I had a great day out on Saturday with three ladies from church. We went to the Northern Women’s Convention in Manchester. Things didn’t start brilliantly… I was woken by the doorbell ringing at 7.45am. That was the time I’d asked the women to arrive so we could leave in good time. Oops.
Well, once I’d got my act together, we were off and there in time to get a seat. For the first time ever, the conference was sold out, so it was packed with about 1,000 women from around the north of the country. I spotted friends from all over: Leeds, Preston, Sheffield, Chester, Newcastle On Tyne, Wolverhampton and Tipton. It was mentioned from the main stage that the last tickets sold on the Tuesday beforehand. I think they were sold to me! In by the skin of our teeth again.
Lizzie Smallwood’s talks from Colossians on The Complete Woman were challenging and encouraging in equal measure as she reminded us to ‘become what you are’ but also to have ‘a good clear out of our behaviour wardrobe’. The Holy Spirit, said Lizzie, is God’s beauty consultant – your very own Gok. Did I mention that Lizzie is a vicar’s wife? Yay!
Helen Roseveare is now in her eighties and has been a Christian for over sixty years. And yet her joy and delight in knowing Christ continue to overflow as she speaks, as fresh as if she were a brand new believer. She spoke of how she is continuing to learn and grow in wisdom even at her advanced age. It was wonderful to hear her and be reminded of the privilege that she spoke of – to know Christ and also to suffer for him. I want to be like her when I grow up.
I came home and immediately started reading her autobiography, Give me this Mountain, which tells the story of her missionary life, including the five months she spent as a captive of rebels in Congo. This year the talks and seminars from the conference will be available free in audio on the conference website, but the main talks and Helen Roseveare‘s seminar will also be on dvd for just £10 – you need to email the conference office to order. If you didn’t make it to Manchester, I highly recommend getting it. We’re getting a couple of copies to share around folk who weren’t able to come along.
Next year’s conference is on Saturday 8th October 2011, and the speaker will be Rebecca Manley Pippert, author of the classic book on evangelism, Out of the Saltshaker. Book early next year – I’m going to!