SIDNEY — Area women are invited to attend Spring Awakening 2020 on Saturday, March 7, from 9 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. with this year’s featured speaker Christina Ryan Claypool at Sidney First United Methodist Church. This year’s theme is “A Tiara in Troubled Times” and is based around the Book of Esther.
Interim Women’s Ministry Leader Winky New, who co-organized the event with Susie Valentine of the Sidney First UMC, said she is excited to have Claypool as the featured speaker this year.
“She spoke at one of our circle meetings last May, and she was just so interesting, and the women who were at the circle meeting that day really enjoyed listening to her,” New said. “I really think people will enjoy listening to her and be able to connect to a lot of the things she has to talk about.”
Claypool, who is an award-winning freelance journalist and inspirational speaker, writes and speaks on a wide variety of topics in both secular and Christian circles. According to her website, “her passion is to see others achieve their destiny, especially those who have been wounded by the heartbreak of abuse, addiction, suicide, mental illness and the effects of aging.”
“My heart is to reach out inter-denominationally, and I like that about the event, that it seems to be bringing together women from different church backgrounds and different locations, so it was a good fit in that,” Claypool said.
Claypool is most impressed with the breakout sessions built into the conference, which will follow Claypool’s speech. Women are asked to attend two of the four breakout sessions offered: Dealing with Grief and Loss, lead by Karen Ward, of Springboro; Learning to Live Courageously through Prayer, lead by Roxy Chivington, of Sidney; Living Graciously, lead by Sheila Lundy, of Sidney; and Courageous Parenting, lead by the Rev. Eileen Hix, of Sidney First UMC.
“The breakout sessions specifically offer something for everyone, and hopefully my messages will be a little bit more generalized and applicable to hopefully all of the women, regardless of age or background,” Claypool said. “If you’re 60, you’re not interested in parenting, and if you’re 20 you might not be that familiar with grief, so I love that all ages are coming and hopefully there’s something for everyone there.”
When Claypool found out that this year’s event was being built around the Book of Esther, she said she felt aligned with that.
“There are only a few books in the Bible that are about women, and I think as women it’s really helpful for us in so many ways, not just spiritually, to have that example from women in the Bible, so I was really on page with that,” Claypool said. “We have to go back to the fact that Queen Esther was also an orphan, an exiled Jewish young woman living in a foreign land, so she had some real deficits, some real challenges, yet she rose to the position of royalty. I think that speaks to us, that even though we can have some pretty daunting challenges in our own lives, we don’t have to let that adversity limit us, or those challenges define us. We can go on to do some spectacular, extraordinary things.”
For Claypool, Esther’s story is fascinating to her because she starts with humble beginnings and through obedience and divine intervention, reaches a position where she is able to save her race of people.
“I think it’s how we look at it and relate it to today, because a biblical story can seem so far away and not applicable to who we are, but yet it’s pretty allegorical and really relates to the challenges we, as women, face today,” Claypool said. “I think the most important and pivotal piece women can take away from the conference is that each one of them was born for a time such as this, and for a purpose in this time as well.”
In addition to having Claypool as the featured speaker and the four breakout sessions, music will be provided courtesy of Connection Point Praise and Worship and lunch will be provided by Julie Casiano, founder and owner of Meal Prep Life. While the deadline has passed to pre-register for the event, those interested in attending can contact Sidney First UMC at 937-492-9136 for more information.
“Any woman can come, and they get to pick out two breakout sessions. We would still like people to register, and they’re welcome to come to the event,” New said. “Anyone is welcome. We just want to have an event where we can bring women together for a morning of fellowship and fun.”
Reach the writer at 937-538-4825.