Earlier this month, the Territorial Women’s Department assembled a diverse team of women from across the territory to plan the general session meetings for the We Will conference, to be held in Orlando in September.
Meeting in the women’s department board room at THQ on January 11 and 12, many of the women had come into town for the ReEffect conference and remained for a few extra days while others were local to Atlanta. For two days, they collaborated around a communal table, sharing food, prayer and ideas that will shape the first women’s leadership conference this territory has ever seen.
“We are standing on the shoulders of the women officers who have gone before us,” Lt. Heather Dolby said.
That sentiment was echoed by other collaborators who referenced the early days of bold female leaders in The Salvation Army in discussing how this conference should unfold and its ultimate goals.
“Their ceiling should be our floor, we should be pushing forward,” Hillary DeJarnett said.
Each meeting was represented by a long sheet of paper taped to the wall where the planners wrote the names of songs, bible verses and worship notes that they thought would correspond with that day’s theme.This territorial event aims to provide women the opportunity to engage in worship, conversation and fellowship. Empowerment, not entertainment, is its purpose.
Interested delegates will have to apply for admission and, if accepted, pay to attend. The hope is that those who do come will be fully invested and engaged in the sessions and will return to their corps and communities with a sense of empowerment.
“This conference moves us to a place of recovering our legacy,” Diffley said. “Catherine Booth didn’t wait to be empowered, she didn’t wait for permission.”
Many in the room expressed concern for the aftermath of the event, when women return to their communities to build on what they have learned.
“I don’t want to create a new program that becomes a burden,” Captain Maureen Diffley said. “We want to focus on leadership and recognize that women are capable of doing things. We’ll see where it takes us as an army.”
The application submittal period opens in March. For further updates, check back here and visit SA Women’s Ministries on Facebook.