What’s one thing that you should absolutely do with your mom, sisters or girlfriends at least once? Attend a women’s conference! Chances are, you’ll be hooked and want to do it every year. It’s just that fun.
A team of women from various backgrounds and walks of life is hosting the ever-popular Devoted Hearts Conference in Rochester. Five other churches—Christ Community Church, Calvary Evangelical, Hope Summit, Rochester Covenant and Celebration Church in Byron—have joined with Autumn Ridge to offer an amazing local conference for Southeast Minnesota women.
“Two conferences were sold out and the rest were full with more than 750 attending,” says Angie Pankratz, a member of the Devoted Heart’s team. “It all started about 10 years ago when an amazing lady named Luanna Leichliter had a vision of having a women’s event in town that would unite women who wanted to know God and dig into His Word.”
Leichliter was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease shortly before the first conference. Despite her declining health, Leichliter was instrumental in getting Devoted Hearts off the ground and leaving behind a legacy that continues to gain momentum.
Angie Pankratz, Karen Rucker and a team of devoted women continue to make the conference meaningful. “We really want women to have fun and to also provide a strong Bible-teaching conference with sound teaching and a great time of worship,” says Pankratz. “We make no
profit from Devoted Hearts. Women love that the cost is reasonable and that it’s local. Churches in smaller towns bring groups of women and we rope off seats so they can all sit together.”
Pankratz’s personal highlight? “It’s really neat to see denominational walls fall down as we plan the conference. Our friends and sisters come together with the same purpose. It’s how I envision Heaven, working together as a team, bringing strengths from different churches for a united vision and purpose.”
This year’s line-up is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. “Karen and I heard Alicia Williamson Garcia at another conference. Wow, a powerful speaker,” says Pankratz. “She captures attention and has a lot of wisdom. Selah is back by very popular demand. And Angie Smith is the wife of Selah’s main male vocalist. She has this developing story about what God has done in her life through the loss of a child.”
Amy Brase is a writer who plans to attend Devoted Hearts 2012 with as many kindred spirits as possible.