Report: 2012 Women’s Day

Guest Editorial – Helen Sullivan

“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ. And so through Him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God.”  2 Corinthians 1:20

What an incredible Women’s Day! When asked what was personally the most impacting, the women responded… “The gathering and sharing of women speakers always causes a great time of reflection. The event also allows me another opportunity to be closer to my daughter who invited me.” “The courage of the women and their vulnerability touched my heart. Also the interpretive dance moved me deeply. Thank you.” “Sonja was brilliantly used by God. Truly, an amazing day!”

With 270 sisters in the City of Angels Church, we had a total of 726 women who came out to Women’s Day – 557 attended the English Women’s Day and 169 participated in the Latin (Spanish-speaking) Women’s Day! Although the events took place on March 3rd and March 10th, respectively, the preparation started much earlier! In December, the sisters – powerfully led by Elena – began to discuss the possible themes and most importantly, committed to pray daily for this special conference specifically designed to move women’s hearts. We agreed to keep everything simple! Once January hit, we began calling everyone we knew – family, friends and acquaintances – to invite them to attend. During Staff Meetings every Tuesday morning, the women gathered separately from the men in order to spend time planning and praying, as well as listening to inspiring lessons about loving women, reaching out to them, and winning them to Christ.

On the morning of March 3rd, walking into the Downtown Los Angeles Sheraton Hotel was amazing! The look was simple yet elegant – 50 tables with white and red table cloths, red rose center pieces, and many rows of chairs in front of the stage. With the room completely full, Elena and Prisca Scheidecker, who was visiting from Paris and is part of the new remnant group there, welcomed everyone and taught us how to give a warm “French greeting,” which consists of a “holy kiss” on each cheek! (Romans 16:16) Together they introduced our theme of The Promise based on 2 Corinthians 1:20, “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ.”

After the opening prayer, we enjoyed a time of fellowship and a delicious continental breakfast. Then, Thea Beach sang the soothing theme song The Promise – an adapted version by Tracy Chapman. With softened hearts, four amazing women shared their powerful testimonies collectively entitled, Living Out The Promises. Lianne Kernan, who along with her husband Tim Kernan will be leading the Paris Mission Team this August, spoke about The Promise Of Strength. Kristin Anderson – who is from our sister church in Phoenix – works for FOX 10 News as their morning anchor. Kristin did a marvelous job sharing about the most difficult times in her life, and how when she became a Christian, God gave her The Promise Of Peace. Coleen Challinor and her mother, Theresa Untalan, spoke about The Promise of Love and The Promise of Healing, respectively. Both of them spoke candidly and vulnerably about what led them to seek God. Each woman in the audience could relate to something that was shared – whether it was the loss of hope, feeling unloved, sexual abuse, neglect, the lack of fulfillment of success or the devastation of marital unfaithfulness. Clearly, but gently proclaimed, is that God through His mercy and grace was the only way to heal the hurt and the pain.

After a short break, we enjoyed watching Set The World On Fire, an inspiring interpretive dance performance choreographed by Nathalie Moningka and performed by seven brothers and sisters. Then, my dear friend and sister Sonja Chloupek gave the inspiring and challenging keynote address – The Promise. Reading Luke 8:42-48, Sonja shared about the woman who had been bleeding for 12 years. She highlighted the pain, discomfort, frustration and weakness this woman must have felt and how Jesus was the only one who could heal her. Then Sonja openly shared about her own life and the ways God had healed her. In closing, she asked the women what they were going to do. No matter what was going on in their lives presently, no matter what their situation was, they needed to make a decision to seek God, because He was the only one who could heal them. We ended the day watching the greatest miracle of all. Allison Stone, a single woman from the South Central Region, was baptized by the newest City of Angels Church’s Woman Regional Leader – Megan Mathews!

Sunday morning came quickly! With over 800 people in attendance, Kip preached an incredible message entitled, In The Hand Of A Jealous God. Reading Ezekiel 16:1-19, we learned how God called His people from nothing and made them into an incredible nation, but then instead of trusting in God, they trusted in their beauty and their fame – the very beauty and fame that God had given them! This was their idolatry and remains so for many women today. Also, Kip reminded us that we should be consumed with the same intense zeal for God as Jesus when He entered the temple courts and scattered the animals and overturned the tables of the money changers! (John 2:13-17)

The service concluded with six incredible baptisms: Kyle (South Region), Tamika (South Region), Ricky (Central Region), Jonathan (East Region), Wasiq (East Region), and Krystal (OC Region). In addition, three people placed membership: Rebecca – from the dynamic New York City Church, and David and Scott – from the mighty Phoenix Church. And of special note, the Spirit moved by bringing a group of 17 remnant disciples and their children to join us all the way from the Antelope Valley which is about 40 miles north of Downtown Los Angeles!

Although the weekend ended here, Women’s Day continued! On the following Saturday, under the leadership of Theresa Broom and aided by the sisters in the Latin Sector of the Orange County Region, we had an incredible Latin Women’s Day! The morning started with a light breakfast served in a courtyard at Cal State Fullerton. Then, we moved inside to the Titan Student Union Theater, where guests outnumbered the seats!

Theresa Broom shared in this week’s Good News Email, “The prayers of many were answered on Saturday morning, as God’s Word was preached powerfully in Spanish! …Sonia Gonzalez and her daughter Elizabeth shared vulnerably about overcoming through Christ the consequences of their abusive upbringings. Jessica Zepeda shared powerfully about being rescued from teenage alcoholism, which caused many tears to be shed! With hearts moved after listening to the testimonies, Nadari Hockenhull sang, Un Lugar Celestial (A Heavenly Place).

“Helen Sullivan preached powerfully the keynote sermon about the emptiness of her life without God and how at one time she contemplated suicide, but now she trusts in God’s promises! Elida Flores (Lucy Mejia’s aunt) also preached passionately about her own hypocrisy and ‘discipleship light,’ as she had led a comfortable religious life for many years in Mexico without making any disciples. She challenged all the women to not be ‘wimpy cry-babies!’ Elida’s son, Alejandro, traveled from Mexico with his wife Juanita just to support Elida this weekend! Now Alejandro & Juanita have begun to study the Bible and learn about ‘true discipleship!’ Please pray for muchos bautismos por favor!”

As sisters, we are so grateful that the City of Angels Church – and in fact all of the SoldOut Movement Churches – believes in and supports Women’s Ministry! We are also grateful for the brothers’ incredible support and help, especially on the day of this momentous event. Sisters, let us all strengthen our convictions that no matter how desperate our situation, no matter how hopeless our feelings, all of God’s promises “are ‘Yes’ in Christ!” And to God be all the glory!

Helen Sullivan