Sunday, October 26, 2008

Women's Conferences

Lately I've had occasion to ponder the phenomenon known as "a women's conference." When I think of a conference, I think of a meeting, longer than a few hours where a crowd of somewhat like-minded people listen to the wisdom of knowledgeable or at least entertaining speakers on subjects of interest. Those who are uninterested in these subjects tend to avoid these conferences unless of course said conference is work-related, in which case attendees get interested.

Women's conference, specifically women's church conferences, are in a sub-category. These conferences are attended by women and possibly a small handful of men. The men who show up usually work the soundboard, sing on the worship team, watch the doors or maybe even speak. At one women's conference I attended, the lone man at the conference was called on to deal with the bat quietly hanging from a book rack on the back of a pew. The whole morning would have turned out quite differently, if the book rack hadn't been in front of a row of women. As mentioned the bat was quiet, but the women weren't. In fact within seconds, women all around screamed and drew feet up onto the benches as the rumour of a rat in the building spread like brush fire. I don't remember what the speaker was talking about. As I recall she lost her train of thought, which really didn't matter because she had already lost her audience.

Rats and bats aside, I very much enjoy our church's semi-annual The Olive Connection National Women's Conference. The speakers are solid. The food is excellent. The fellowship is good. The presence of the Lord is awesome.

A few years ago I volunteered to be a representative for our church. That means I hand out registration pamphlets to anyone I think might be interested. There is a conference coming up on Saturday November 15th from 9:00 to 5:30 to be held at New Life Pentecostal Assembly at 85 Clench Avenue, in Brantford. The theme is "The Kingdom of God" as in "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God..." Matthew 6:33 which happens to be the wedding verse my husband and I picked when we married 37 years ago. This is the verse I have embroidered and framed to hang above our headboard in the bedroom. I'm looking forward to this conference.

As I hand out pamphlets inviting various women to come, I am rather taken aback by some of the reactions I am receiving. It's almost as if while I had my eyes closed, a campaign against women's conferences took place; almost like a sleeping bat became a rat and sent everyone screaming in another direction.

A good friend of mine confided that she went to a women's conference once long ago and vowed never again, "It was BORING!"

Another well-off friend surmised, "It's time to do a moratorium on spending." "Yes, that's a good idea!" agreed another. I could see it wasn't even worth mentioning that as conferences go, this one is a deal, $45 if you sign up before November first.

The next women I approached readily took the opportunity to draw my attention to the fact that God was not male. Further, she totally disapproved of the division of the sexes for purposes of conferences and let it be known that she much preferred the company of males.

Several women had conflicts of interest, some had legitimate financial restrictions and some women like me are very much looking forward to the event.

If you want to come, contact the registrar, Sharon Maxwell, at (905)659-0554. It's a great deal: $45 before November 1st and $55 if you register between the 1st and November 7th. Speakers for the day are: Rosetta Cummings and Rev. Heidi Dockalek. You'll be coming into the presence of God with hundreds of somewhat like-minded women. See you there...unless you have financial restrictions, conflicts of interests, etcetera.

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