Your Invitation to RISE UP, SISTER 2017



This is our invitation to Rise, my sister. Your invitation and mine. 

If you’d ask me what I am passionate about, I’d probably say this: seeing a person transformed by the power of LOVE, finding her voice, standing in her story, becoming strong and then pouring out her life in service of making this world more beautiful, right and just. I guess it’s how my own story has evolved. It’s been an adventure with Jesus and many days it’s hard, but also, o, so good. I love seeing people wake up and rise up and joining God in the work God is already doing on our earth.

I’m so grateful I no longer have to live a small life. Sometimes I stretch out my arms and feel freedom pulse through me. I wasn’t always able to do that. I used to feel so small. My tongue used to be tied. My legs felt heavy. My heart was so broken. I was so scattered to the wind.

Then a circle of women who walked in freedom invited me in. I met Jesus in a fresh way. I met a Jesus who loved and empowered women. I met a Jesus who loved and nurtured freedom in me.

My freedom has come through books, but also through tearful prayers in the quiet. It has come in private, at the feet of Jesus. My freedom has also come in community and in conversation around tables with friends.

In 2010, I intentionally began to place myself in a community of people with Amahoro Africa. (Amahoro is a greeting in Burundi meaning “Peace.”) At Amahoro, I began to witness a way of doing life and gathering in conversation that felt real, connected and right.

At Amahoro, we gathered for five days. We gathered to worship together, eat together, learn together and even dance together. We gathered in conversation and we gathered in friendship. Our conversations did not shy away from the hard issues.

These Amahoro gatherings helped shape the woman I am today. I treasure the friendships forged over the many days on the edges of Lake Tanganyika in Burundi and the shores of the Indian Ocean in Mombasa, Kenya. Now, seven years later, many of these friends have sat in my living room and I have sat in theirs. Our friendship is rooted in our shared faith. We have built trust, by laughing together, crying together and being honest with each other in some of the hardest conversations around race and justice. Freedom now has skin on.

I have longed to bring a similar conversation to our SheLoves community. I have longed to share conversation, Amahoro-style, over a few days, over meals and in communion. I have longed to tackle some hard conversations together.

Kelley Nikondeha and I have been dreaming about this for several years. Kelley was one of the founders of Amahoro Africa and is now one of my soul sisters. I will never forget the day in May 2010 when we sat on the floor in the back of the room after a session at Amahoro. The lights were fluorescent, but the conversation was warm and strong and honest. We found each other there and my life has not been the same.

We’ve become Dangerous Women together.

About two years ago, I asked Shaley Hoogendoorn if she would come alongside SheLoves and help us launch some local events. Together with Rose Woller and Courtney DeBoer, Chervelle Richards and Holly Bovet, we created Dare to Be Dangerous, then Paused & Present and even a pop-up conversation! We’re hosting another Paused & Present gathering in November, but where my legs are shaking and my knees are weak, is that we have put our hand up for a weekend-long gathering. This feels BIG. There are details and dollars, bedding and communion to consider.

When the idea didn’t go away, Rose Woller finally became determined to put a date on the calendar. We put a deposit down and committed to make this gathering happen.

But who did we want to learn from and learn with?

I kept thinking about Lynne Hybels. But it seemed so … audacious. Then, one day I just knew this was my Rise Up, Sister moment too. If we are asking our women to rise up, I have to be willing to do the same.

I emailed Lynne and in the subject line I wrote: “Audacious Ask.” I told her about our heart and our intention to host a conversation. I told her how we longed to mobilize and empower our women to be Dangerous Women.

And she said, YES.  It was one of those days in which you could hear the hallelujahs all the way from Vancouver to Chicago.

My heart also longed for an indigenous sister to join us and lead us in conversation. I got to meet Kallie Wood through Gather Women and it felt like God united our hearts almost immediately. Over a late night bowl of pasta in downtown Toronto, I mentioned our dream to her and she said, Call me. So I did and now Kallie, too, will join us.

My dear SheLovelys, next year, on the weekend of Feb 23-26, we will be hosting our first ever SheLoves weekend-long conversation called Rise Up, Sister. Lynne Hybels will be joining us. Kallie Wood will be joining us. Kelley Nikondeha is coming. Sarah Bessey will be there. Tina Francis will be there. Many of our SheLoves editors will be there.

We are limiting the registration to around 120 women, because we want it to be a conversation.

We want women who are ready to Rise Up. Women who are hungry for conversation. Women who are hungry for Jesus and justice and living juicy. Women who are hungry to make our world beautiful and talk about justice and peacemaking and not shy away from the hard stories. If your heart is pounding, you need no other qualification. If your heart is ready, come, join us.

