Circles of Faith LIVE – Women of Influence - A Recap

It was a beautiful summer evening. Anticipation hung in the air…

Who would attend?

Would people stay home, a cool drink in their hands, rather than venture out?

Was every detail covered? Would the mics work? Would there be enough to eat? Had we done all we could to prepare?

We gathered in a circle, the team members of Circles of Faith, to pray over the evening. And we were off…Time to greet the attendees of Circles of Faith LIVE – Women of Influence.

Each woman who joined us seemed eager to meet others, hear an inspiring message, break bread together, and cross over bridges of separation - denomination, race, age - to connection.

We started with a half hour to settle in, grab some food, and get something to drink. Greetings wafted through the air, hugs were exchanged, and genuine smiles warmed the room. Ahhhhhh…it looked like the evening would be a success.

The buzz in the room faded as Angele Tanyeri, joining us from across the pond, walked in holding an umbrella strung with bras, yes bras! She thanked those who participated in our charity bra drive supporting Free the Girls, an organization that gives victims of sex trafficking a second chance through selling second hand clothes.

Martha Wentz, our Facebook Prayer Group Manager, prayed the welcome prayer followed by beautiful worship from Wodline Hippolyte (our events coordinator extraordinaire) and Faith Blaisi, uniting us and drawing us in to our time together.

Next up, Minutes to Mingle. Each attendee was asked to find a woman she didn’t already know and answer two questions:

  • Is there something you’re passionate about that has forged an unexpected friendship?
  • What brought you together with your longest standing friend?

The room swelled with laughter and happy sounds of sharing. We had to speak very loudly over our speaker system to get the women to end their brief but enlightening conversations. Always a good sign!

It was time for the topic of the evening – What Happens When Passion and Friendship Collide?

First we explored what God’s design for friendship is using just a few of the many scriptures on this topic from the Bible. The bottom line? We are more effective, supported, protected, informed, sharpened and shaped, when we work together (Ecc 4:9-12, Proverbs 27:17, 1Peter 4:8-10).

Then Kimberly Amici and I sat down with two awesome members of our team talked about their stories that illustrated the power of friendship in their lives.

  • Susan Panzica told us of how in the wake of a bad dream, she reached out to a friend who became her partner in growing a powerful and impactful ministry against human trafficking, Justice Network.
  • Chelle Wilson found herself in a number of unlikely relationships that surprised her a bit, encouraged her greatly in her writing, and challenged her to, sometimes reluctantly, use her voice to speak out against social injustice…and build bridges through honest difficult conversations.

Their stories were inspiring, empowering, and motivating!

We also listened to a few stirring words from our friend and team member Kim Hyland, founder of the Winsome Retreats. She spoke to us about how we can join her in the mission of Five-Fifteen is “fighting the darkness of human sex trafficking with the LIGHT.”

Next up Catie told us about how she is raising funds to conduct a Pilot Study in hopes of using music to put a stop to early onset Alzheimer’s, which many adults with Down’s Syndrome suffer from. You can check out her study here. Then Catie and Amelia Parker treating us to their version of Ingrid Michaelson’s Everybody Wants to Love.

One of the ways Catie is funding her research is by partnering with ViBella Jewelry, a company that employs at-risk women from Haiti, Mexico, and Iowa to make their unique and beautiful jewelry.

Right now ViBella is offering their spring line at 30% off. If you’re interested, you can purchase these truly beautiful and creative pieces and 30% of your purchase will go to funding Catie’s research. Talk about a triple-header – you’re helping at-risk women, saving 30%, and supporting research that could have a huge impact on those with intellectual disabilities. I say stock up now for every gift you can think of!

Click here to order ViBella online and use use #635 as the party code so Catie receives the credit.

The evening concluded with a blessing from Susanne Ciancio, professional counselor and author of our monthly column, Susanne Says.

Friends remained to chat, continuing to connect, purchase some beautiful ViBella jewelry, find out more about Five-Fifteen, Justice Network, and even had an opportunity to check out our Facebook Prayer Team Director Martha Wentz’s new book, Unholy Matrimony: A Journey from Unforgiveness and Sickness to Miraculous Health

It was a pretty perfect evening…and we hope you’ll join us for the next Circles of Faith LIVE - Women of Influence event. Let’s Grow, Learn, and Share Our Faith, Our Lives with one another to influence others for Christ!

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Elise Daly Parker has been married for 28 years and is mom to four mostly grown girls. She is a writer, editor, writing coach, and blogger. She believes we all have stories that matter--big life bios and small meaningful moments. Elise believes our stories are a reflection of God’s glory and are meant to be shared. They have the power to inform, reform, and transform. She loves God, family, friends...and really likes travel!

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