Triennial Kicks Off with Powerful Sermon

Post a Comment » Written on August 9th, 2007     
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Alise Barrymore

CHICAGO, IL (August 9, 2007) – Alise Barrymore exhorted more than 1,000 women at the opening worship service of Triennial XII on Thursday night to pursue with commitment the dream God has for them. (See photo story)

“Please refuse to let life happen to you—seize the reigns and let you happen to life,” she preached.

The event at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place is sponsored by Women Ministries of the Evangelical Covenant Church. Women are attending from around the world.

Barrymore, who was chaplain of North Park University from 2001 to 2006, is now co-pastor of the Emmaus Community, a church plant outside of Chicago. She asked her audience to consider three questions: What have you begun? Do you intend to finish? Are you brave enough?

She drew illustrations from her own latest effort to “happen to life”—she plans to run her first marathon in October. She drew laughter while acknowledging her own limitations, especially given that she has never run any distance approaching the 26.2 mile course.

“I am not delusional about my own gifts, talents and abilities,” Barrymore said, noting that she will finish the race several hours behind the leaders. Still, she said, “Not only do I plan on starting, I’m committed to finishing. I plan to finish in good fashion. For me to finish is a win all by itself.”

If women are to accomplish the goals God has called them to, then they will have to overcome fear. “Achievement and accomplishment does not come if we try to avoid the challenges of life,” she said.

Those challenges may include working toward their calling, even if few around them understand. She reflected that her family – who did not attend church – all but laughed when she announced that she was going to pursue ministry. They joked that, “I’m the only person in the family who has gone astray.”

Still, as women live their lives fully, they become an inspiration to others, Barrymore said. She added, “We are born to make manifest the glory that is in us. As we let our light shine, we give others permission to do the same.”

Barrymore told the women that they need to do five things to answer God’s call and “turn possibility into probability.”

-Know and acknowledge the promise God has made to them.
-Develop a plan, putting first things first.
-Be ready to practice. Barrymore said she has continued to run four days a week even on her vacation in Arizona, despite the 109-degree temperature. Practice doesn’t make perfect, she added, but “Practice makes confident.”
-Keep a persistent perspective, a point of reference by which to judge their progress. Make sure they are keeping pace with God.
-Persevere no matter what happens.

Women of all ages are attending the conference, which runs through Sunday. The oldest attendee was born in 1917 and the youngest in 1991. The worship began with a procession of flags representing all the countries where Covenant is doing mission work. Many of the flags were carried by women from those nations or by missionaries.

President Glenn Palmberg offered greetings to the women. Noting that he was one of only a handful of men in the room, he told the gathering, The women laughed as he told them, “I felt strange but welcome.”

He added that was “until I went to use the restroom. I went to the first one and it said, ‘Ladies’ and I went around the corner and it said, “Women.”

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