Sometimes someone has a good idea.
They find some friends to help put it into practice and then thinks that is the end of the matter. Sometimes God has other ideas.
When Jennie Dow, a young teacher in Bristol, came up with the idea of the Bristol Women’s Conference she had no clue where it would lead. In fact, when I contacted her recently in preparation for this article, I don’t think she was aware how far her vision had spread.
Birth of a conference
More than ten years have passed since Jennie suggested to a few friends, including her pastor’s wife, Kath Paterson, that it might be helpful to gather women together from different churches in Bristol to hear Sharon James explain the biblical vision of godly womanhood. Throw in a seminar or two, a good lunch, some talented musicians and a lot of hard work, and the Bristol Women’s Conference was born.
I was at that first conference at Kensington Baptist Church where about 100 women gathered together. I remember being moved to tears as I saw women of all ages, some who I had known as students, others who had mentored me in the past, all in the same room, praising God and hungry to hear his Word taught.
Word spread and the second Bristol Women’s Conference took place in 2005. This time people came from as far afield as Exeter, Cardiff and the wilds of Wiltshire. When I moved down to Cornwall, I longed to take the women in our church to a similar event, but a three hour journey seemed too far for one day.
Then I bumped into Beccy Davies, a woman of extraordinary faith and enthusiasm who thought… (click here to read more)