2,300 attend Women of Faith conference at Trinity Assembly of God Church Lutherville gathering is group's ninth this year

September 15, 1996|By Brenda J. Buote | Brenda J. Buote,SUN STAFF

Seeking spiritual guidance and inspiration, hundreds of women flocked this weekend to Trinity Assembly of God Church in Lutherville to hear messages of faith and hope.

"I came to listen and to learn," Beverly Schroeder of Falls Church, Va., said of the two-day Women of Faith Conference. "The speakers have been inspirational. I've learned that no matter what setbacks you have in life, you can overcome them with God's help."

When they filled the church, the 2,300 women who attended the conference yesterday became part of the continuing story of a new Christian women's movement.

The Women of Faith tour was organized about a year ago by Stephen Arterburn, chairman and co-founder of the Minirth Meier New Life Clinics, a national Christian counseling group.

"Stephen saw the impact that men's ministries have had on men, their families, churches and communities," said Pamela McCann, executive director of Women of Faith. "He wanted to provide something similar for women."

Women of Faith encourages women to celebrate life and embrace God's love, McCann added. Its conferences are similar to those organized by Promise Keepers, the men's Christian group that encourages members to mentor by providing testimonials.

Women of Faith, however, prefers mentoring from guest speakers. Four speakers discussed how they maintained positive attitudes during trying times.

The Lutherville conference was the ninth organized by the Minirth Meier New Life Clinics this year. More than 35,000 women attended the previous meetings. The tour has become so popular that it has been expanded to include 13 cities next year.

"When we first started to organize these events, we had no idea how many Christian women had been searching for something just for them," McCann said. "We've been overwhelmed by the response."

Hundreds of women were turned away from the church because the conference was sold out, McCann said. Tickets were $45 per person if purchased in advance and $55 per person if purchased at the door.

Women of all ages and ethnic backgrounds assembled at the church. Many said they enjoyed the relaxed kinship of the gathering.

"It's not often that women come together like this," said Deborah Hardy, 41, of Linthicum. "Seeing women banding together like this has made me realize how much we can accomplish if we support one another."

The next conference will be in Boston on Oct. 25 and 26. Tickets may be purchased by calling (888) 966-3620.

Pub Date: 9/15/96

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