The Anglicans Ablaze Western Cape Regional Conference was attended by approx. 550 people. Both adults and youth attended what turned out to be an amazing time together as the people of God. We spent time in worship, prayer and fellowship. The excellent teaching was accompanied by critical engagement around topics focussing on leadership, worship & liturgy, discipleship, the environment, education, unemployment, ministry to youth and children and more. These were accompanied by strong calls to action.
As part of the event, a group of independent conference participants served as the ‘listening group’. Their role was to participate in the different conference activities but, more importantly, to meet regularly in prayer for the duration of the conference in order to listen to what the Holy Spirit might be saying to both the conference attendees and conference leadership, as well as to the wider Anglican Church in the Western Cape. (Constructive reflection on this conference is an important excerise because it is a precursor to the Provincial Anglicans Ablaze Conference provisionally scheduled for 5-8 October 2016.)
Mrs Janice Dreyer headed up the Listening Team, which included Alison Bourne, Pat Walker, Doug Kirkpatrick and Merle November. On behalf of the Listening Team, Mrs Dreyer submitted the report below:
The first word we received focused on “unity’. God is calling the wider church to oneness in Him. This is the heart of God for His church. The listening group expressed the view that the AA conference with its great diversity of people was in itself a powerful demonstration of the unity to which God is calling His church, and this must be encouraged.
A second word focused on ‘fresh vision’ and ‘fresh encounters’. The listening group discerned that God is inviting all to a fresh encounter with Him and to pursue a fresh vision for His church. A picture of a waterfall with a clear light shining through the water represented the Spirit of God, the “Living Water”, who would be central to these ‘fresh encounters’ and ‘fresh vision’.
In addition to the above, Romans 12:1-2 calls us to be living sacrifices and to be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. These connect with the ACSA vision!
Someone in the listening group saw a picture of Jesus’ feet—bronze, planted firmly, immoveable, unshakeable, over His CHURCH. He was and is present with us.
The group, quoting 1 Corinthian 13, reminded us that we need to love. . . “If I speak and do NOT love…I am nothing.” This scripture was supported by the word that we should share God’s love with others and remain in God’s love.
The church is being called afresh to be completely dependent on God. Only through Him will we achieve anything.
The group shared a deep impression that this conference is a history-making event. God is saying that we will look back on it and realise that things changed from this point on. We trust God for all that He promises His church and pray that we might be faithful in submitting to Him.
It’s a new season. At the wedding of Cana, the best wine was served at the end. God is pouring out His new wine in abundance.
A word for the youth: A wave will come over the youth. Then a great wave will come from the youth and cover everyone. The youth have responded so incredibly. Many of the youth have ‘bleeding hearts’. They are anxious to do the work of the Lord, but they need direction. They have a real hunger, and they want to do the ‘stuff’ of the Kingdom. They don’t want to mess around. They are a Joshua generation and will inspire others.
Some other words that came during the sessions:
- In a time of crisis, we need to be bold and courageous. This was mentioned at least three times by different speakers.
- We need to be intentional about the things God is calling us to do.
- Church, wake up! We have to do it together. The love of Christ compels us.
- As leaders, we need to be vulnerable and humble, following Christ as the servant leader.
- There was a real sense that we need to be shaken out of our comfort zones. The Holy Spirit will empower us.
- The question was asked: Do you believe that I own the cattle on a thousand hills?
There was a real sense of God breathing life into His church; and as Jesus said to Peter, “Feed my lambs.” So He is calling us to feed His lambs.
assisted by Alison Bourne, Pat Walker, Doug Kirkpatrick & Merle November.