The 2017 Priscilla and Aquila Conference was held on Monday January 30 at the College. Our annual conferences have a 2-fold aim: (i) to encourage the ministries of women, and (ii) to think more seriously and creatively about how men and women can serve better together in gospel ministry.
Although they are aimed primarily at men and women in vocational ministry, these conferences are also open to lay men and women, and many lay people attend each year.
This year just over 300 men and women came together to hear talks, encourage one another, and enjoy Christian fellowship.
The main talks in the morning were given by William Taylor, Rector of St Helen’s Bishopsgate London. William’s first talk was from Acts 18 on ‘A ministry that grows the church’, where he emphasised the centrality of the word of God and prayer if you want a ministry that truly grows and truly lasts. In his second talk, looking at Luke 10:38-42 and other New Testament passages, he spoke of the importance of training Christian disciples in Bible ministry, whether that be in a one to one setting, a small group, or from the pulpit.
The plenary sessions also included a talk by Jane Tooher on ‘Portraits of Faith’, where she spoke about Mike Ovey and Marion Gabbott. Following Mike’s sudden death on January 7, Jane gave thanks to God for Mike and especially for two things. Firstly, how Mike helped us think about men and women, gender, marriage, and complementarianism. And secondly, how God built up Oak Hill under Mike’s leadership and how important formal theological education is. Jane then spoke briefly about Marion Gabbott, and some of the various ministries she has served in, and continues to serve in. She also highlighted some people who have been key for Marion, such as her teachers at Moore and Deaconess House, who have continued to influence her decades later, people such as Broughton Knox, Donald Robinson, Donald Cameron, Graeme Goldsworthy, and Mary Andrews. From Mary, Marion learnt the importance and beauty of Christian discipline, and of living simply. Driving forces for Marion’s ministry have been John 3:16, Romans 5:8, and 2 Corinthians 5:17-19, along with a quote from C.T. Studd, “If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.”
In the afternoon delegates could choose two electives from a mix of seven. Faculty members and fellow Northern Irishmen Peter Orr and Paul Williamson spoke on ‘Prophecy Today?’, and ‘Deborah - Prophetess? Judge?’ respectively. Jo Gibbs and Kate Snell spoke on partnering with your husband in ministry, including when you job share. Jim and Lesley Ramsay addressed the topic of modesty and how it’s much more than dressing decently. Melinda Hunt and Michael Sheedy explained what is included in the Divorce Care course and shared about how they lead it at their local church. A panel chaired by Phil Wheeler with Bruce Clarke, Sandy Galea, Cathy Young and Moussa Ghazal shared about their different ministry contexts and how they share Jesus in those contexts. Janet Taylor from London spoke on the ministry and relationships between staff wives and women on staff.
Audio and video of the conference will be progressively added to the P&A Centre Resources page in the next couple of months.