by Jean Packer

The ‘School of Leaders’ and ‘School of Prophets’ Graduation Supper was exceptional. We entered a transformed ‘Firehouse’ to a welcoming glass of  juice and enjoyed time to mingle and chat with one another. The room was decorated with flowers and little plants. Each table was beautifully laid with cutlery, glasses and serviettes and the white tablecloths had gold and silver stars scattered over them. Seats had place names thoughtfully positioned and candles were lit to add to the ambiance created by soft background music. The dinner menu was distinctive and appealing with a choice of three courses and included catering for vegetarians. Each course was superb and delicious accompanied with red and white wine and chilled water. The dinner ended with a choice of coffee or tea and chocolates.

We were blessed that our guest speaker was Pastor Alison Bates from CCC Church in Cheltenham. Alison began by commending the schools for completing their courses, especially those who had given of their time to attend both schools in their desire to grow in the Lord. Alison continued by speaking about the calling and cost, yet honour of leadership. She spoke of the temptations that leaders can face in desiring to serve their own ministries. Leaders are called to serve others and she emphasised the importance of character before gifting through sharing with us that this is something she always looks for. This is primarily the quality that is needed to lead others into God’s fullness. The ‘Firehouse’ was highlighted as a place that has been positioned in an area often thought of as marginalised. Leaders are called to serve and to restore hope, value and dignity to the communit. Jesus reached out to those who were wounded and hurting. He restored dignity to them. We are called to do this wherever He may lead us.

After this, our leaders spoke to us with affirmation and encouragement to reach forward to all God has called and equipped us to. Wes and Sharron called each member of the school forward and we individually went up to shake their hands. Alison also shook our hands as she presented us with our certificates. This was done with great applause and happiness. Afterwards, amid much fun and laughter each school were grouped together and photographed by those who had brought their camera. The evening ended on a high note and we left feeling we had experienced a very special occasion.

Our Pastors, Wes, Sharron, Ian and Muriel lovingly prepared, cooked and served us with honour. We were privileged to attend and receive such blessing from our remarkable leaders. They truly demonstrated the Father heart of God towards us in their service of love. He is generous and pours out to us lavishly the best of the best and this is what we received from them.

Golden Valley Church Gloucester


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