Some two hours north of New York City, God ordained a ‘hallowed spot’ on the tranquil, picturesque, blessed 100+ acres of Northeastern Conference’s magnificent Camp Victory Lake, Hyde Park, New York. It was the weekend of March 3-5, 2017, and it felt like Spring! Whether the crisp freshness of the country air, the brilliant blue sky, the peaceful wind, the ‘vociferous quietness’, the numerous ‘naked’, majestic trees, the quiet flowing brook, the gently sloping landscape kissing the calm waters of the lake, the splashing mini-waterfall, the busy skunk, the ground hog or the other animals, one almost automatically begins to feel one-with-God-in-nature. Hallelujah!!
Well, though all the aforementioned are amazingly breath-taking, what was seen in the Earle Auditorium (Lower-level Conference Hall of the George & Vernelle Earle Cafeteria) would have left any onlooker seated stunned!
Powerful pillows would be noticed ‘strolling around’! They simply appear to be off-white, beautifully upholstered, moderately soft, 17”x17” pillows – of charming living room/bedroom accessory quality; however, the potent yet quiet eloquence of their presence is amazing! Their decorative presence is not needed here; instead, they are being used as ‘prayer supports’. Some are being kneeled on, others are being leaned on, still others are being hugged, and squeezed.
On this very weekend, the Northeastern Conference Ministerial Spouses have congregated for prayer. It is a Prayer Retreat for Pastors’ wives! Organized by NEC’s first lady, Sister Fritze Honore, and supported by Guest Speaker, NAD’s first lady / Ministerial Spouses’ Association Director, Sister Donna Jackson, it is now etched in time as a historic occasion!
The core small group of about twenty PWPWs (Pastors’ Wives Prayer Warriors) shared a mountain-top, never-to-be-forgotten, Holy Spirit-filled weekend.
They understood the 1 Thessalonians 5:17 command to “Pray without ceasing’, as well as, the Matthew 18:19,20 promise of Jesus: ‘Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them’.
Surely, it was heartwarming to witness the oneness, the unity in the midst of diversity; to hear hymns, such as, ‘Watch Ye Saints’, ‘Holy Sabbath Day of Rest’, ‘Blessed Assurance’, ‘What a Friend We Have in Jesus’, and ‘Hallelujah’ being sung with absolute harmony, and in unison – while using two languages simultaneously: English and Spanish. Hallelujah! Truly, we serve One God!
Over the weekend, Holy Spirit-filled Bible-based-Prayer-Presentations by Sisters Donna Jackson and Fritze Honoré were interspersed with numerous, pillow-supported-prayer-moments – prayer circles, prayer ‘hubbles’, individual prayers, paired prayers, kneeling prayers, standing prayers, sitting prayers, stooping prayers, outdoor prayers, indoor prayers. Prayer by all means to our One Omnipotent, Promise-fulfilling, Faithful God.
The PWPWs ended the Lord’s Sabbath with a prayerful, solemn Communion Service - with officiating Elder Fritze Honoré, and Deaconesses Rosemary Ramos, Kethlie Joseph, and … Lamar.
A monlogue by Sister Shellieann Brown, poem by Sister Clara Cabrera, and singing by chorister, Sister Bernice McKenzie (yours truly) were also highlights of the weekend!
On Sunday, the weekend was closed out on the zeniths of a Prayer Journey. This journey was fueled by stops at five prayer stations. On this travel through prayer, they interceded for the guidance to make Jesus priority in their lives – to give Him first place; for forgiveness of sins; for their families – husbands, children; for ministry empowerment – that Jesus will serve others through them, and much, much more.
What an energizing, refreshing weekend!
Be careful now! Don’t you judge a pastor’s wife by what she carries in her hand! She will tell you that the unassuming, off-white pillow is a testimony of her mountain-top, 2017 NEC Ministerial Spouses Prayer Retreat experience at Camp Victory Lake, NY.
Bernice Quashie McKenzie