Women in the Word, led by Dina Clarke and Beth Sprinkle, is a community Bible Study in Pawleys Island that attracts 250 women weekly, with 60% from outside All Saints Church. The bible study focuses on helping women grow as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ and is in its 13th year. Each week women gather to worship the Lord, hear from His word, pray, and meet in small groups to apply what the Lord revealed to our own lives and circumstances. Lives are transformed by His grace as they seek to learn who they are in Christ and how to live it out in the power of the Holy Spirit.
The All Saints women’s teaching ministry has its roots with discipleship teacher The Rev’d Erilynne Barnum. Erilynne began teaching at All Saints in 1997 and her ministry grew from there to a national ministry (call2disciple.com). Erilynne also discipled the current teacher Beth Sprinkle and eventually Dina Clarke joined the team.
The two are a dynamic duo with two different teaching styles. The Lord is at work and now the desire for discipleship is so great that mini sessions led by Van Weston have been added to the calendar. Women in the Word seeks to help others know Jesus, to love God’s Word, and to daily live out His truth in their lives.
This ministries’ Scriptural foundation is from the letter to the Colossians 1:28: “We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.” To listen to their current teaching series on Exodus go to http://www.allsaintspawleys.org/Exodus or to their facebook page here.
Teachers Dina Clarke and Beth Sprinkle
For 14 years we talked about adoption. Off and on, here and there.
And then it got personal. Some friends adopted. Just ordinary people–Some with children, some without. It got our attention, and we decided that maybe we could actually adopt, not just talk about it. It was contagious! There would be work, distress, waiting and then…joy! We wanted it all. And so, we began, one paper at a time.
Nine months, two weeks and a stack of paperwork about 2 feet high found us leaving for China where we met our one year old daughter, Mei Mei. But We were hooked, so without so much as a conversation, we knew we wanted to go back and do it again. Another eighteen months later, which included anew the work, the distress the waiting and the joy, we were back in China meeting our 2 ½ year old daughter Liza.
That’s the short version of an adoption story–Our adoption story.
What is your version? You might be surprised to realize that you have an adoption story already. So many people were part of our adoption story, and thus have their own story. And I truly believe that they are part of God’s plan for our girls just as much as we are. As Corinthians 12:4-7 tells us: ‘Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.’
Take heart! Adoption is a great example of the people of God using the gifts and services and activities they have been given to care for orphans. We completed the paperwork and underwent government scrutiny. Family members gave us money and cared for our other children while we were gone. Friends made us dinner and carted our kids around. One friend even kept our big old dog for two weeks! These are not small things. Each one of them was a huge support to us in the moment and truly made it possible for us to do our part in the story. Truly.
Next time you are listening to someone talk about adoption, don’t feel guilty if you haven’t adopted a child. Think of the ways you have helped someone who has, and then do it again!
Every little bit helps. And that is the truth. A fellow ADOC family recently adopted and when I went to their Go-Fund-Me page I scrolled through, amazed at all the gifts there. Some were large, but most were not. Each small gift together raised a huge sum of money in mere days. You know what God can do with a few fish and some bread! Watch him do it again and again through His people. Just talk to anyone who has adopted and they will have crazy stories of how the money and the physical support were there when they needed it. Our family had many people support us in our adoptions, but one stands out. An old man who I did not know knocked on my door one day while we were working on our second adoption. Part of me did not want to answer the door as I saw him coming up the sidewalk, but I opened the door. He asked if I was Mrs. Edgar and handed me an envelope, he said someone had asked him to give it to me. He walked away. It had $1000 in it.
I know that God loves adoption. And it is a tangible reminder of how we are adopted as sons and daughters into the family of the God of the Universe. My poor heart’s attempts at fiercely and tenderly loving my adopted girls is a mere hint at what our perfect, loving God feels toward us, his adopted children. And that is unfathomable to me.
Let it be contagious!
Beth Edgar worships at the Cathedral Church of the Apostles, Columbia, SC where her husband Chip Edgar serves as the Dean.
Homelessness has always been a heartfelt point of prayer and service for the May family. Six years ago, the then 12 year old Julie May was recognized by a local non-profit for her contributions toward Housing for New Hope, a halfway house for homeless people in the Durham, NC community to have temporary housing while they returned to the workforce and regained independence. Fast forward to today, sixteen year old Jimmy May is a camp counselor at a local Christian youth camp spending his naps and nights sleeping in a hammock along with his campers. As he has grown accustomed to hammock life and expanded the practice amongst his siblings while at home, a ministry vision was born and the next thing the May family knew, their backyard was overrun with hammocks as they learned how to practically do what God had put in their hearts. Through this process, God gave a vision of how we can make a real difference in the lives of unsheltered homeless in Rock Hill, SC and everywhere! The first group of hammocks were given to the men’s warming shelter.
There are two practical applications for Hammocks for Homeless: 1) Directly providing hammocks to homeless people and 2) Providing hammocks to homeless shelters to be used as emergency housing in multi-use space. Hammocks for Homeless envisions a future where no one has to sleep on the ground. To this end, partnerships with other local agencies, like ReNew Our Community and the Men’s Warming Shelter at Bethel UMC, are already being formed to strengthen the benefit to the growing number of homeless in York County, SC.
Matthew 8:20 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.
Sherry and Pat May and family
When God breaks in…
As we begin a new church year we do so with a sense of anticipation for the coming of Christ into our world. We look back to incarnation of our Lord in Bethlehem and we also look forward to the end of the age when Christ will return in glory. These two salvation events anchor our lives in the grace, love and faithfulness of our God who comes to us to accomplish for us what we could never accomplish for ourselves.
