Women offered Light for Living#039;

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 13, 2001

When Leesa Massey signed up for First Baptist Church of Greenville's inaugural "Crosswalk" conference two years ago, she candidly admits she really didn't know what she was getting into.

"I got to know Joyce [McLendon] and several other ladies from the [First Baptist] church during the time of my dad's struggle with cancer. They were really kind and supportive during a tough time for me," explains Massey, an active single adult member of her own church, Union Baptist of Honoraville.

She adds, "When they asked me to participate in this inspirational conference I said yes'but honestly I was a little reluctant to say so long' to my precious free' day."

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Oh, what a difference a weekend can make, as Massey quickly learned. "I had an absolutely wonderful time . . . I didn't want it to be over with on Saturday!

Everything was inspiring and helpful but I particularly enjoyed the group praise and worship sessions.

The speaker, Esther Burroughs, was outstanding," Massey enthuses.

Massey and other local women and teens will have the chance to once again be renewed and revived during the 2001 "Crosswalk for Women" conference scheduled for Friday and Saturday, January 26 and 27 at First Baptist Church in Greenville.

The theme of this year's event is "Light for Living" and seminars of interest to 7th-12th graders and college students all the way to senior adult women are planned for this exciting weekend.

Spaces are still available and registrations will be taken through January 15.

"Ladies, you still have time, so come on out and don't miss this wonderful conference," emphasizes Joyce McLendon, event co-organizer and wife of FBC pastor, Dr. Paul McLendon.

McLendon and fellow organizer Kathy Sims are both delighted with the keynote speakers and performers Crosswalk will be featuring this year.

"One of the reasons we opt to hold this conference every other year instead of annually is so we can afford to invite the very best in Christian leadership to our event," explains McLendon.

She describes the conference's special guests, Alicia Williamson-Garcia and Barbara Joiner, as two women who "can take someone who's feeling totally defeated and discouraged by life and in ten minutes, turn that person's attitude totally around."

Barbara Joiner of Columbiana, Ala., has long been a sought-after speaker throughout the world.

This mother of two and grandmother of four loves her family time, but still manages to put in time writing (she's the author of eight acclaimed books), speaking, leading the Acteens in her local church and teaching an adult Sunday School class.

This bubbly individual has a particular passion: missions. "I've always loved missions-I open my mouth and missions come out," she says. Not surprisingly, two of her books focus on the inspiring stories of real-life missionaries serving overseas.

Alicia Williamson-Garcia, currently of Mobile, is a native of Florence, S.C., where she began singing at the age of five.

As a young adult, she spent six years touring with the contemporary Christian group "Truth" in which she first recorded her signature song, "There is a Hope."

Now a solo artist, Williamson-Garcia, a Dove Award nominee, has made more than 200 solo appearances annually since 1993. She has also co-written a Christian musical "After the Cross" and has recorded four projects, her latest entitled "Faithful Heart."

This dynamic performer believes that "true joy and peace can only come through a personal relationship with Christ."

Each of these outstanding Christian women will lead one of ten seminars scheduled for the two-day conference.

Joiner's seminar topic is "Acteens and Missions"; Williamson-Garcia will be sharing about "Worship: the Seeking Heart".

Other seminar topics and leaders include "Singles' Ministry" with Eileen Mitchell; "The Light in a Dark Place" led by Jolene Ivey; Nancy Idland's "Decorating Ideas"; "Stress Relief" with Betty Speed; "Dealing with Difficult People" led by Jean Dean; "Prayer", with Pat Landwehr; lessons on "Laughter" with Gary Burton and Joanne Newton's "Nutrition" seminar.

"Each registrant will have the opportunity to attend three of those ten seminars," explains McLendon.

Participants will be able to enjoy several spirit-filled worship times incorporated into the conference.

A casual fellowship with coffee and dessert is planned to follow the close of Friday evening's session

(scheduled to run from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.).

Saturday's activities are slated to begin at 8 a.m. and run until 3:30 that afternoon.

A sit-down luncheon will be served in the Family Life Center, during which participants will be treated to a fashion show with clothing provided by area businesses including Snowdens, Two Boutiques, Murphy's and the Pineapple.

A special free concert performed by Alicia Williamson-Garcia is scheduled for 7 p.m. that Saturday night.

All area men, boys and younger children are invited to join the ladies for what promises to be a truly inspirational evening.

(Joiner and Williamson-Garcia will also be participating in FBC's 11 a.m. Sunday morning service.)

The cost of registration (which includes the luncheon and all materials) is only $25.

The cost for Acteens is just $10.

"The only additional costs a participant might have is if they choose to purchase any of our featured speakers' books, tapes or CDs during the conference," explains Sims.

(For more information simply call the church office at 382-5892.)

Massey eagerly looks forward to this year's conference and encourages other local ladies to strongly consider joining her for "Crosswalk" in 2001.

"I promise you won't regret the investment of your time or money . . . it's a wonderful, wonderful experience with long lasting benefits. I can't think of a better way to spend your weekend, really," a sincere Massey comments, then adds with a smile,

"It's a great way for all of us ladies to get renewed for the New Year!"