DUNKIRK, N.Y.—First Baptist Church hosted a watch party of the Northeast Fellowship’s Renew Conference, a virtual conference for women. The Northeast Fellowship had recorded the conference—featuring worship music, workshops, and main sessions—this fall and made the videos available for churches to watch Sept. 26–Oct. 10.
Ingrid Semans and Doris Hurlbut, pastors’ wives, spoke in the three main sessions on “Choose Joy.” Based on James 1, the theme focused on finding joy in Christ and His leading in our lives, rather than waiting for favorable circumstances.
Everyone can relate to having trials in their lives, especially in light of “COVID-19 and the upheaval it created,” say Judy King and Jeannie Vogel, codirectors of the conference. “In God’s wise providence,” the Northeast Fellowship had selected the theme of choosing joy more than a year ago. This summer, influenced by the account in Mark 2 of friends making an opening in a roof to bring someone to Jesus, the conference team decided to hold the conference online. The online venue would remove the obstacles, such as travel, health concerns, and changing regulations, that would have kept people from attending.
Churches and individuals registered to watch the conference recordings in their own churches and homes. “Churches that are located further from the event were able to participate, and overall attendance increased from previous years,” says Brian King, executive director of the Northeast Fellowship.
At First Baptist Church, Dunkirk, New York, women spent the morning of Oct. 10 watching a main session and then took a craft break, with a talented member of the church leading the women through making fall pumpkin crafts.
The women spent the rest of the afternoon watching the remaining sessions and workshops, including a workshop by Cindi Massaro, the pastor’s wife at First Baptist. She had recorded a workshop called “Anxiety: When Fear Takes Control” for the conference.
“All in all it was a perfect day,” says Sarah DeSanto of First Baptist. “We found so much joy in the fellowship and the powerful seminars.”