'God's Plan ... My Part' WMU meeting offers Blackaby, missions & more

by Tanya Dawson*, posted Friday, April 19, 2002 (12 years ago)

ST. LOUIS (BP)--Henry Blackaby and Debbie Morris will highlight the June 9-10 Woman's Missionary Union Annual Meeting and Missions Celebration at the Ferrara Theater at the America's Center in St. Louis.

Blackaby is the author of popular "Experiencing God" discipleship resources and Morris is the author of "Forgiving the Dead Man Walking," the other half of the story told in the book and movie, "Dead Man Walking."

The yearly gathering of WMU members and guests will be held on Sunday and Monday prior to the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting. Sessions begin at 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon and conclude Monday evening. The meeting will develop the theme, "God's Plan ... My Part." There is no registration fee.

Along with five plenary sessions, the WMU event will include a conference track. Participants may attend three one-hour conferences on a variety of topics, including Bible study, WMU ministries and programming, and spiritual growth.

Conference leaders will include several WMU and New Hope authors, including Blackaby, Rhonda Kelley and Stuart Calvert. Several national WMU staff members also will lead conferences.

Blackaby is internationally known for his discipleship book, "Experiencing God: How to Live the Full Adventure of Knowing and Doing the Will of God." Blackaby is currently working with New Hope Publishers to do a revised version of the book "Called and Accountable: God's Purpose for Every Believer," a book he originally wrote for WMU. A retired pastor and employee of several Southern Baptist denominational entities, Blackaby lives in Atlanta and directs the Henry Blackaby Ministries.

Morris' book recounts her horrifying experience at age 16 when she was kidnapped and repeatedly raped by Robert Willie and Joe Vaccaro and her journey back to wholeness. Willie's story was told in the 1995 movie, Dead Man Walking. Morris' testimony led to Willie's conviction and death sentence in the killing of Faith Hathaway.

Morris now lives in Mandeville, La., with her husband and children.

In addition to these speakers, Southern Baptist international and North American missionaries will be featured in each session of the meeting.

WMU President Janet Hoffman of Farmerville, La., will speak during the Monday morning session and WMU Executive Director Wanda S. Lee will give a portion of her report on the national organization in each of the Monday sessions. Each will be themed, "Discover the Joy of Missions" and will highlight WMU ministries, the National Acteens Convention and the fifth anniversary of Christian Women's Job Corps.

Musicians for the event are Max Lyall of Baltimore, Md., and MarJean Shofner of Belleville, Ill. Native Praise, a vocal group of Native Americans from across Oklahoma, also will perform.

For registration information, call 1-888-968-0322 or visit www.wmu.com/annualmeeting.html.


*Name changed for security concerns.