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New Wine Leadership Conference 2016

God’s answer for Elijah, a little like Kate’s focus on Jethro’s advice to Moses, is to share the load, Charlotte advocated. Elisha is to wear Elijah’s mantle. What God has planned will be fulfilled through Elisha. God is concentrating less on success and more on succession and this was in many ways where we were being led by Justin Welby as he considered the Hall of fame that he walks past in Lambeth Palace and our over-concerns with our legacy and being great leaders when we have one leader Jesus Christ who is sufficient.

Charlotte explored our resistance regarding investing in the next generation, sometimes subconsciously requiring they have it as tough as we did; sometimes not wanting them to wear the leadership mantle better than we have. She explored how we can feel let down by the reactions of those we pass the mantle on to; they are not wearing it the way we had hoped; they are not receiving it in the way we had anticipated. Elisha wants to go home first and kiss his parents before he moves on to the next stage of life that Elijah is inviting him into and this would have come as some disappointment to Elijah when it is so costly for Elijah to throw such a symbolic garment over the shoulders of Elisha. In this garment he had seen good times with God, wanted to crawl under and quit. It had protected him through trials and cold nights. Throwing his cloak would leave him exposed, vulnerable. Without it he has to be real because as he passes the mantle on, his own exposure is simultaneous.

Charlotte reminded me that I have to be willing to throw a cloak a little more often in ministry, rather than throw a title, an accomplishment. We have to let go of controlling the response in the other person too.

The Marszalek Family

The journey to kiss goodbye before moving on Charlotte advocates as healthy, there are healthy leave-takings, as we move into new seasons, we are to leave the last one well. Elisha knows he has things to deal with before he can deal with what Elijah is asking of him. Elijah’s not giving up under that tree was because God had succession in mind and similarly we are to realise that when we do not accomplish all we had hoped, we are not simply to quit, we are to think of all that God has invested in us and pass that on to the next person who is stepping in to continue God’s vision for that place. We are to think of those who put cloaks over our shoulders and we are to have in mind the future generations to whom we will give a cloak. We are to get out from under our trees and ensure there is a double anointing available for God’s person for the future.

I came back from the leadership conference reminded again of the awesomeness of God. My roomy and I, my best friend from theological college, also side-stepped one talk and simply drank tea and cried together as we remembered the giddy days of our first being called; those years when the Holy Spirit was working so hard to call us, to have us kiss goodbye to what once was and walk step by tiny step into God’s future that we were quite undone by Him. We promised to hold each other to account, to not lose our first love, as God becomes ‘job’ as well as ‘call’ as we both serve the Anglican church in all its everyday stuff. We dried eyes and returned to the auditorium to receive from God before making our way back home to put into practice and to put into prayer all we had heard (and heard!).


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Category: In Depth, Spring 2016

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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