Closing worship speaker encourages Presbyterian Women gathering to leave a legacy


Ruth-Aimée Belonni-Rosario Govens says ‘we are called to shine God’s glory’

By Gail Strange | Presbyterian News Service
Ruth-Aimee Belonni-Rosario Govens

Ruth-Aimée Belonni-Rosario Govens

LOUISVILLE – “The beauty of Presbyterian Women is that many of us are here because of the faith and hard work of all those Presbyterian women who have come before us,” said Ruth-Aimée Belonni-Rosario Govens, chief enrollment management officer at Columbia Theological Seminary. She preached Sunday morning at the closing plenary of the 2018 Churchwide Gathering of Presbyterian Women.

Her sermon, “Arise and Shine,” was based on the Scripture used for the theme of the gathering — Isaiah 60:1. Govens reminded worshipers that when things seem their darkest, all believers have is the word of God, and with the word, “we can shine.”

Govens said we shine when we relinquish our selfish desire to lift up our glory and instead we lift up God’s glory. “This road is not a self-serving one,” she said. “It is an intentional decision, a wake-up call, a spiritual awakening to recognize God’s work and word, to be courageous and act and to do something to let God’s glory shine. It takes discipline to be God’s vessel.”

“When we don’t know how our local PW will survive, arise and shine,” said Govens. “When we are at the hospital or the doctor’s appointment facing difficult news, arise and shine. When our offspring let us down, arise and shine. When we act in racist ways to our sisters and brothers, pick yourself up, confess your wrongdoings, and arise and shine. We are called to shine God’s glory.”

Govens then asked and answered the question, “Where will PW be 30 years from now? I don’t know. All we have is the story behind us,” she said. “PW arose 30 years ago. Where will we be, who will we be? I don’t know. Even so, the uncertain path does not scare me. For I have never been in control; the spirit always has. I don’t know the next 30 chapters of PW.” After sharing the legacy of the strong Presbyterian woman in her family and life, Govens said, “I am here to remind you that the best legacy you can leave behind for women like me and the generation after me is your unwavering trust in God, your testimony, your faithfulness and your prayers.”

In her closing remarks to the gathering of nearly 2,000 women, Susan Jackson-Dowd, executive director of Presbyterian Women Inc., said, “Presbyterian Women’s mission and ministry are timeless. If PW disappeared today, our impact would not. When we live the PW purpose, we set the PW effect into motion.” Quoting a Greek proverb, Jackson-Dowd said, “A society grows great when we plant trees whose shade we will never know or sit in.” She encouraged the audience to create shade for future generations.

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