I suspect this religious group is getting free use of
the stadium violating the Arizona Constitution. I know
Jerry Colangelo used to let these religious groups use
the Bank One Ballpark for free or almost free.
Women of Faith conference draws thousands in Arizona
The Arizona Republic
Nov. 17, 2007 12:00 AM
The crowd of nearly 12,500 at Jobing.com Arena on
Friday night wasn't made up of hockey fans. The crowd
wasn't there for Hannah Montana or even a
The arena was filled instead with women coming
together for the two-day Women of Faith conference,
one of the largest female conferences in the country.
Since its inaugural tour in 1996, about 3.5 million
women have attended the weekend event, designed to
bring together Christian women of all denominations
through worship, teaching and fellowship.
"Women of Faith is unique in that it is open to every
woman all ages, all denominations, all stages of
life," spokeswoman Briana Stensrud said.
The majority of the women who attend come seeking
renewal and reconnection with other women, she said.
Sandy Gauthier and her 13-year-old daughter, Elena, of
the Ahwatukee Foothills area, attended the conference
for the first time this year.
"It's phenomenal to be in a room with this many women
following a Christian life," Sandy said.
Sandy said the conference offers a weekend where she
can forget about her everyday stresses and focus on
her faith. "Sometimes our lives get so busy that we
just have to stop and focus on what's important," she
The 2007 conference, themed "Amazing Freedom,"
features speakers who have traveled with the group all
12 years and some who are unique to this year's tour.
The weekend kicked off Friday morning in Glendale,
this year's final stop, where guest speaker Beth
Moore, a well-known author and speaker, addressed a
crowd of 9,000. Moore's high-energy, emotion-filled
sermon had women crying, laughing and cheering.
Diana Wiese has been following Moore's books and
teaching for about six years. Wiese, 37, came to
Glendale from Arizona City with 12 other women from
her church to see Moore.
"She's even better in person," Wiese said.
Women of Faith is similar to the male-oriented Promise
Keepers conference, both of which draw thousands to
gender-specific, arena-size events, Stensrud said. The
difference, she said, is in the mission of each
"Promise Keepers is about getting men together to help
encourage each other. Women of Faith is a group that
wants women to be refreshed, encouraged and renewed."
Promise Keepers is based more in preaching and
teaching, she said, while Women of Faith encourages
women to express their emotions and relax.
"We're inviting women to take a few days to relax and
be refreshed and reconnect with other women."
This year Women of Faith visited over 40,000 women in
28 cities across the United States and Canada.
The tour has stopped in Arizona four times, and the
2008 conference, titled "Infinite Grace," is scheduled
for Glendale on Nov. 21 and 22.