The nation’s largest Christian women’s conference tour — featuring popular authors, Bible teachers and music artists — returns to Tacoma on Friday to meet in a megachurch instead of a larger arena.
A crowd of 2,700 women is expected to attend the sold-out, two-day event at Champions Centre in Tacoma. It’s the first time Women of Faith has been back to Tacoma for a conference since its inception in 1996.
Tacoma is the only non-arena stop on the 27-city “Believe God Can Do Anything” tour that started in August, and the last West Coast stop on this year’s tour.
“It’s to bring women together to just be refreshed and restored and revived from a life that can be hard,” said Jenny Neighbour, a regional manager for Women of Faith.
The conference is normally held in arenas that hold at least 10,000 people, Neighbour said. The tour’s Puget Sound event usually takes place in KeyArena in Seattle, as was the case in 2010.
She said Women of Faith has held events in churches in some cities and has strong relationships with local churches. That’s the case with Champions Centre and its pastors, Kevin and Sheila Gerald.
“What I can tell you for sure is that we chose the Champions Centre based on the partnership that we have with the Geralds,” Neighbour said.
Champions Centre, however, isn’t large enough to meet the demand. After tickets for all 2,200 seats in the sanctuary were sold, the church’s 500-seat auditorium was opened up for viewing via big-screen video. Those 500 tickets sold out this week.
The Tacoma Dome is tied up Saturday with “Return of the Dinosaurs – Live!”
As for KeyArena, it has no events Friday and Saturday.
“We’ve loved having them here in the past so I don’t know why they’re not here,” said Deborah Daoust, spokeswoman for Seattle Center.
The Rev. Jodi Cameron, the Geralds’ daughter and a pastor at Champions Centre’s Bellevue campus, said the conference is a great opportunity for Christian women “to celebrate together and worship together and get inspired together.”
“We’re really excited for them to be there and happy to host them,” Cameron said.
Speakers will include Christine Caine, founder of The A21 Campaign to stop human trafficking; comedian Anita Renfroe, and Rich Stearns, president of Federal Way-based World Vision. Music artists will be MercyMe, Natalie Grant and Kari Jobe.
Neighbour said the conference speakers mix stories from their own lives with a message of faith.
“(God) loves me with the mistakes I’ve made,” Neighbour said. “Now I can recharge and restart my life.”
The first Women of Faith conference in the Puget Sound area took place in Tacoma in March 1996, when 2,100 women filled Life Center.
Women of Faith expects total attendance since 1996 to top 5 million this year.
Steve Maynard: 253-597-8647
Women of Faith
WHAT: Christian speakers and musicians with the message “Believe God Can Do Anything.”
WHERE: Champions Centre, 1819 E. 72nd St., Tacoma.
WHEN: 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
WHAT TO KNOW: Tickets are sold out.
MORE INFORMATION: womenoffaith.com.
Steve Maynard: 253-597-8647 email@example.com @TNTstevemaynard