by Cathie Ostapchuk
Ecclesia (or Ekklesia) in Christian theology means both a particular body of faithful people, and the whole body of the faithful. Latin ecclesia, from Greek ekklesia had an original meaning of "assembly, congregation, council", literally "convocation", or "gathering".
The #1 FAQ poised to Gather Women is:
"How does Gather Women align with the local church?"
Gather Women is a particular body of the local church, but is not the whole body of the church. The Church is the whole body of the Church. At Gather Women regional and national gatherings across Canada, there is a clear understanding that we are not a replacement for the local church, but rather can be an assembly of women who are
GATHERED IN TO GO OUT
When we gather, we worship God. We teach and receive biblical teaching and the sharing of biblical insights, in order to be equipped in spiritual and leadership development. We create space for safe community and belonging, and communion. We ask questions and allow space for conversations that matter. We invite women to follow Jesus and serve Him, by planting their feet firmly in a local church community, and by being the light of Christ in their homes and spheres of influence. Women are encouraged to return to their local church strengthened and encouraged in their faith, and renewed in their commitment to be Christ-followers.
The intent of Gather Women is to support the local church in its efforts to make disciples and be culture changers. Our desire is to gather women from across Canada and remind them of their call to follow Christ, to serve the church in love, and to serve their world in confidence.
Very often women may need more brave on to walk in the door of a church, than to walk in the door of their workplace.
It is often easier to share Christ outside of the church than to follow Him inside the church. Church has not always been the perfect place for many. We want to raise the visibility of the Church as God's instrument of transformation in this nation at this time, and raise the visibility of women in the church as Image Bearers who are called to take their place and serve as they are gifted and led.
The Church is built one person at a time. When we gather, we remind women that they are, as individual women Beloved and called by God, an important part of the Church. The church also is meant to function as One body. We want to remind women that we are better together - and that when two or more are gathered, God promises to be in our midst.
Trends come and go but movements impact for life and their impact can change history, their lives, and other people.
Gather Women is a movement that walks alongside the Church and supports it and affirms that together, we rise. Together, we make His name known and proclaim His glory from coast to coast in this nation, on this soil not only for this time in history, but for generations to come.
Let us Gather. Ecclesia.