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New Wine 2017: Elephants Explored

As well as seminars there are evening gatherings which are celebratory in nature with a range of speakers from across denominations: Baptist, Anglican, Vineyard. Gatherings each morning take participants through a theme or are led by the same speaker each day whom we are able to get to know over the week.

This year I came away with a sense of God speaking into my stepping out, speaking up and not hiding away. Dr RT Kendall encouraged us to transition, whilst we have the opportunity from foolish to wise attendants, with the oil of the Spirit in plentiful supply (Mt 25:1-13). He dwelt on the importance of becoming Word and Spirit communities, in equal weight. This appeal to balance appealed to me. I was able to ask God about a call to theological writing and whether this was still his plan for me since finishing my Masters and not feeling called to continue formal study. About what, then, am I to write? So much of my teaching in the context of church life is a prayer for renewal. How much time was I also to invest in writing and particularly writing which explores the issues which divide us: namely gender and sexuality? This, I felt, needed an answer from God.

Kate Coleman

I powerfully met with God in the power of His Spirit. I knew this would mean I should expect something quite immediate and the next day …

Kate Coleman’s preaching was therefore significant for me. Her preaching is expository and she often uncovers new insights in familiar stories. This year she spoke from 1 Samuel 17 and encouraged us to meet, with David’s courage, the ideological giants of our day. Some of these ideological giants are in the very Church itself: theology without the Theo. There are ‘ologies’ instead of pain, experience, and ‘my rights’ which clamber for our attention. She asked whether some of us were called, like David, towards Goliath; to run into the debate rather than away from it. She asked us to join her in a symbolic action, to take scarves or handkerchiefs, if we had them, and swing them like slings (without stones, I hasten to add) over our heads. I couldn’t help thinking about the church’s competing pain narratives, lamenting the wounds we cause each other in this house of friends (Zech 13:6). I sensed a call to continue to write into the context of our issues and debates.

I find myself full of hope.

My own call from God this year, then, at New Wine, had a lot to do with this speaking out and stepping up. As I responded to a call to the front, for leaders who are being asked to be courageous, I went forward. It was then felt to be a call, particularly, for women and I powerfully met with God in the power of His Spirit. I knew this would mean I should expect something quite immediate and the next day I received an email asking me to write for the Church Times about the Church of England and where we find ourselves amidst the debate and pain of all our questions about gender and sexuality. I returned home with one day before my holidays to complete an article in which I went public about my commitment to the Church of England, pleading that our bishops would simply re-affirm traditional teaching and that it is possible to love and to flourish and to serve, to welcome and to include, to declare God’s covenant rainbow love and still believe and practise traditional marriage. I am glad for New Wine’s guidance of my life and ministry this year. So there ends another summer. New Wine has spoken to me over the years and as I take home a mantle to now organize the women of my area for how we might step up and speak out, I find myself full of hope. This year, New Wine had as many women as men speakers who were preaching, teaching and leading. This movement in God has carefully and graciously responded to the church’s empowerment of women in ministry. How it will continue to minister into what I think is God’s vision for human flourishing in singleness and marriage, is what I will now be watching with interest.

 

Notes

[1] https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2017/8-september/comment/opinion/bibles-arm-waving-and-incense

 

“The New Wine website itself contains testimonies of wonderful works of God: healings and gifts being released. He is a busy God there, indeed.”

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Category: Ministry, Summer 2017

About the Author: Rachel Marszalek is Vicar of All Saints, Ealing, an Anglican Church in London. Revd Marszalek is involved in the New Wine Movement and particularly focussed on women in Anglican ordained ministries within the network. She is married with two girls and two puppy dogs who are all a joy to her. God first called her to the church during the prayer of Humble Access in an Anglican Church’s Book of Common Prayer service when she was 8 years old. She blogs at Revising Reform. Facebook. Twitter: @revisingreform

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