Just come back from a hugely encouraging spring wives' conference with 107 married women. Great ministry from John Samuel (Duke Street Church, Richmond) and Clare Heath-Whyte (from Frogmore). We also had Wallace and Lindsay Benn leading hugely important sessions on ministry and marriage. Audio and video will be online later in the week. It reminded me what a vital and urgent ministry this is. PT is very happy to invest and sponsor wives' conferences: it is good for those who come in themselves, as disciples of Christ. It is good for husbands/preachers to release them to come. It is good for churches to pay for them to come (does yours?). Yes, this is a great church investment.
Our spring wives conference is for those with over 7-8 years of ministry experience (though we do not draw the lines too sharply). Our summer wives' conference is for those in earlier years of ministry. It is cross denominational: perhaps this needs to be said (though it seems a shame). Our planning team includes free church wives (Mrs R and Ursula Stevens) and our helpers come from both Anglican and Free Church contexts. All are welcome. And even though those who come serve in a vast variety of contexts, many of the things we need to grapple with are the same. We plan the conference to encourage and equip those who find themselves in a unique position - being married to the minister! That carries with it great pressures - and also great joys. It is important to address the former and remind each other about the latter.
So, if you're a ministry wife, with your husband just starting out, it would be lovely to see you. If you're a ministry husband, just starting out - invest in your marriage and ministry by releasing your wife to come and join us. And if you're a church with a young married minister, this is something you should be getting behind for the sake of his wife, your sister in Christ, for your church, and - ultimately, therefore - for the sake of Christ.
Dates are Tuesday 23 June through Friday 27 June at Hothorpe Hall in Leicestershire. This year I'm speaking on Ezra and Liz Cox, family's and children's worker from St Giles church in Derby will be helping out with the teaching. Book here.