Associated Ministries, a Tacoma non-profit organization dedicated to bringing together people of faith and goodwill in the Tacoma/Pierce County area, announces their 3rd biennial Interfaith Women’s Conference for 2023. The conference will be held on October 21, 2023 from 9am to 3pm, and is open to women (or those that identify as such) of all faiths and beliefs, including those who consider themselves spiritual but non-affiliated.
Melinda Huish, volunteer Co-Chair of the event, says of the theme: ‘The Beauty of Us: Stories of Hope and Resilience’ speaks to our struggles to connect and to endure difficult times. During COVID, there were few opportunities to meet together in events such as this, and we hope to strengthen and connect women of faith and spirituality to accomplish good things in our families and communities.” Michael Yoder, Executive Director of Associated Ministries, believes the theme of the conference “particularly resonates with women in our area in the times in which we find ourselves.”
Examples of this are in the speakers and topics the conference offers. Featured speaker Amanda Westbrooke is the long-time host of CityLine, Tacoma’s television program for and about the community; she will share her insight on finding the stories of others as they endure the challenges of life. Especially relevant will be a class on “Living with an Addict: Finding Hope” as three women who have experienced or lived with an addict share their perspective. Panelists for this workshop feature local women, such as Jasmine Robinson, a mother who lost her 21-year-old son to an accidental fentanyl overdose. “How does anyone make sense of something like this?” Jasmine asks. She has tried to channel her grief into helping middle school students and parents become aware of the dangers of fentanyl.
The location for this year’s conference will be at a church building for the first time. “We decided to be provide a new opportunity this year and to give attendees an opportunity to enter someone else’s house of worship,” says Sandy Windley, head of Interfaith Engagement at Associated Ministries. “This year, the conference will be held at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, at the corner of South 12th and Pearl Streets. Next time, it will be at another faith-based location. We want to learn about others’ faith traditions and to feel welcome in their buildings.” That said, the conference is not designed to promote any one religion or tradition. “It’s a place of connecting and learning, not proselytizing or persuasion,” says Sandy.
The conference will also focus on opportunities to serve in the community, with booths from many non-profits in the area such as Raising Girls, Korean Women’s Association and Leaders in Women’s Health (a program of Tacoma Urban League). Attendees are encouraged to bring cake and frosting mixes to support the birthday boxes given to low-income families by The Toy Rescue Mission. A blood drive mobile unit will be on hand for blood donations.
We encourage women who are interested to register at the Associated Ministries website, www.associatedministries.org/iwc. Cost is $45 for the day, and includes lunch. There are scholarships available for those who have difficulty with the cost. Please contact Sandy Windley at Associated Ministries, at 253-426-1506 for more information.