Originally created 04/13/02

Women on a mission to grow in faith



About 1,000 mission-minded Southern Baptist women from across Georgia will hold a two-day conference in Augusta starting Friday.

The Women's Missionary Union also will hold workshops for men during its annual meeting at First Baptist Church in Augusta. About 30 to 40 men are expected to attend.

"I'm glad guys are starting to pick up on it," said Dr. John Bryan, interim pastor of Warren Baptist Church, who will speak to the men on leadership.

Dr. Bryan's wife, Clare, will lead a workshop on Health - God's Way. Other speakers include Debra Berry of Birmingham, Ala., adult ministry consultant for the Southern Baptist Convention; author Minette Drumwright of Fort Worth, Texas; and Alpha Goombi of Omaha, Neb., a missionary who has worked among American Indians.

Dr. Fayiz Saknini, a consultant with the Georgia Baptist Convention in Atlanta, will present Understanding Islam. His heritage is Lebanese.

WorldCrafts also will exhibit wares from 22 areas in the world. Proceeds benefit the creators of the items and the missionaries who work with them.

The women who attend the conference - most have raised their children and are in the 50- to 60-year-old age-range - are generally knowledgeable of world events, said Barbara Curnutt, the union's executive director in Atlanta.

In missions, there's "a lot of focus on needs, both here in our own communities, the states and around the world," she said.

Besides electing leadership and dispatching with business, the conference is a chance for women to renew friendships and meet for inspiration and motivation.

Union members are sometimes pastors' wives, but they are always leaders in their congregations, said Dr. Bryan, who also works for the Georgia Baptist Convention as a consultant for Augusta-area churches.

The union consistently supplies the largest number of outreach workers to such events as the Georgia Games, he said. They "are probably the finest network of mission volunteers throughout our state."

For more information, visit the union's Web site at www.gawmu.org.

Reach Virginia Norton at (706) 823-3336 or vanorton@augustachronicle.com.