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Abingdon Women was thrilled to partner with The Woodlands UMC to launch Jessica LaGrone's new study, Namesake as part of our new upcoming “Your Life, Your Faith” Conferences.  We took a few moments to ask the Women's Ministry Coordinator, Julie Adcock, from The Woodlands to tell us more about the event from her perspective.  Thanks, Julie, for taking time to share with other Abingdon Women!

AW:  How did your congregation feel about celebrating the launch of Namesake with Abingdon Women?

Julie:  There is such a "buzz" around the church right now.  Of course, we're very proud and excited about Jessica's study.  We feel a bit like she belongs to us and her success is our success. Jessica has said that it doesn't take a village, it takes a church.

Our women absolutely loved this unprecedented event!  We had not done anything like this before.  Many women have commented how they learned so much and left feeling so inspired.  Each author had such a unique perspective, teaching style, and personality that it made the weekend completely engaging and packed full of quality worship and teaching.

AW: Did you personally get to enjoy the event?

I think what was probably, personally, my biggest take-away from the weekend was the "mini-conference" we did on Saturday.  Women lead busy lives, and it was so important to us, in the planning process, not to waste time or have filler to just pattern after past events.  We really tried to make each moment count.  And, I can without a doubt say that it counted...in a big way.  It was amazing!  The teaching, the personal anecdotes and stories, the worship experience, and the way our women came together to host such a wonderful event was an incredible experience for me personally and professionally.  The impact the weekend made will continue to grow and shape women and our ministry for a lifetime.  Abingdon Press was so gracious to us, and we couldn't be happier with our new partnership.  I am really looking forward to more quality offerings from Abingdon Women.  You guys are really onto something here!

AW: How long have you known Jessica and how have the women in your faith community supported Jessica on her journey as Reverend, mother and now author?

Julie: I have known Jessica for a little over 4 years.  I first heard her preach as a new attendee at the church 5 and half years ago.  Then, I attended my first Women's Retreat where she was the speaker.  Her message absolutely blew me away.  I began working at the church as an assistant shortly after.  After becoming Director a few months after that, Jessica became an important friend and mentor in my life.  Within the last few months she has become my direct supervisor.  This has been my journey with her just over the last few years.  The women in our ministry have known her a little longer and we have all shared this amazing journey of hers.  Jessica has always been a dynamic speaker and teacher.  But, I can tell you our women feel so proud to see what God has done with her and through her.  He not only has given her a heart for women, but the talent to relate and reach out to women in a way that is deeply meaningful and Spiritual.  Jessica has, what I think, is a unique focus on the importance of scripture.  By that, I mean that so many female speakers and teachers today preach a very specific message that is sometimes only considered for women.  Jessica challenges that theory often.  She believes and teaches that the Word was written for God's people, not just women and not just men separately.  She teaches in a way that women can certainly relate to her, especially as she has become a wife and mother of two young children.  

AW: As a women's ministry leader, what do you feel resources like Namesake can offer the church and the women of today who are looking for bible study resources?

Julie: Absolutely a lot! Namesake combines current real life problems and solutions with some of the same real life problems and solutions from the Bible.  Namesake is a look at the history of our today.  By that, I mean that Jessica has taken examples from our ancestors of how God changed them and transformed their lives to show how God can change and transform our own lives.  This is the part that excites me the most.  These are stories and people we've heard about and perhaps even studied.  Jessica's unique perspective on the significance of God changing these historical names is a refreshing way to look at these stories once again.  The stories are just as alive today as they were thousands of years ago.  Let's face it; today's woman is looking for efficiency.  We lead such busy lives that we want/need anything and everything we do to have quality yet still be efficient.  With Namesake, we are given new insight to not only what God was doing in the lives of His people, but how He was shaping the world and our own lives today.  Now, that is quality stuff!


AW: Do you personally plan to study Namesake soon?  If so, what are you most looking forward to?

Julie: I am leading a group through it starting next week.  I'm really most excited about discussing it with other women.  I think fellowship is such an important part of our walk and our own spiritual formation. God speaks to us in such a variety of ways.  I always learn from other women, no matter how far along or how new they are in their walk.  Each of our unique perspectives provides great insight and knowledge that allows the Holy Spirit to form into wisdom and understanding.


AW: Can you share any of the feedback the women attending may have shared with you regarding the blessings they received during your time of study, fellowship and worship together?

Our women absolutely loved this unprecedented event! We had not done anything like this before. Many women have commented how they learned so much and left feeling so inspired. Each author had such a unique perspective, teaching style, and personality that it made the weekend completely engaging and packed full of quality worship and teaching.

AW: You also hosted Babbie Mason and Kimberly Dunnam Reisman for this event.  Are you familiar with their studies or do you hope to now be able offer them in the future (now that you've met them and learned more about their ministries)?

Julie: Our women are excited to do these studies as well.  We will certainly be offering it to them.  We have about 900 women participating in Bible study each semester, as well as many in the summer.  We are always looking for dynamic teaching and study opportunities, and we plan to offer Babbie's and Kim's studies.  We're also really looking forward to more from Kim, Babbie, and of course, Jessica!


AW: And, because we're curious, where did you get the great idea for Namesake candles as table decorations?

Julie: That idea actually came from one of our Bible study leaders, Sheri Clotiaux, whose Bible study group hosted the event lunch.  “Ladies of the Loft” were amazing and gracious hosts for the leader luncheon as well as volunteering for other important things such as helping with registration, decorating, etc.  We could not have done it without them!

AW: Congratulations on the growth of your vibrant women's ministry.  We look forward to partnering again as well as with other churches for the new forthcoming "Your Faith, Your Life" Conferences.  Many blessings on your journey, Julie!

If your women’s ministry is interested in partnering with Abingdon Women, contact us for more information!  To be notified of upcoming events, sign up for our newsletter at www.abingdonwomen.com.