"Mum, you were supposed to take charge of the conversation and end on a positive note. Instead you allowed the woman to take control and speak over you so that you did not get your point across! You forgot the training tips from the Esther Programme!"
This was the confident comment from a young lady who had attended our recent British Union Conference (BUC) Esther Institute of Excellence Day conference held Sunday 28 July 2019. Several weeks later, this young lady observing her mother in conversation with another individual, gave a brave evaluation of what she has seen and then went on to demonstrate how the conversation could have progressed. Her mother reporting this to me stated that her daughter role played the alternative outcome to the conversation.
Her reference to the training was to refresh her mother's memory on the communication segment of the conference which included aspects such as ‒ how to engage in effective communication, how to be heard and get one's point across in a positive way. She also made the important link to the effective way Queen Esther communicated in Esther 4:15-17 and Esther chapters 5-7 which was featured as part of the training.
Other aspects of the BUC Esther Institute of Excellence Day conference included etiquette training delivered by Amanda-Simone Grossett who ran a Modern Finishing School for girls teaching modern manners alongside economic education. At the conference Amanda-Simone took the young ladies through the social graces relating to speech, poise, dress, and table setting. A key aspect concentrated on how to present themselves as Christian young ladies.
We have been contacted by some of the young ladies outlining how they have brought aspects of the training back to their church's Youth departments and women's groups. They are currently leading discussions on their social media platforms and networks on the aspects of what it means to be a Christian young woman incorporating the learning from the Esther Institute Conference.
Over the past several weeks, we received several positive reports relating to how the training has been used. Several parents have written to express the positive changes observed in their daughters but equally how they have observed them mentoring other younger women and girls.
Some of the Women's Ministries leaders are now replicating key aspects of the training in their Women's Ministries groups and in the nurture of younger women and girls both in their church and community settings.
Another presenter, Ruthlyn South ‒ a specialist in the hair-care industry for over 30 years, presented in-depth and engaging presentations on natural hair and skin care. With reference to biblical examples of natural and therapeutic beauty treatments, she skilfully demonstrated the health benefits of personal care products. Referencing Queen Esther's skin care and beauty treatment preparations, she also highlighted modern alternative products.
Presenting on Life Seasons, Inner Beauty, Bride-In-Waiting, Sharon Platt-McDonald ‒ BUC Director for Women's Ministries, Community Services and Health Ministries, delivered workshops on supporting parents in the nurture and mentoring of girls and young ladies drawing correlation to the life of Queen Esther.
An extensive interactive exhibition was on display which brought both practical and experiential aspect to the conference. This aspect of the day engendered much discussion and positive evaluations. In the subsequent communiques, several young ladies have reported that they are sharing the information with their school, college and university colleagues, some of whom have expressed interest in attending with them at future training events.
You might be wondering what led to the implementation of such a conference. Here is some background information:This year, our BUC Women's Ministries department were pleased to progress our signature mentoring programme –The Esther Institute of Excellence for Girls and Young Ladies – Raising Godly and Courageous Daughters For Such A Time As This.
The content of the Esther Institute of Excellence programme is based on the life of Esther and drawing 21st century lessons for our girls, young ladies, parents and mentors.
This programme has been developed out of the need to focus more on the support and development of our young females both in our churches and communities. It is crucial for us to spend dedicated time and effort in the nurture of our girls to enable them to blossom as young ladies of excellence to the glory of God's name.
'To nurture girls and young ladies in their wholistic development and to deepen their connection with God as they become purposeful and productive in all aspects of their lives.'
The programme constitutes in-class attendance, course materials, reflective learning and practical sessions.
Last year we ran Part 1 of the programme which entailed 4 Curriculum Training Sessions which included the following segments:
- Faith & Growing Godly Girls (part 1)
- Courage & Growing Godly Girls (part 2)
- Wisdom & Growing Godly Girls (part 3)
- Prayer & Fasting & Growing Godly Girls (part 4)
Following the successful completion of the Esther Institute of Excellence (EIE) curriculum training part 1, we ran part 2 of the curriculum at the Day Conference this July which included coaching and practical aspects as follows:
EIE Curriculum Segment Part 2:
- Life Seasons – Embracing change and challenges and growing through transition
- Inner Beauty – Growing Godly, Gracious & Gifted Girls
- Outer Beauty – Practical sessions: poise, speech, social etiquette, natural cosmetics, hair and skin care
- Bride-in-waiting – Practical /literal - preparing to be a bride (preparation for marriage and role as wife
- Bride-in-waiting – Spiritual application - preparing as the Bride of Christ for His soon return
We are currently compiling these segments of the EIE curriculum part 1 and 2 for inclusion in a programme manual which we hope to publish in the spring of 2020.
In due course we are also planning to repeat the training segments identified above.
Please pray for the continued success of this programme as we support parents in raising godly, courageous, productive and well-balanced girls and young ladies for "such a time as this."