A fellowship of women

I’m just home from attending the Missouri District UPC Women’s Seminar.  This annual event is a highlight on the calendar for many of the women in attendance (over 1100).  It’s a great opportunity to see friends from across the state, share pictures of new grandbabies, catch up on the news of college-age children as well as hear interesting speakers.  Hearts are encouraged, people are healed, some lives are forever changed, hugs are exchanged and tears shed at the Seminar. 

One particularly touching moment happened during the awards ceremony which honors churches that have raised significant amounts of money for the Women’s Ministry’s projects during the previous year.  The lowest level for recognition is $500.  One church didn’t quite make that goal and asked if they could work some more and be a little late with their contribution because they wanted it to be given in memory and honor of their pastor’s wife who passed away that year.  Of course, they were granted their wish and they did it — they raised $540.  I don’t think there was a dry eye in the place when that story was shared.

This year Donna Linville from Virginia and JoAnne Sjostrand from Ohio were the speakers.  You couldn’t ask for better ones.  Donna is very humorous and had us laughing so hard we “wheezed” as she describes it.  She can make very serious points as well but usually chooses to do it with humor.  JoAnne Sjostrand (Dr. Sjostrand, in fact) is more serious.  She’s a phenonenal pianist and singer and preceeded her sermon with some great music.  There was no way I wanted to miss the Seminar when I learned they were the speakers. 

Another facet of the Seminar is the opportunity to buy CDs, books, study materials in one area and then all kinds of goodies at the tables various churches have with items for sale.  I do miss the group from Vichey, MO, that used to bring a wealth of hats to the Seminar.  I’ve bought more than one hat at their table.  Someone in their church worked at a hat factory and was able to get hats in almost every size, style and color you could desire.  Alas, the hat factory closed and that church lost one of their best fundraisers.  Lots of hugs were exchanged as people headed back home today after three days of fellowship and fun.

I got to thinking about what it is about a group of women that makes their fellowship special.  A group of knitters functions in much the same way as the women at the Seminar.  I’ve decided it must be that each group has a common interest and shared goals.  Those things give a cohesiveness to the group.  I hope you have at least one such group in your life.


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