When I first heard the news this summer that Summit was going to be offering a speaker series specifically for women, I got excited. And then I became very curious. “For Her” is the third speaker series that Summit has offered in the last year or so, but this one felt unique to me in that the targeted audience was pretty broad and I suspected pretty diverse. The title said it all...it was simply for her. Any her. Me her. You her. Anyone who could be the answer to the question, “Her?”
This was intriguing to me. Looking around at my own female friend groups, I could find in them a catacomb of interests, hobbies, beliefs, occupations, truths, and personalities. To be honest, the idea that Summit was offering four weeks of talks that were created to appeal to women in general was fascinating. I wondered how this would go. And then I started asking the question, “Who are the women of Summit?”
So, like any good detective, I started an investigation by simply showing up and observing. Every Monday night at 6:30 p.m. I watched as women came filing into the lobby. Some dressed to impress. Some in scrubs. Some in workout garb. Some with baby spit up spewed on their shoulders. Some with kids in tow. Some with coffee in hand. Some in huge groups. Some all alone, timidly making a beeline for the back row. But they came. They dutifully found their seats and settled in for a speaker lineup that would turn out to be just as varied as the audience.
We heard from our very own reGROUP director, a mom of six kids, a local news anchor, and a woman with passion to mentor women through every stage of life. We heard messages of celebration and grief. We heard funny stories and tearjerkers. We learned about rest and how to live a life of fullness. We heard about the quiet moments and the not-so-quiet ones and how to find God in both.
There is no question that the “For Her” event was hugely successful (the numbers in attendance were impressive enough). But I think we would be remiss to point only to the numbers as an indicator of this event’s success. From my seat in the back, where I watched the women listen, react, share, and emote with and to one another, I think the biggest success came from watching community arise out of diversity. My original hypothesis that the women of Summit are an assorted group was most definitely proven to be correct. And yet, I watched these very different women nod their heads in unison at the same well-made points and laugh heartily at the same funny stories and even shed tears on behalf of one another as tearful confessions and heartfelt inquiries were made during the Q&A at the end of each session. I watched vulnerability breed more vulnerability. I watched the honesty from the stage, pour out and evoke honesty from the audience. I watched each week as a fledgling bond began to form between these once upon a time strangers. And this new birth fills me with excitement and anticipation about the future of the community of women at our church. I have found in my own life that the most meaningful and life-changing relationships I have been blessed with are with people with whom on the surface I had very little in common. To see the very beginnings of those kinds of relationships forming right before my eyes was truly inspiring.
Did you miss a week of For Her? Listen here.
Reagan Perkins and her family have been attending Summit for the past three years. In addition to leading a Connect group, she is one of the volunteer writers for the SUMMIT Magazine. She likes to write, cook, and try not to kill things in the garden. You can (and should) read her personal blog right here.