GMCHC Annual Women’s Conference: Winning in 2010 – Facing What Matters By Iraolyn Humphreys MV Contributing Writer As anticipated, this

year’s Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church‘s Annual Women’s Retreat delivered nothing short of back to back, power-filled messages from dynamic women of God. Taking a break from the usual glitz and glamour of a hotel resort setting, this year’s conference convened the weekend of October 29, 2010 in an atypical setting—the main sanctuary of Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church, where smiling faces illuminated, and a sweet-smelling spirit of worship and sisterhood saturated the atmosphere. The presence of God was welcomed as Maria Jenkins belted, “How Great Is Our God”, followed by the Women of Calvary singing Hezekiah Walker’s, “I Need You to Survive.” The ambience had been set for God’s chosen to receive just what he had in store for them. Pastor Kim Ray, Senior Pastor at Church on The Rock in Matteson, IL, and described as a woman after God’s own heart, opened the conference with a profound, revelatory word to remind the saints that, “We Are a Resilient People!” Pastor Ray’s message was taken from Romans 8:28 and Romans 8:35-39. Ray started her message by bursting a few bubbles when asserting, “We must be tested! Tests do not come to break our spirit, but they come for God to bring strength into our lives. We must be emotionally and mentally resilient.” After a few “Amens” and “Hallelujahs”, the pastor knew she had full grasp of the ladies’ attention. She continued by stating, “We have to be determined to make it; be determined that NOTHING shall separate us from the love of Christ.” Comparing the Christian’s ability to take a licking and keep on ticking to the resiliency of a rubber band, Ray deemed that God’s people are not to take setbacks personally, but to fight the enemy with the word of God. The church should always see the silver lining in the cloud. Referencing Hebrews 11, Ray iterated that things will be better IF we believe God. “As a believing people, the Body of Christ must be willing to go through the grooming process with perseverance and endurance. “ In her closing reflection, Pastor Ray affirmed, “In order to be extraordinary, you have to make extraordinary sacrifices. You can’t be average and be on top.” The Holy Spirit showed up and showed out again on Day Two of the conference by speaking through the witty, anointed vessel in the person of Reverend Dr. Debyii Sababu-Thomas, First Lady of Hemingway Temple A.M.E. Church in Baltimore, MD, to deliver more soul stirring, life changing revelation. Using a topic of, “Maintaining Me In The Midst of My Relationships, Dr. Thomas talked about how vitally important it is for the Christian woman to not lose sight of herself, purpose, and calling, while dealing with the incessant demands of everyday life. She started out by stating, “Jesus wants us to be rocks. Since Jesus can’t bear the cross alone, we should always be reaching out to help others.” Dr. Thomas posed a grammatically incorrect, yet thought provoking question, “Who Is Me?” She intentionally phrased the question this way, in suggesting that there are at least five people in every woman, and used Biblical characters to support her statement: 1. The Superwoman (Jezebel) Me—The Superwoman is the bossy, in control, self-centered ‘me’. Similar to Jezebel, the Superwoman generally has impure motives. She seduces to get what she wants. Guilty giggles resounded as Dr. Thomas confessed, “I know ladies that we’re called to be help meets, but we like to TAKE OVER.” 2. The Tamar (David’s Daughter) Me – In the Bible, Tamar was a self-negating, tormented woman who lived a desolate life. She’s content to be alone, and doesn’t easily trust.

3. The Martha Me – Dr. Thomas suggested that the Martha’s are generally busy bodies. They goe overboard to appease people, very image driven, to give the appearance that they have it all together. 4. The Mary (Worshipper) Me—While Martha was busy ensuring that everything was perfect for Jesus, Mary was at his feet! However, Dr. Thomas cautioned the ladies that while worship is wonderful, don’t be so heavenly minded that you’re no earthly good! Don’t be so consumed with maintaining your inner man that you neglect your responsibility of reaching out to help others. 5. Debra (1st Woman Judge) – Debra is seemingly the most balanced of the five women. She was a mother and a prophetess in Zion. She found a way to maintain who she was in spite of all she had to do. Dr. Thomas used these Biblical ladies to illustrate that we are not just one thing; there are many sides to us; but, there has to be a balance. If we’re constantly focusing on the negative aspects, or dark areas in our lives, the Christian responsibility of pulling out the God in us, becomes neglected. She closed by encouraging the congregants. “You don’t have to tell people who you are, your light will shine, if whatsoever you do, you do it all unto the Glory of God.” After breaking for lunch and fellowship, the ladies gathered in the sanctuary for the conclusion of the whole matter. Evangelist Susie C. Owens’, GMCHC’s Co-Pastor, task for the afternoon was to assure the ladies that, “We Will Win & Will Have Success”. She began by uplifting the Saints of God, “It is ALL yours. Nobody will be able to hold out against you. If it doesn’t work, don’t concede! God promised you certain things, and no matter how dark it gets, we are going to win.” The closing text was drawn from Joshua 1:5-9, where God declares to Joshua, as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. God had to encourage Joshua to keep going, as he oftentimes has to do with us when faced with crushing blows and defeats. As the congregation settled down from the exclaims of praise that echoed throughout the sanctuary, Co-Pastor Susie shared strategies on how not to faint when pressing towards dreams and ambitions. She outlined a number of points; but the central focus was learning how to gain strength and survive. “Winning is not for weaklings. Life is not meant for weak hearted women. Survivors have to be comfortable and satisfied with every decision we make. If you have to survive, you have to have strength. Speak to that thing you want to achieve.”