Written By: Cathie Ostapchuk
Last week two momentous events took place, neither of which will be forgotten.
On May 19, 2018, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry made lifelong commitments to to love, honour and respect each other as long as they both lived. The watching world was caught up in the breathtaking magic of the wedding at Windsor Castle and special moments that included the classic elegance of the dress, the magnificent train of the veil, and traditional and modern music, including a gospel choir. Scripturally-based spoken words of equipping for the marriage journey were eloquently delivered by English and American bishops. Love was in the air and could be felt by those watching on screens thousands of miles away. That day signified a coming together of royal bloodlines with the once common: elevating mixed race bloodlines, diversity, and celebrating the voice and influence of a strong woman. It was the ultimate fairy tale. Most of us were not on the guest list to witness the wedding nuptials in person, but the wedding somehow managed to find its’ way into our hearts and homes. We feel the passion and imagine the future and influence this ‘it’ couple will have as they share their commitment for great causes that relieve suffering around the world.
On Tuesday, May 15, there was another gathering that left an indelible mark on those that were present. Gather Women hosted its’ first-ever fundraising evening and as women gathered, the skies dismissed the rain and opened gloriously to a sun-filled, warm and glorious evening in Oakville, Ontario.
All of you were invited and we are so grateful to those of you who made the effort to join us for charcuterie, chocolate, conversation and friendship. We enjoyed great music. We were reminded of the passion and vision behind the continued forward movement of Gather Women. We heard the impact of Gather Circles on a woman and her neighbourhood. Our board chair, Elizabeth Pierce, expressed a moving call for us all to invest in the lives of women who are in this nation for this time in history - both those desiring to serve and those needing to receive.
I want to say a personal thank you to those that came to our gathering last week and being with us in sisterhood, as well as a thank you to those who prayed and sent your support through heartfelt encouragement. Thank you to all on behalf of our board for sharing your time and your financial resources so we can say with gratitude that the evening was a success and we are encouraged by your response and investment in this work.
We are just on the threshold of what we believe Gather was launched to accomplish. We have been focused on gathering face to face and have used the resources invested by our partners Compassion, IJM, the Gideons in Canada, and other partners and donors, to create gatherings across Canada.
We know that there is a need for gathering and equipping pieces
Ø for curriculum development,
Ø for online and regular video teaching and equipping through social media platforms
Ø for creating content, connectivity and community for all of the Gather Circles across Canada.
We also know there is a need to address and bring into the light restorative and solution based conversations and calls to action for our displaced and marginalized women - First Nations communities, immigrant and refugee women, and all others who seek a place to belong in this nation and who God has brought to us to create community with.
Gather Women continues to believe that we are better together and that this movement is vital to our nation’s spiritual and social health.
There are women across the nation who still believe the lie that they have not been invited to the party, or into the family of God. The enemy comes to steal and destroy the promise that there is an invitation for all to come and join the celebration. He replaces the invitation with a false expectation that life is a fairy tale, that there is a Prince Charming for all of us, or the perfect job, career, dress size or loyal friends.
If you have ever been betrayed, do not have your Prince Charming anywhere in sight, or are struggling with self worth, a fulfilling career or ministry, or have family struggles, be reminded that Jesus said himself, “In this world, you will have trouble”. He never promised our lives would be fairy tales, and few of us experience that reality. Rather, Jesus Christ has offered a personal invitation to all that would receive Him, “I have come that they all might have life and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)
While we wait for the ultimate Royal wedding feast (Rev 19:9 “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.”), there are abundant opportunities to invite others to the celebration, available to us in waiting rooms, in our workplaces, in our challenging family situations, in the grocery checkout lines. How many are waiting for us to go to them while we are waiting for them to come to us? People are waiting for us everywhere. Your invitation could be life-changing.
Gather Women is not a fairy tale. It is a God-sized dream.
The fairy tale is that we think it should be easy and the strategic priorities should be accomplished overnight. The reality is that it is hard work, sometimes messy, painful, exhausting, and at times downright disappointing. I am grateful to those who stand with us in prayer and financial support. and remind us that we should never give up, that we must keep raising the funds to gather women, to go into darkness with light, to endure the spiritual warfare associated with a ministry movement, to endure the disappointment of people leaving the work, and to stay focused on the one, the few and the many.
May God richly bless all of you in every way for the way that you have invested in the women that make of the body of “Gather” across the nation. May we continue to link arms and move forward together as we realize that our sphere of influence is the space between our own two feet and as we all step forward we take more ground in confidence. Free women free women and our message is that freedom is found in the person and saving work of Jesus Christ and there is No Other Name.
We look forward to welcoming you and your friends (ALL of your friends!) to Gather Rise on October 27, 2018 at The Meeting House in Oakville, where this gospel will be proclaimed and Hope declared for every woman present in Jesus’s name!
Please encourage us by registering as soon as possible - taking advantage of the early bird discount until June 1, the seniors and student rates, and also the discounts for groups of 10 or more. Pass this invitation on to your networks, your churches and your friends to join us for a memorable day together. All of the downloadable and printable posters and flyers and resources are found on the gatherwomen.com website.
We are so grateful for your support. This is bigger than a fairy tale. This celebration is for everyone and you and I are on the guest list! Every time we gather we have an opportunity to celebrate our adoption into the Royal family as Daughters of the King. Let us gather.