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New women’s ministry rises up in mountains of Glorieta

GLORIETA, N.M. (BP)–Whimsical stick figures of women caught in emotional postures are one of several ways that demonstrate Arise Ministries is not your typical women’s ministry.

A variety of visual aids — such as a pot and spoon, red robe and crown, bow and arrow — helped drive home points made during Arise Ministries’ “I want to meet with you” women’s conference July 22-24 at LifeWay Glorieta Conference Center.

For many of the more than 80 women from the southwestern United States who attended the first-ever Arise Ministries regional women’s summit, the event brought the concept of a women’s conference to a higher level by offering practical application through a revealing look at the Scriptures.

“It wasn’t just ‘You need to do this,’” said one of 11 women from Scottsdale Baptist Church in El Paso, Texas.

“It was ‘Here’s how you hear God’s voice,’” said another, as others chimed in about what had resonated with them: “Here’s how you deal with the hurts in your life. Here’s how you reflect God’s glory.”

Arise Ministries, based in Edmond, Okla., was co-founded three years ago by Pam Kanaly and Shelley Pulliam. After Kanaly filled in at a Glorieta singles conference, the fledgling women’s ministry was “discovered” and brought to a national audience by Ron Pratt, events coordinator for LifeWay Christian Resources’ two conference centers in Glorieta, N.M., and Ridgecrest, N.C.

Through lessons learned personally, Kanaly and Pulliam spoke about the need for encounters with God, about self-esteem issues, and about the fact that what God wants is a thriving relationship with each of His children — a relationship so intense that humans reflect His glory. The messages resonated with an audience that included young adults and retirees.

“I got really touched through the whole thing,” said Britni Jones, 19, of Bacon Heights Baptist Church in Lubbock, Texas. “My relationship with Him had strayed and now I’m back on track.” Jones had been invited to the conference by her older sister, Traci Romines of Colonial Baptist Church in Plainview, Texas, who said she had known Jones needed a fresh touch from God.

Melinda Carlson, a worship leader at Trinity Church in Vail, Colo., said she came to the conference because the flyer she received about it made her think she would be refreshed and encouraged, and she said she has been. The big thing she got out of the conference, she said, was that “I just need to know His word for me, and not just to lead it, but let my ministry be an outpouring of my personal worship.”

“I didn’t realize it until this weekend, but I really have been in a cage much of my life,” said Joy Studdard of First Baptist Church in Santa Fe, N.M. “I’ve lived with a lot of rejection, and that’s been hard. Those arrows that Satan shoots at you? This weekend I took one of them and threw it back.”

Supported by the worship ministry of Abide, a newly formed duo that has its roots in the now-retired contemporary Christian group Sierra, the Glorieta regional women’s summit was based on Exodus 34.

Just as Moses returned from his second trek up the mountain transformed, Kanaly said from the opening session of the conference that participants, too, would be changed by their mountaintop experience with God.

“We’re going to walk up the mountain to meet the King of glory and we’re going to come down the mountain reflecting His glory,” Kanaly said. “You will leave here touched and changed by the Holy God of Israel.”

The setting for the conference could not have been better, Kanaly said.

“Glorieta is a place where God has met with His people for 50 years,” she said. “It’s holy ground. I knew God would meet with women here and speak to their issues, and there is nothing more significant for a woman than to hear God’s voice. To hear God’s voice will draw you to Him.”