Our Identity We are women who have heard God call us personally to live a life set apart for him and his kingdom. We live out our response to God’s call through a commitment to intentional singleness—living “single for the Lord”—alongside married couples, families, and single people, as active members of the Sword of the Spirit, an international, ecumenical, charismatic “community of communities.”
Currently, members of Bethany Association reside in local communities of the Sword of the Spirit located in Scotland, England, Ecuador, Northern Ireland, Mexico, the Philippines, and throughout the United States as well as “on mission” in Thailand.
Our Purpose Bethany Association exists as a means for its members to:
support one another in living our ideal of life and to encourage another in our love for God and in our desire to know and live for him as fully as possible
foster a visible identity throughout the Sword of the Spirit as women living single for the Lord and to support local communities in their care for women living this ideal
hold regional or international conferences and retreats to foster our spiritual growth and our relationships with one another
Our way of life includes dedicating ourselves to prayer and Christian service and mission outreaches as well as working in various professional fields.
Our History Thirteen women from Sword of the Spirit communities around the world first met together in 2005 in Lansing, Michigan, for a conference where we began to build relationships with one another. There we realized that we shared a common vision and a common desire to find a means to network and support one another in living out our call to live single for the Lord within the Sword of the Spirit.
At our second conference, held in Monterrey, Mexico, in 2007, we came to a decision to move toward forming an association for that purpose. In the two years after that, much effort went into writing and reviewing several drafts of a charter describing our statement of ideal in living single for the Lord and our rationale for forming an association.
In our October 2009 conference, seventeen sisters with a lifelong commitment as wellas several with a full commitment gave a final review of the charter—and wholeheartedly and unanimously accepted it.
Our Statement of Ideal Our lives are not our own: we belong to the Lord and desire to live not for ourselves but for him, offering our lives to him as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1).
We want to invest as much of our time, energy, and talents as possible in efforts that spread the gospel, strengthen our communities, and support the mission of the Sword of the Spirit.
We choose a way of life in which we give up marriage and bearing children—holy and valued things—as a freewill offering of love to God. We choose to take up a life of prayer, service, and simplicity. We choose all this in order to give ourselves to God as freely as possible. We want to live with undivided hearts and undivided devotion to the Lord (1 Corinthians 7:34‐35).
We give witness to the world today of the reality of God’s personal love for each of his people and the reality that God alone and his love are sufficient for us. We also give witness to the life to come, where there will be neither marrying nor giving in marriage (Matthew 22:30).
As sisters in Christ, we will share with one another and receive inspiration, strength, and encouragement, especially in seeking ways to approach any challenges in living this way of life.
Our Name Bethany is the village where Jesus' friends Martha, Mary, and Lazarus lived. There at a dinner party, Mary “wasted” her precious ointment anointing the Lord (Mark 14:3-9; John 12:1-8); and we “pour ourselves out” on the Lord in living single for him.
In Bethany, Martha offered Jesus welcome, rest, hospitality, and refreshment and served him and his disciples and Mary sat at the Lord’s feet listening to his word (Luke 10:38-39), as we too do.
When Jesus came to Bethany after the death of his friend Lazarus, Martha professed her faith in him, saying,“Yes, Lord, I believe you are the Christ, the Son of God, he who is coming into the world” (John 11:27). And when Mary heard “The Master is here, and is calling for you” (John 11:28), she immediately responded to him.
In Bethany, we find models for our own faith in the Lord and dedication, service, and attentiveness to him.
Our Logo The Bethany logo is a minimalistic abstraction of Mary at Jesus’ feet while also portraying the lowercase letters b and a all in a perfume bottle representing the fragrant offering of our lives.
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