IT MIGHT be hard to top last year’s excellent roll-up of 250 to hear Azaria’s mother, Lindy Chamberlain Creighton, speak at the inaugural Shine Women’s Conference – but organiser Bron Bonnell is quietly confident this year’s will be good too.
Mrs Bonnell, Northwest Church senior pastor and the conference host, said this year’s guest speaker – April Miller of Sydney – should be able to draw a good crowd.
“Yeah, absolutely. We don’t have a big drawcard speaker – we have a great speaker but she’s not as well known as Lindy,” Mrs Bonnell said.
“April is a very experienced speaker and she speaks a lot from her experience of losing a child.”
The two-day conference kicks off tomorrow at 7pm (doors open at 6pm) with what Mrs Bonnell describes as “a bit of a creative opener” with a musical item and a video to be shown.
“Then we go into a few songs,” she said.
The conference is an inter-denominational Christian women’s event, although there were many women present last year who did not identify themselves with any faith, Mrs Bonnell said.
“The motivation behind the event is to help women to live their lives out of a sense of purpose – that despite their current circumstances, past hurts or fears about the future, we can all live with an awareness of the fact we are valuable and can make a positive difference in our world,” she said.
“Last year we had people who had never been to church or hadn’t been to church for years and they all absolutely loved it – people felt welcome, spoiled and loved.”
She said this year’s registrations of women from places such as Narrabri and Dubbo, rather than predominantly from much closer towns such as Walcha and Armidale like the year before, showed the word had spread that it was a good event – and women were willing to travel to attend.
“Women in the bush are craving this sort of thing,” Mrs Bonnell said.
“There’s really nothing like it in the regional areas.”
Day two of the conference, Saturday, starts at 9am and will feature two sessions and a high tea with entertainment.
“April’s speaking in both sessions on the Saturday,” Mrs Bonnell said.
An artwork created during one of the Saturday sessions will be donated to the maternity ward at Tamworth hospital.
The two-day conference is being held at Tamworth Memorial Town Hall.