching, CD’s are available for purchase at Franconia Mennonite Church for $5. Call the church at 215-723-3220 to confirm availability.
You are invited to join in prayer as God’s leading is sought for any future “Celebrate” events. We look forward to being a part of God’s purposes fulfilled in the lives of women in this region.