On the weekend of May 13 and 14 Walmer Methodist Church hosted 90 young women from all over the Bay at the Worthy Young Women’s Conference. Amongst the speakers and conference delegates, 13 different churches were represented.
The first-ever Worthy Young Women’s Conference was held in 2008, the second in 2009, and 2011 marked the third time Walmer Methodist has hosted this ladies event.
“It came about because some female youth pastors in town had a passion to see young girls know their value and worth in Christ”, shares Kelly Mortimer of Walmer Methodist. “[They] thought this would be a good way to bring young women together and encourage them in that”.
The main target audience of the Worthy Young Women’s Conference is young women – this ranges from those in high school, varsity or young adults. The majority of ladies who attended the Conference this year were in their mid twenties.
“In many respects the format is the same (Friday night and Saturday), but obviously the content, speakers and workshops change from year to year”, says Kelly. “Each year, we have an overall verse (theme) that we try to form our conference around.
“In 2008 we looked at Isaiah 43:1 and how we are called by name. God alone is Worthy – and He makes us Worthy! In 2009 we used the story of Esther and the verse Esther 4:14 that we are born for such a time as this! We encouraged girls to go out into their communities and be the hands and feet of Jesus where they are – there is no need to wait to be older, stronger, know more etc. This year we used the Zephaniah 3:17 verse that God delights over us with singing! We hoped this would be a reminder to girls that our Father does delight in us.”
Using the above verse as a thread that ran throughout the entire weekend, this year’s Conference consisted of three group sessions, led by three different women from various churches throughout Port Elizabeth, who each had a different message to share. There were also two workshop sessions; one a panel discussion that the ladies could choose from (Healthy Singleness, Healthy Dating, or Healthy Marriage) and the other covered the topics of Healthy Mind, Healthy Body and Healthy Soul respectively.
In addition to this, there were powerful times of worship and ministry and prayer; all led by women. Upon arrival and registration, each girl received a ‘Welcome Pack’ full of girly treats, and decadent snacks were served along with the tea and lunch breaks. As much as it was important to learn about inner and Godly beauty, there was also an hour of fun in which some representatives from Total Concept Clinic and Spa came and shared some pearls of wisdom and tips about beauty skincare, while they demonstrated an ‘evening make-up’ look on one of the lucky delegates.
Athobela Ndamase, 19, of Fountain Vineyard Christian Fellowship, really enjoyed this year’s Conference, which was the second one which she has attended. “You always have something new to learn”, she shares, “and this year for me it was about knowing God as father”.
“It’s important, in our busy lives, to remember to put God first and take the time to be in his presence”, says Megan Bennett, 30, also of Fountain Vineyard Christian Fellowship. “God is really good and loves us so much.” Megan reveals that in what would normally be for her a rather threatening environment of all-women, it was fun to put herself out of her comfort zone. This being her first Worthy Conference, she really enjoyed connecting with people and talking to random strangers.
In the same way, Kylie Jefferson, 20, from Walmer Methodist also feels that there was a supportive, encouraging environment. “You feel God’s peace and love so strongly”, she says. “This year, God spoke to me about changing negative perceptions of myself and also gave me excitement for my future”.
After attending this year’s conference, or for those who missed out this time, there are surely many young ladies who would like this Worthy Conference to become an annual event. “We are keen to see where God leads us, but do hope that Worthy will be something that continues to grow!” enthuses Kelly. “This year, for the first time, we had a young men’s event, ‘HIStory’ run parallel to Worthy. We hope to work together more in future and encourage the young people in our city.”