NEC Women's Ministries Prayer Conference
4th May 2018
Over 700 women attended the North England Conference (NEC) Women's Ministries Prayer Conference, held on 30-31 March in Manchester. All the women adhered to a purple colour scheme for the event which is associated with royalty, nobility, luxury, power, dignity and ambition. It was a wonderful and beautiful sight to behold.
'Come let us pray', was the theme chosen by Beulah Plunkett, NEC Women's Ministries and Sabbath School director, and her team and the guest speaker for the occasion was Sharon Platt-McDonald, British Union Conference Women's Ministries, Health and Community Services director. The goal that underpinned the very foundation of the Women's Prayer Conference was 'Fostering practices to grow our relationship with God'. This goal identifies prayer as one of the key components from a prior NEC directors' strategic planning meeting which Pastor Richard Jackson, NEC President, encouraged directors to include in all plans and undertakings.
Pastor Alan Hush, NEC Executive Secretary, opened the event on the Friday and during his welcome connected by WhatsApp with the NEC President who was in Canada. They both encouraged the women and expressed their support for what they expected would be an inspirational programme.
Sharon Platt-McDonald came to teach and to preach and the women expressed their appreciation. They were given guidance on the importance of earnestly praying and bringing their petitions to God and to listen for the answer: Yes, No or Wait. She shared testimonies of her personal experiences which helped to deepen her points providing a more practical understanding. Sharon also taught the importance of thanking God for answered prayer.
In her presentation Sharon shared 15 strategies on how to 'Pray for a Breakthrough'. These included: Praying God's Word, dressing in God's armour daily, praying in faith, personalising prayer and praying the solution not the problem.
On the Sabbath, Beulah Plunkett, delivered an interactive Sabbath School lesson on the title 'The Stewardship of Prayer'. The women examined this theme in the context of the prayer of Solomon. One of the concluding thoughts was because prayer is communication with God, a steward of prayer will recognise that prayer must be kept alive and meaningful in their lives.
Another key aspect of the Prayer Conference was for the women to spend time in prayer together, and to actualise the theme for the weekend 'Come let us pray'. Four prayer leaders led united prayer where each one took a 15-minute segment and directed the women to sing and pray under the headings: Praise, Confession, Petition and Thanksgiving.
Ruth South, Lesley Noakes, Joan Saunders and Rudo Chengeta, led these prayer segments with passion. One lady stated that she arrived to the conference feeling burdened, but she was now going home feeling light! Winsome Brown-Baadjes, the 'Prayer Warrior' for the weekend prayed for the whole congregation who were touched by the fervency of the prayers.
Singing praises to God is an integral part of any worship and the event was enhanced by a well-organised praise team who led the congregation through some of our wonderful hymns that were chosen for the occasion. The group 'Voices in Praise' from Birmingham Handsworth church, added that extra vibrancy through their tight-knit vocal harmonies. Lunch was provided, and even when the attendance booking numbers increased, the chef, Cheryl Banton trusted that all would be well in food provision. God indeed multiplied the food and all attendees were ably catered for.
Despite it being a women's conference, a few men came to assist behind the scenes. Lungani Sibanda, NEC Communication director, Mgcini Mkwananzi and Horace Ffrench formed a small team of technicians supporting the day. The pianist was Bro Greenidge with his wife Nicole as praise team leader, and Donald McKenzie was the photographer. Patrick Baadjes was also present, he is a member of the 'Voices in Praise' group along with Kim Mills-Burton and Sonia Mills-Johnson.
In retrospect the weekend was well organised from the early registration to closing lunch. The planning team comprised of Voahangy Bohoussou the NEC secretary, Wendy Watson-Teague, Lesley Noakes, Angela Walters and Paulette Martin to whom all are to be commended for their hard work and God has to be praised for such an informative and life-changing experience.
[Beulah Plunkett & Lungani Sibanda ]