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From left, Tina Tatum, Gwendolyn Neal, Pam Pegram, Kim Ball and Sarah Barker are planning the gatHER Conference event, set for Saturday, Aug. 26 at the Hernando Performing Arts Center.

An event set for late August in Hernando looks to uplift women of faith in DeSoto County, “who are passionate about a relationship with Christ and one another.”

DeSoto County author, speaker and Christian advocate Tina Tatum has been joined by other women of faith to organize what they are calling, “gatHER 2017,” which will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 26 and continue until 1 p.m. that afternoon at the Hernando Performing Arts Center.

In addition to her ministry work, Tatum recently co-authored “Thrive,” a devotional book targeted for use by mothers and their teenage daughters.

The featured speaker for the conference will be Donna Gaines, wife of Bellevue Baptist Church senior pastor Steve Gaines, who last year was named president of the national Southern Baptist Convention.

“She is such a gracious lady,” Tatum said of Donna Gaines. “She has made a real difference in honoring her husband’s role as a pastor, but also her individual role as a minister in her own right. We’re looking to gain wisdom, insight and the wonderful grace that she carries.”

Tatum said, while gathering women together, the $25 ticket price for the event will benefit House of Grace, the Southaven-based ministry serving abused women and their children.

“Women are relational beings and we crave relationships with one another,” Tatum said. “I think it’s a beautiful expression of the body of Christ when you see all of these churches in our area, a multi-denominational, cross-generational gathering that we’re going to have together. I think we’re just really coming alongside the local body and being an encouragement to the body of Christ to come out and make a difference when we gather outside the four walls of a church.”

Others involved in the gatHER 2017 event include author Pam Pegram with Master What Matters and Life Fellowship Church, who recently penned a book titled, “Saved By Grace, Now What?”, Kim Ball of Getwell Church, Sarah Barker of Great Commission Church and Gwendolyn Neal of Brown Missionary Baptist Church, who has provided the theme of “Community, Passionate, Relationships” to lead the purpose of gatHER 2017.

“My vision is that, after this event, when we run into ladies that we have maybe seen at gatHER, we will be less hesitant in reaching out and speaking to them,” Neal said. “When I look over a see a sister, regardless of what church they go to, or denomination or race, a smile will pop up and it will be automatic. We are building that community relationship so we can come together and discuss other issues that impact women.”

Ball will help serve as emcee and lead a panel discussion. She believes the benefit comes in getting women together who are from different faith backgrounds for one day in worship.

“To me, I feel like it’s also a time of refreshing, as God has put that on my heart,” Ball said. “A time of refreshing together and just taking the next step towards the heart of God, whether you don’t know God or if you just need a reminding of who God is their lives.”

“We really need one another,” Pegram said. “We need Christ and our God first, but we need to gather together as much as we can to be reminded of what to be reminded of the importance of focusing on Jesus first, our family next and our relationships with one another.”

Barker will lead music with the worship team from Great Commission Church in Olive Branch.

“I truly believe that God is going to move in this event,” Barker said. “We truly carry so much of a load every single day with those natural divisions and the narrowing of our circles. When we expand that and allow God to move, it’s literally going to rock our community.”

Tatum believes this will be just the start of a women’s movement among DeSoto County church, with quarterly lunches that will highlight other nonprofits in the community and ways to serve in the community.

For more information or to register, visit online at www.tinatatum.com/gather-2017.

Bob Bakken is Staff Writer and may be reached at 662-429-6397 ext. 240.

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