From Pennsylvania to New York to Florida, women drew close to God and their sisters in Christ at the first annual African-American Women’s Leadership Conference at Lake Junaluska in 2010. Together, they worshipped and shared their experiences as Christians, women, and African-Americans.
“The praise and worship leaders were anointed and led us into the presence of God!” exclaimed Rev. Emma Smith of the western Pennsylvania annual conference. “It was the most awesome thing I’ve attended because there was a time of Pentecost and there was a sisterhood. Each of us was able to take away what we as individuals, pastors, lay leaders, or as Christians, needed at that time.”
The Rev. Telley Lynette Gadson, Dr. Chanequa Walker-Barnes, Dr. Lydia Waters Hamilton, The Rev. Dr. Alfreda Lynette Wiggins, The Rev. Dr. Sherry Daniels, and Mrs. Jennifer Davis led the discussion and worship.
“I think that everyone who had a part in making sure that the entire event was a success worked extremely hard in doing so,” explained Pamela Moye of Saint Matthews UMC in Greensboro, NC. “It was wonderful. I would love to make sure events like this happen on a continual basis because they open dialogue, not just in the African-American church, but also in ethnic groups and white churches.”
During the conference, leaders and participants shared their experiences dealing with issues that are often difficult to address, including how to work together as women and Christians to establish solid relationships, how to address suicide, how to use technology to network with media and communication outlets, and the necessity of proper self-care.
“I would encourage every African-American woman to attend and come with an open heart, mind, and spirit and see what God will say to them at that time,” continued Rev. Smith. “That’s the way I’m coming. To be in the presence of something that was so awesome and to be affected by it – I want the Pentecost feeling again. In my mind, we should be attuned that whatever we’re hearing, God is speaking to us all individually and we should receive it.”
Spirit-filled worship, intimate connection with other participants, and thought-provoking topics created a bond between those who communed at the conference.
“We saw the Scripture of old,” concluded Ms. Moye. “Hands were being laid on individuals. People were being prayed for. When you see something like that there is a hunger and thirst for the Holy Spirit to be manifested in your midst.”
The 2011 African-American Women’s Leadership Conference, The Strong Black Woman, is September 15-17, 2011. Visit www.lakejunaluska.com/african-american-women for more information.