An Update from the Board of Gather Women
When God birthed the idea of Gather in four of His daughters, He imprinted Isaiah 43:19 upon their hearts as the verse that captured what He was intending:
“ See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
Ever since, He has been making a way. He has been creating streams in places we didn’t know streams could go. He has been walking us into wilderness lands that we know He has asked us to enter. And like a stream that starts as a trickle and gains strength and depth and momentum as it connects to other bodies of water and gets filled from heaven above, so Gather Women has been stretching across the nation of Canada, starting as a group of 30, and expanding from coast to coast.
We have had many changes since we began. As with any move of God, we never know where He will take us next, or whom He will bring or release from the task at hand. But we know that as long as we remain faithful to Him, and choose to surrender to His leading and guiding, the stream will continue to grow until it can no longer be classified as a gentle bubbling brook, and has become instead the raging river that God intends– a river of life and fullness and power for His glory.
The board of Gather Women would like to honor the women who have faithfully and obediently given of themselves to Gather. We thank you for what you have done, for how you have shared of yourself and your gifts for His glory in this way. You have been a blessing, and a treasure, and we love you.
We have had some changes in our board membership, with some of our founding members stepping off the board after having served for the time God asked of them, and others who have joined. We have also had some staffing changes that we wanted to let you know about.
We have wanted to publicly thank Loreli Cockram, Sarah Walker, Elle Pyke and Ellen Graf Martin for their service to Gather Women. Ellen was instrumental in establishing Gather as a corporation and poured herself out for the sake of the vision as one of our founding board members. Ellen continues to be very supportive of and invested in the vision and mission of Gather Women, and she has definitely left her mark on our culture. Helen Burns was also a founding member, and she has never missed seizing an opportunity to be encouraging and supportive, always selflessly sharing of herself and her resources for the sake of what God was doing in Gather. Helen’s wisdom and leadership have been fundamental to getting Gather where it is today, and she continues to be a champion for Gather, and for women in our nation. Anne Miranda felt strongly that Gather was something that she not only believed in but wanted to see move forward. Anne brought skills and wisdom and passion to our board at a time when it was needed – we know why God called her to join when she did! There is a season for everything, and Anne remains a strong champion of Gather.
All of these women devoted their resources and passion to launch Gather Women nationally and we are grateful. They demonstrated an unwavering commitment to something they couldn’t see, but believed beyond all hope in. Today Gather Women is becoming established as a national organization poised to impact the generations by raising the voice and presence of Canadian women.
Cathie Ostapchuk has transitioned from her role in board governance to immerse herself fully as the Lead Catalyst for Gather. It was always Cathie’s intention to step off the board once the organization was established, so that she could be freed up to carry the vision forward. Cathie devotes herself tirelessly and faithfully to Gather, sharing the dreams and vision that God has planted deep within her for all of our sisters in Christ across Canada.
God has provided us with gifted, godly women to step into the Gather Women river just at the right time, as others step out.
Ninette Bishay joined the board early this year – a true answer to prayer. Ninette has assumed the role of Treasurer of the Board, generously sharing her financial expertise as a CA with the board. She is a wise woman, who is committed to Gather being a stable, sustainable organization, and who also believes wholeheartedly in the value of Jesus-loving women connecting with one another for community, encouragement and development. This passion has been a wonderful addition to the board.
And in March of 2017, Joy Byers also joined the board. Joy currently serves as the Discipleship Pastor at People’s Church, and is very passionate about what Gather is called to do in Canada. Joy brings her wisdom as a woman in Church ministry, her passion as a daughter of the King who desires to see her sisters in Christ thrive and go deeper with each other, and her love of God to our board in a way that adds great value. Joy’s gentle spirit and love of life are evident at each board meeting, and we are all better for it. Joy will be leading The GatHER Collective, the local and regional network being created to keep women, including women leaders, connected face to face. We launch our first GatHER Collective's in Toronto and Montreal in the fall so so stayed tuned for details!
I am excited to serve as Chair for another term as board chair. I feel honoured to be part of this movement in this way, and am so excited to see the water rising in the stream. Life giving water that is meant for all. I feel like shouting, “look out Canada, there’s a raging river on its way!”
God has also given Gather capacity to employ some part time staff. We have Abby Patterson and Chelsea Oleniuk working for Gather for a few hours per week, expertly handling communications, social media/marketing, administration and event planning. They have been a gift from God to Gather, and we are so thrilled to have them on board. Feel free to reach out to them and welcome them to the team! Abby can be reached at abby@gatherwomen and Chelsea can be reached at communications@gatherwomen.
We also have unbelievable women that continue to volunteer their time. Halina Ostapchuk assists with Human Resources tasks, communications tasks, event details, and really anything at all that is needed to make Gather a success. To send in a blog contribution, or inquire about volunteering with Gather Women, you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Julianne August remains our Prayer Catalyst. You have likely seen the powerful prayer posts for our nation, focusing Province by Province. Julianne, along with Amy Gordon, have helped us focus on the needs of our nation, province to province. We know that the word of God tells us to pray without ceasing, and that the prayers of a righteous person have great impact. We know this to be true, and that is why we see Julianne as the God ordained woman to lead the prayer for Gather. Because it is how God has gifted her.
Tammy Sabourin and Diane Schoenhoff have also given of their communications/social media expertise to help Gather. We are so appreciative of the time that has been invested by these women to assist Gather with tasks that are so needed, and so valuable. Check out our new Pinterest page! We also are grateful to Audrey Cordery who continues to develop our resources and materials through design.
So what is next?
We continue to go where He calls us. We continue to meet with those He asks us to meet with. We continue to obey, and then witness what He does with our surrendered hearts. We continue to work alongside local churches, because “the local church is the hope of the world”, and because that is where women are already gathering to magnify our Lord. Would you join us? We continue to need volunteers who can bring expertise in digital design, blog contributors, local leaders for The GatHER Collective, Gather Circle leaders, curriculum writers. We also ask for you to invest financially in the work of Gather Women. We want to go deeper and wider, as we gather and equip women coast to coast. Our Fundraising Campaign is set to launch in a few hours!
Gather Rise will be in BC in October. There are Gather Circles being organized, leadership meetings being planned, Facebook Groups being developed, fundraising initiatives getting underway.
All to magnify Jesus. Magnify is our word for this year. Everything we do, every task we undertake, every event we plan, is all for the glory of God – to magnify Who He is, and to be a catalyst to encourage our sisters across Canada to use who He has made them to be to do the same.
We hope you will Gather with us ~ whether it be in person, online or in your community through a Gather Circle ~ so that we can all magnify Him together, coast to coast.
“Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.”
Elizabeth Pierce, Gather Board Chair