Sunday, November 3, 2013

Women of Faith


This weekend I had the opportunity to once again attend a Women of Faith (WOF) conference. For those of you not familiar with Women of Faith, it is an organization that runs events all over the North America. They are a Christian-based group based in Plano, Texas. They produce several types of inspiration events with a mission to connect or reconnect Christian women with their faith. The arena events are scheduled throughout the year and every year, there is a different theme. The theme for this year's conference was "Believe God Can Do Anything"." Last year was the first year I attended the conference and to be honest, I am not sure how I originally heard of it. But I had the opportunity this year to go again with my aunt/friend, Jean, and once again, I was not disappointed.


Like last year, I was also not feeling well once the first weekend of November came around. Last year, I was struggling with sudden abdominal pain and some vomiting. I ended up in the hospital about two weeks after the conference with what ended up being some complications from Sjögren's syndrome. This year, my issues were much less significant, as I had just come down with a nasty cold. I was very much looking forward to going to the conference and spending time with Jean, so I loaded up on Dayquil and Motrin, and off we went to Hartford, CT.
 

View from the 18th floor of the Hartford, CT Hilton at dusk
 

 
We stayed at a different hotel this year. I live about an hour from Hartford, but the evening conference on Friday is 7-10pm and resumes on Saturday from 9am-5pm. It's worth booking a hotel room. This year we stayed at the Hilton in Hartford, which is directly across the street from the XL Center; where the conference was being held. Talk about convenience! It was also helpful that the hotel had a restaurant which gave us a good option to the junk food offered at the arena and the gluten-ladened box lunches that were provided for a fee at the conference. The restaurant even made me some gluten-free pancakes. Kudos Hartford Hilton!


So you are probably wondering what these Women of Faith conferences involve. Basically, it is a day and a half of praise and worship music, relatable comedy, Bible-based messages and testimonials, a variety of inspirational speakers, Bible study and powerful art presentations. There is a variety every year and who the conference speakers are depends on the location of the event.


WOF stage in Hartford
 


The Women of Faith events are Bible based. Their statement of faith is as follows:

We believe …

  • The Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, inerrant Word of God.
  • There is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
  • He has revealed Himself in creation, history and Jesus Christ.
  • God’s creation of the world and humankind with humanity’s rebellion and subsequent depravity.
  • In the person and work of Jesus Christ, including His deity, His virgin birth, His sinless life, His true humanity, His miracles, His substitutionary death, His bodily resurrection, His ascension to heaven, and His personal return in power and glory.
  • That for salvation of the lost, sinful man, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential.
  • Salvation is by grace through faith in Christ as one’s Savior.
  • In the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life and to grow in the knowledge of God and Christian obedience.
  • In the resurrection of both the saved and the lost—the saved unto the resurrection of life and the lost unto the resurrection of damnation.
  • In the spiritual unity of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ and in the importance of church for worship, service and missions.

Just to give you some background, I attend church at a liberal UCC church and my aunt attends a Catholic church. My experience has been that when you refer to someone as a Christian, that people think we are all the same. I am here to tell you that we are not. This concerned me when I attended my first WOF event last year. If you look at the statement of faith above, to me, it represents more of a born-again Christian/evangelical Christian philosophy. I say this because even though I believe in most of what is stated above, I am not sure I believe in the whole damnation thing. Actually, I am certain that I do not. I also have some other beliefs and issues with the above that are too complex to get into now. I know a lot of people disagree with me and I am good with that. For me, my faith and religion is an ongoing process; one that often confuses me much more than I would like. But that is a possible topic for another day.


My point in bringing all this up is because I think that many people who are NOT born-again, think that this event is not for them. Trust me, it is. If you believe in Jesus Christ and the Bible, you will find a place here. You will find some type of inspiration.


The event that I attended had a variety of speakers including Lisa Harper, Liz Curtis Higgs, Sheila Walsh, Angie Smith, and Pastor Stovall Weems. These are absolutely amazing speakers; dynamic and inspiring. The topics discussed included experiences with the death of a child, mental illness, adoption, and being a "bad girl". I liked how each speaker wove their story into something relevant in the Bible. Pastor Weems gave a wonderful Bible study lecture and I have to say that over the course of the weekend, I learned a lot more about the Bible. Once again, Mark Lowry was there. I love this guy. He is a singer and comedian best known for writing the lyrics to the infamous Christmas song "Mary, Did You Know?" Anyone who knows me well knows how much I adore this song and it is a special part of my history with my husband. The guy is also hysterically funny. I don't know anyone who can get away with picking on all the different Christian denominations without being offensive.

Third Day doing their thing
 

The music included performances by the amazingly talented Cece Winans and one of my all time favorites, Third Day. Oh, how I love Third Day! I am a big fan of Contemporary Christian music and it is rare for us to get any of these Christian music groups to perform in New England; so that was a great experience. We got to see a performance by Destiny Africa, who are currently touring New England. These kids were amazing! There was also a praise and worship team that performed through the day and a half event. I was in awe of the singing talent presented throughout the event.


Besides the amazing music and speakers, there is so much more to the experience of a WOF event. Being in a packed arena of just women, Christian women at that, is an experience in itself. They even close down the men's room so we have more bathrooms! OK, seriously, there is much more to it than that. There was fellowship, community, and celebration of the strength of women. It was an arena filled with goodness and love, where you are accepted no matter who you are, how much money you make, or what mistakes you have made in the past. There are not too many places you can go to nowadays where that is the case.


Like last year, I left the conference discovering a thing or two about myself and my faith that I did not recognize before. This is always a good thing. I had been struggling with some of the not-so-great things going on in the world around me lately, as well as some of my personal relationships. This conference gave me a chance to step back, re-shift my focus towards God for a substantial period of time, and come back home a more peaceful person. I would say that is a pretty good weekend, Dayquil and all...


Jean and I on the floor by the stage. These were NOT our seats, but the ones we had were pretty good!
 




Disclaimer: I apologize for the lousy photos. I learned that I have become too dependent on my photographer husband and I forgot to bring  areal camera. these were taken with my iPhone; which died during the Third Day concert.

2 comments:

  1. Christine, I'm so happy you were able to attend the conference. I always come away from any kind, whether it's a spiritual or writing convention, with things I learned about myself that I didn't already know....or had forgotten. I admire you in many ways!

    ReplyDelete