Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Recharging at the Women of Faith Conference in Hartford

A Reminder of How Arts are an Important Part of FaithBy Lauren Yarger
I enjoyed a nice break from the routine last weekend with a stop in at the Women of Faith Imagine Conference at the XL Center in Hartford. Speakers Sheila Walsh, Henry Cloud, Luci Swindoll and others gave women an opportunity to "escape from the everyday and be refreshed, encouraged and inspired."

The Friday night session brought home to me how the arts play a vital part in ministry. It's not that I don't know that. I head a Christian performing arts ministry and write for and about theater while encouraging those who minister in the arts everyday. Having others in the arts minister to me at the conference just confirmed how vital these media can be in conveying God's message -- especially when we're tired.

I had just returned home that day, at about 2:30 am after two weeks of being displaced. First a freak October snow storm robbed us of power for 10 days. Then, prior ministry commitments took me away for about 10 days. And somewhere along the way I had managed to lose my keys. I was exhausted, but the reward of getting to spend time with my friend and author/speaker Lucinda Secrest McDowell motivated me to drive over to the XL Center instead of to dive under the covers. I'm so glad I did,

First, Nicole Johnson entertained us with a talk about the many different roles played every day by women. It was accompanied with humorous costume pieces and dramatic elements to bring home the message. How effective drama is, I thought. A speech about the many aspects of a woman's life and all of the people depending on her for different things might have expressed the same sentiments, but the dramatic elements used by Johnson -- a little song, a construction hat, a chef's hat, a boa -- said so much more and stuck in the brain longer than a bunch of words could have.

Then we laughed, until we hurt, as comedian Ken Davis recounted experiences going through airport security, disciplining children and of all things, losing keys (boy, could I relate). God was able to use a servant's gifting as a storyteller to bring home a message about experiencing joy in the Lord. I know women got that message regardless of whether they knew God personally yet or not.

Then we were treated to the vocal talents of Natalie Grant who gave a concert and led worship.

It was the perfect battery charge for this servant who had been zapped of energy (both literally and figuratively) and a confirmation that the work I do is of vital importance.

The tour continues in 2012 with "Celebrate." To find out if it is coming to a city near you, visit http://www.womenoffaith.com/events/.

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Daily Inspiration

The Blind Side

Read about the real life mom from "The Blind Side."

Lifeway: http://www.lifeway.com/article/?id=169816

Guideposts: http://www.guideposts.com/story/sandra-bullock-blind-side-football?page=0,1

Read Matt Mungle's review of the movie at http://www.buddyhollywood.com/.

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Lauren Yarger, Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the 2000 Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists.

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run.

In 2008 she was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater with a Christian perspective for Reflections in the Light (http://reflectionsinthelight.blogspot.com/) and is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection. She also is a contributing editor for BroadwayWorld.com

She also reviews books for Publisher's Weekly and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. She formerly was Connecticut theater editor for CurtainUp, a national theater web site bsed in New York and a reviewer for American Theater Web.

She also served as Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. and worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.

She is a freelance writer and member of the Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association, The League of Professional Theatre Women and The CT Critics Circle.

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger lives with her husband in West Granby, CT and has two adult children.

Copyright Notice

All contents copyright © Lauren Yarger 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, contact masterworkproductions@yahoo.com.

Scripture from THE MESSAGE Copyright 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

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