Our registration is now open.

Come, Rise Up with us. 

We are not called to be wallflowers or silent observers.
We are called to Rise.
We are called to Dance towards Redemption.
We are called to Sing Liberation Songs.
We are called to Speak Hope and live out of LOVE.

We are not meant to be bystanders in the redemptive work of God. We have a biblical imperative to participate in God’s liberation movement in our communities, our churches, our families and our world. How do we get off the sidelines and into God’s jubilee campaign? How do we join God’s liberation march?

It’s time to Rise Up, Sisters. 





 Top Image by Tina Francis.


Idelette McVicker
I like soggy cereal and I would like to go to every spot on the map of the earth to meet our world’s women. I dream of a world where no women or girls are for sale. I dream of a world where women and men are partners in doing the work that brings down a new Heaven on earth. My word last year was “roar” and I learned it’s not about my voice rising as much as it is about our collective voices rising in unison to bring down walls of injustice. This year, my own word is “soar.” I have three children and this place–right here, called–is my fourth baby. I am African, although my skin colour doesn’t tell you that story. I am also a little bit Chinese, because my heart lives there amongst the tall skyscrapers of Taipei and the mountains of Chiufen. Give me sweet chai and I think I’m in heaven. I live in Vancouver, Canada and I pledged my heart to Scott 11 years ago. I believe in kindness and calling out the song in each other’s hearts. I also believe that Love covers–my gaps, my mistakes and the distances between us. I blog at and tweet @idelette.
Idelette McVicker

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Idelette McVicker
  • Nichole Bilcowski Forbes

    Yes! Yes! Yes!

    Yes … this is The Next Thing! Thank you for being bold enough to be obedient to the vision God has for you and for this sisterhood!

    • Thank youuuuuuuuuuuu! I so hope you can come. xo

  • What was done for you — the invitation to walk in freedom, to find your voice — you have done for so many.

    Praying for huge blessing upon the rising, dancing, singing, and speaking!

    • O, Michele–thank you! I so wish you could be there with us.

  • Helene Burns

    So proud of you for pressing forward and making this happen – it will be amazing. I am also heartbroken that I can’t join you because I will be in Berlin, but the great thing is that I will gather with a gorgeous sisterhood there too. xo

    • I am heartbroken too. I will get better at getting the dates to you sooner! I am so grateful for you and how you lead the way. Love you. xo

  • Roos Woller

    Thank you for the invitation to join this journey and movement and the challenge for all of us to rise individually. I feel this is holy ground and am so excited to be there and meet more sisters.

    • It wouldn’t have happened without you, my friend.

  • Colleen Reid

    The weeping is caught in my throat. I have been praying for this. I live far north but I will do everything I can to be there and if I can’t I will pray for you all.

    • O, Colleen … ! I so hope you can join us. May the waters part and Way open. Thank you for your prayers.

      • Colleen Reid

        Sadly, it won’t work. The total cost of flight and conference is prohibitive. But as I said, I will be praying for this leading up to and through the weekend. We can rise up and then turn around and help others to their feet!

    • Aw Colleen. *big hugs* I pray it works out.

  • Megan Gahan

    Wow! This is such an amazing and HUGE step forward for SheLoves. What an honour to be a part of the journey. Looking forward to all that next year brings <3

  • This sounds so beautiful!

  • I can’t wait!!!

  • I’m going to be in a perpetual state of hyperventilation once January is upon us. But until then…YAYYYYYY!!!!

    So many of my favourite people in one place.

    Ezzy has had a fever last few days. So I’m drowning in all the details of that at the moment.

    More coherent thoughts later… (I hope.)


  • Leah Kostamo

    This is very exciting!!

  • Casie

    I am trying to make arrangements to attend. Do I need to worry about it selling out in the next couple weeks?

    • Hi Casie

      Are you still planning on coming? There’s room if this is something you are sensing the nudge about. Would love to see you!

  • Byrdie Funk

    Thrilled to see this is happening. It’s $400.00 CAD…that’s a lot of money for us. Is spending nights at the camp a requirment? I have a place to stay nearby which would make it more doable.

    • Hi Byrdie

      Unfortunately we have to still cover the cost for your bed, even if you are sleeping somewhere else … Eeeeeeeeeeeeek. I know. We did our best to find a place that could provide accommodation and all meals, so we can simply be together. Part of the intention is to create the atmosphere of togetherness. Eating together, learning together, staying in the same place.

      • Byrdie Funk

        Hmmm, okay. It feels important and so we’ll try and make it happen 🙂

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  • Jennifer Falk

    Why is the cost in US dollars when it’s in Canada?

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