When you come, bring the cloak that I left . . . and my scrolls, especially the parchments.2 Timothy 4:13
The Tradition of the Cloak
One of the Come before Winter traditions involves leaving behind a cloak when the team departs. As Paul left his outer garment in Troas (2 Timothy 4), so an ambassador on each Come before Winter team leaves a symbolic cloak in the possession of one of her peers who has attended the renewal. The woman who is selected accepts the responsibility to “bring the cloak” to the next event. Originally left in Brazil in the possession of Robin Dutton, minister to Campinas, the cloak continues its travels around the world.
During each of its stops, the cloak gains pieces of local flavor and the flag of the country where each renewal is held. One of the most enjoyable moments at each renewal occurs when the Ambassador unveils the cloak, complete with its latest additions. Watching the cloak evolve and seeing the eagerness with which these ambassadors embrace this tradition blesses the team and testifies about the rich fellowship and unity that exists among women who serve Christ.
The Cloak through the Years
The Cloak through the Years
The Tradition of the Scroll
Just as the women leave behind a cloak at every renewal that is carried by the Ambassador to the next event, the men have adopted a tradition of carrying a scroll from one renewal to the next. Also inspired by the words of Paul in his letter to Timothy (2 Timothy 4), the men’s scroll contains the gospel of Luke printed in its entirety in many different languages. At each renewal, participants locate and read from the section written in their heart languages–one reader for every language represented.
At the end of the renewal, the scroll is presented to the newly selected Ambassador, who is commissioned to carry it to the next renewal. He also signs the scroll and adds to its bag an emblem representing the renewal in which he was selected. The Ambassador serves as a connection point from one group of participants to the next, drawing together all participants around the world.
The scroll is wrapped around two wooden rollers. On one end of the rollers are globes to represent the international aspect of Come before Winter. The other end has carved elephant heads, which represent Thailand, the site of the first men’s renewal in 2016.
I wasn't sure what to expect at Come before Winter. It was self-described as a renewal and it was just that. For me, it was better than a retreat or conference, because a spiritual renewal was just what I needed. I so appreciate the opportunity to walk alongside other women in all seasons of life and ministry, from all over the region, and serving in various contexts. Despite all our variations, we came together in unity focusing on our commonality in Christ. What a blessing and rich experience CbW was to me. I am grateful for the staff who came prepared and competent, and poured into us all week. And I'm very thankful to all the donors who make this possible for women like me to attend.