These two great events are also central to the mission Christ has given us as his church. On the one hand, like the Apostle Paul, we preach nothing but Jesus Christ and him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2). Our proclamation is grounded in the reality that God, in Christ, entered into the human story, put on our flesh, lived among us and died for us. In Him we see the very face of God and in him we receive the gift of life. This message is the power of God unto salvation and the very thing our broken world yearns to know. We are his ambassadors who bear the treasure of this very good news.
On the other hand, our Lord’s promise to return and establish his kingdom in the new heaven and the new earth (Revelation 21), re-orients us to that which matters eternally. The One who graciously came to our rescue on Calvary, will again return to dwell with His people forever. The implication for us is clear: there is more to life than this present age. Our mission is shaped by this truth. C.S. Lewis observes “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this” (Mere Christianity). When we have the end in view, we live differently in the present. The necessity and urgency of sharing Christ with our neighbors and communities is brought into light.
A new church year is a great time to reflect the initiating grace of God in Christ who breaks into our world. However, Advent is not merely a time of personal reflection, it is a time to recommit ourselves to the mission of Christ in our world. Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again. May God the Holy Spirit empower us individually, and our churches corporately, for his mission!
Yours in Christ, Bishop David
Having the Word and the Spirit
“Jesus said to His disciples, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you will be my witnesses.”
How did the early church turn the Greco-Roman world upside down? Certainly, a large part of their success lay in their message – that through Christ people could find freedom and salvation from all the things that held them in fear and bondage.
But it wasn’t just the early church’s message that made them so fruitful. It was both Word and Spirit. The early church was empowered by a vital experience of God – the Holy Spirit’s presence.
The Book of Acts communicates a simple message to Christians, that apart from the Holy Spirit, we Christians have nothing and are nothing and can do nothing. Our whole life is dependent on the Holy Spirit. Our coming to faith in Jesus is the product of the Holy Spirit. Our Christian growth is a result of the Holy Spirit, our unity in the church – created by the Holy Spirit. Our evangelism and mission is empowered by the Holy Spirit. Our knowledge of God’s Word is a result of the Holy Spirit. Our hearing from God, our healing, the restoration of marriages and families, our insight into the things of God, our servanthood, our Christian character: It’s all the result of the power of the Holy Spirit.
Listen, there is very clearly and very definitely something to believe in Christianity – we can never let go of that. But there’s also something more. There is Someone to receive, Someone to experience. Christianity has a certain truth content to it. But Christianity goes beyond creeds and beyond propositional content. It involves an encounter with the Holy Spirit – an experience of God through the Holy Spirit. This is partially what Jesus meant when He said, “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.”
Much of the church today says not to worry about experiences and not to worry about feelings. Concern yourself with the truth and that is enough. On one hand there is truth in this. You don’t have to wait for a feeling to obey God. The Christian life is not just a life of waiting around for a feeling in order to do what is right or good or helpful. We act in faith based on the truth. We know what God’s Word says –we know what God’s will is and so we do God’s will regardless of our feelings.
But the Bible consistently presents the Holy Spirit as Someone who can be experienced – as Someone who imparts power. A few examples of this biblical witness:
The Apostle Peter wrote truths for us to believe but he also spoke of his experience. 1 Peter 1:8 he writes that as we encounter God we experience “joy unspeakable.”
The Apostle Paul, who wrote some of the most profound and dense theology, said in Romans 5, “God’s love is poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit?” Is that just doctrine or an experience?
Again, Paul, we read in Romans 8 that we have received the Holy Spirit and by Him we cry out, “‘Abba, Father,’ the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirits that we are children of God” is that heart cry, “Abba Father,” just right belief or it is the result of a genuine encounter with the Holy Spirit?
God brought the prophet Ezekiel to a desert valley that was covered with the bones of dead men. While Ezekiel watched, the Spirit of God breathed upon those dried out bones and flesh grew on them and dead men came back to life. Some of us are like those dead bones in the valley. You’re not physically dead. You may be as physically fit as one could be. You may be intellectually fit. Your mind could be incredibly quick and your wit as sharp. But even if you are physically alive and intellectually alive, spiritually you can still be dead – dead to God. Dead, in terms of your awareness of God. Dead, in terms of your experience of God before the power of the Spirit makes you alive to the reality of God.
Jesus said to His disciples, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you will be my witnesses.” The power of the Spirit is at work in us to make us look like Jesus. And living like Jesus is a fantastic way to live. Jesus was free. Jesus was secure. His identity was not based on the opinions of those around him. He did not feel the need to prove Himself. He did not measure His success in life by what He possessed or what He accomplished. He did not measure the fruitfulness of His ministry or the faithfulness of His Father by the response of His audience. He was at peace with Himself. Jesus was authentic. He was the real deal.
Being like Jesus means that you are aiming at loving other people and not being self-consumed with introspection or self-pitying, being self-absorbed. Being like Jesus means you’re able to love people who are different than you. People who are different in color, different in background, different education, different ages. Being like Jesus means that you speak well of others instead of always complaining, bad-mouthing, gossiping.
Wouldn’t it be nice to live life like Jesus? Secure, content, thankful, truthful, loving, free? How does it happen? How does holiness happen?
It happens by the Word and the Holy Spirit working together in our lives.
One last thought on this matter. When I was in seminary I had a theology professor who used this ditty to make this point:
To have the Word without the Spirit is to dry up.
To have the Spirit without the Word is to blow up.
To have the Word and the Spirit is to grow up.
May we all grow in the fullness of life that the Lord means for us to know.
Yours in Christ,