Thank you for your Grace

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Last week

At Willow Park, we have been through a long process of deciding whether or not women will be allowed on our Elders board. This discussion has included much prayer, unbiased and well-researched teaching videos presented by Phil, Q and A church meetings, many conversations…all culminating in the church membership making the decision by voting on Sunday.

Complementarian or Egalitarian?

Words that many had not heard or wrestled with until recently.

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I had a dream on Saturday night

I was on a hike walking alongside a cliff, on a relatively narrow, rugged pathway. There were lots of us, all heading in the same direction. I was struggling because I dragging a huge suitcase, challenging to navigate and very heavy.

We all reached a point on the walk where we had to step onto a large wooden platform area before climbing over to the next point of the journey. The wooded area was continually moving and difficult to pass, you had to concentrate on being able to get onto the moving platform and then climb over.

Thankfully, Brad (chair of our board) and Phil (pastor) stood at the top of the platform, they were helping everyone up and over. I was struggling, this was impossible with heavy luggage, so I hoisted the case up to Brad and Phil.

As I climbed on, I saw them put my suitcase to one side. It was empty.

Brad looked at me and said, ‘you don’t need that anymore, you can continue without it.’

Yesterday

I woke Sunday morning reassured and encouraged. That whatever the outcome and decision made on the members vote. That the women in our church would be traveling lighter because of it. I was reassured this journey has been a God-given process for this time, for our church, and I knew that God had us here for a purpose to bring us closer to His heart.

A decision was made that all members, male and female, can be nominated to become elders of Willow Park Church.  

Today

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We took a day off and walked Enderby Cliffs. 14 km of cliff edge walking while praying for our church. We thanked God that we have been able to offer answers to occasional questions of fallout and possible division. We have responded that we believe our church is healthy, that the heart of people is unity, and we will continue to walk well together with our different opinions and thoughts.

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Because the main thing is the main thing: Jesus. Salvation. His presence. Transformation.

The climb up the cliff was hard today. But alongside the increased heart rate and occasional trip-ups – we stopped and took in the views, the wildflowers, the beauty.

And enjoyed the reward of a spacious place.

Then I found the platform that I’d seen in my dream, but this time it wasn’t unstable or moving, but steady.

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We journey on – focused, lighter, anticipating all that God has for us.

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Thank you for your grace, Willow Park Church – well done.

Love, Michelle xo

Ps. All pics from our hike today 🙂

 

Some call it a day off…

One of the things Phil and I have always been strict with throughout the many years of leading church is our day off. We have always made sure we spend that day together – often including a nice breakfast somewhere and an ADVENTURE – now known as Monday Funday.

With the constant awareness of ministry needs, the many conversations, being mindful of our community – we ensure that Sabbath is taken. Because so often pouring out means we need to find some pouring in.

For us that means stepping out of our everyday world and finding space, exploring new and changing our landscape.

Finding a thin place to commune with our Creator

Mondays become a pilgrimage where we catch up, pray for our family near and far and dream big for our community.

Finding a creative space that walking inevitably offers

Today was ‘Enderby’ the home of the River float, Fish n chips, Drive in theater… and Enderby Cliffs.

 

We began our 2200ft trek and the first section led us to a cross. carved by the villagers of Oberammergau, Germany. A clear symbol at the beginning of the journey, one adorned with expressions of young love and graffiti.

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We began winding our way through shaded forests of birch and fir, switching back and forth up the mountainside. Invisible insects high in the trees, clapping their wings – the forest applauding.

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I took a bow, caught my breath and walked on, bumping into a silent snake and a distracted bee.

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Two hours of ascent brought us to sub-alpine meadows covered in Arrowleaf Balsamroot and Glacier Lilies.

The hike was well worth the view from the 180-degree viewpoint. A perfect blue sky dotted with storybook clouds offered views far south to Okanagan Lake and Vernon and as far north as Salmon Arm and Shuwsap Lake. As we sat in silence on the cliff-side ledge we ate our picnic, drank sweet English tea from plastic cups and ducked as swooping swallows swished passed our heads.

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After a while, we made our way down and our journey ended as it began – at the cross, we stopped again and I noticed a child’s scribble ‘Jesus was here.’

Hope you enjoyed a little glimpse of our life!

Blessings on your week,

Love, Michelle x

Isaiah 35 Voice – FOR YOU

Imagine the wilderness whooping for joy,
 the desert’s unbridled happiness with its spring flowers.

It will happen! The deserts will come alive with new growth budding and blooming,
 singing and celebrating with sheer delight.
…

So, with confidence and hope in this message, strengthen those with feeble hands, shore up the weak-kneed and weary.

Tell those who worry, the anxious and fearful, ‘Take strength; have courage! There’s nothing to fear.

Look, here—your God! Right here is your God!

The balance is shifting; God will right all wrongs.

None other than God will give you success. He is coming to make you safe.