Under the theme “In His Presence,” the Bermuda Conference Women’s Ministries Department enjoyed a spiritually-enriching weekend in the Word, April 23-25, with four gifted and anointed women of God: Adrienne Townsend-Benton, Lola Moore Johnston, Della Patton, and Marleena Debrough.
Townsend-Benton, chaplain, motivational speaker, and Amazon best-selling author, opened the virtual meetings on Friday evening, April 23, with “Cry Out.” Referring to Jonah 2, she said, “It’s hard to be in God’s presence when you’re running from Him.” Still, through Jonah’s experience, we learned that God delivers from seemingly impossible situations: when in the belly of a whale; when up against a wall; when in the middle of a problem, pray, praise, repent, ask, and then yield. She urged viewers not to wait until they see the reward, the situation improved, or the challenge removed. “Cry out with victory and thanksgiving. God will answer, and when you let go of what you know God does not want in your life, you’ll receive peace.”
Sabbath-morning services began with Early Morning Manna. Della Patton, a member of the North Bronx church in Bronx, New York, cautioned that we could be with God but not experience His presence. So, before we can stand in His presence, we must examine ourselves, meditate, pray, and fast. Being in God’s presence is transformative, and once we develop an intimate relationship with Him, we can hear His voice and know that we are favored. “Stay in His presence, for in His presence, there is joy, power, and peace,” she said.
“If there is one thing this pandemic can teach us, it is that we need to be still,” said Johnston, senior pastor of the Woodbridge church in Virginia and the worship service speaker. Her sermon, “Have a Seat,” based on Luke 10:38-42, pointed out that we sometimes believe, as Martha did, that when we are in God’s presence, there’s something for us to do, explaining, “But I believe Martha overestimated her contribution, under-estimated her need in Jesus’ presence, and forgot to estimate her gift.” She said we sometimes focus on our ability and forget that God is a provider. “In this season, God is asking us to have a seat. . . . Take a seat at His feet, soak in His presence, and trust that being in His presence is the most profound thing we can do.”
Johnston, also the Sabbath-evening speaker, encouraged learning from Esther that God delivers and positions His people in places where they can speak to the powers that oppress His people. “We cannot be asleep in this season,” she said. “Wake up! Get up! God needs people to speak out and speak up so that He might bless them and do something amazing through them.”
To complete the weekend’s meetings, Marleena Debrough, pastor of Willowgrove church in Pennsylvania, spoke on “Walk in My Joy.” Using John 15:9-11 as her sermonic text, she explained that God wants to super-size our blessings and give us complete joy, which only comes through Him. “Jesus’ joy blesses our lives when we engage in selfless acts, obey God, and tell others of His goodness.
“There are joy stealers who cause us stress, hopelessness, and anger, but the benefits of Jesus’ joy are that they provide strength, identity, healing, peace, stability, joy, and pleasures forever.” She challenged everyone to hold on to God and to let no one steal their joy.
Michelle Hill, Pembroke church pastor and Bermuda Conference Women’s Ministries director; Lynne Wade, Women’s Ministries leader from the Warwick church; and Jaylaka Matthie, Southampton church, hosted “In His Presence.”
Hill thanked the Women’s Ministries team, the participants, the technical operators, and the viewers for a phenomenal weekend and encouraged everyone to consistently live for God, to abide in God’s peace, and to stay in His presence.