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“Women Seeking God: CREATE” to take place Oct. 27-28 in Worthington

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Tera Elness is the featured speaker at the "Women Seeking God: CREATE" conference scheduled for later this month. (Special to The Globe)2 / 2

WORTHINGTON — A conference for women desiring growth in their faith in God will take place in Worthington later this month.

“Women Seeking God: CREATE” is scheduled for 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Oct. 27 and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 28 at Lakeside Church. The conference is being coordinated by Gretchen O’Donnell and Sue Johnson, both of Worthington.

“This event is for all women from all churches,” O’Donnell explained. “It is our prayer that this will not only be a time to come together and grow in our faith, but also come together as women from southwest minnesota to get to know one another as we get to know God more.”

A promotional flier for the first-ever conference adds: “Women will gather together and be inspired, stirred, motivated and moved as they discover their true identity and divine purpose in the God who created them and continues to create through them.”

Tera Elness of Windom will be the featured speaker for the event. Elness will led a Friday evening session, as well as two Saturday session, while exploring the “CREATE” theme. Interspersed will be praise and worship led by Worthington resident Amanda DeYounge, and there will also be time during which women create a take-home item.

Elness became part of the “Women Seeking God” event thanks to her connection with Johnson, who like her is from Windom.

“I’ve known her for years and have been to some of her Bible studies,” Johnson said. “She also coordinated a couple of them with some younger girls here in town.”

O’Donnell’s oldest daughter, Katie, had also participated in 23-hour lock-in events with Elness at Worthington’s American Lutheran Church.

“After one of those events I turned to Sue and said, ‘Can we have her to do this for grown-ups,’” O’Donnell said.

After securing the participation of Elness, Johnson and O’Donnell began recruiting other women to be involved in a planning committee. The group secured representation from Christian Reformed, American Lutheran, First Covenant and Lakeside churches, and O’Donnell added that other community congregations are contributing in multiple ways. She’s pleased to see Worthington’s many denominations teaming up.

“On the island (Orcas Island), Wash.) where I grew up, there was the Catholic church and the Protestant church, and  I didn’t even know what a denomination was until sometime in high school,” O’Donnell remembered. “I love churches working together on ecunemical things like this. It’s new for our area.”

O’Donnell said the goals for this month’s conference are threefold: that women get to know other women better, get to know God better and become encourage to create good in a world of ugliness.

“As I woke up to the news about Las Vegas … after my initial shock, the first thought that crossed my mind was this: This is exactly what this conference is about — creating good in a world full of hate, creating good in world that is angry, creating good to counteract the bad,” she said.

It’s anticipated that Elness will help attendees achieve the conference’s three goals. As stated on her website, she is “a wife, mama, coffee addict, Bible study leader and speaker. Much like her friends the Israelites, Tera wandered for nearly 40 years in search of life-giving refreshment. Upon discovering the oasis of grace, her thirst was filled and dry spirit quenched as she set out on her own personal journey of walking in faith and living her story. Tera strives to share God’s perfect grace with His imperfect girls through speaking events, Bible studies, prayer groups, conferences, retreats and, more often, simply over a great cup of joe.”

The conference includes a dessert bar Friday evening, a continental breakfast Saturday morning and a Saturday lunch provided by Phileo’s. Giveaways are also being provided by various local businesses.

“I’m thankful to Lakeside for graciously hosting and helping in so many ways," O’Donnell said. “No matter where you are on your faith journey, this conference is for you. We are hoping that all local churches will be represented in the attendees. Women with no church affiliation are certainly also warmly invited. If you are a woman seeking God, you qualify."

“We’re hoping it’s not going to be one-time thing,” Johnson added. “We want this to get to a point where people are kind of looking forward to it. I know Tera has a huge following on her women’s Bible studies, and she also works with tweens and other girls.  … Everytime I go listen to her, I just get inspired . It fuels your faith, and I’m hoping this brings our faith community together.”

To register, phone Love INC at 727-7290 or inquire at a local church. Registration may be done by Oct. 16 for a lower cost, but will also be available at the door.

More event details may also be found by liking the “Women Seeking God: CREATE” page on Facebook.

Ryan McGaughey

I first joined the Daily Globe in April 2001 as sports editor. I later became the news editor in November 2002, and the managing editor in August 2006. I'm originally from New York State, and am married with two children.

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