AGLOW INTERNATIONAL CELEBRATES 40TH
SEATTLE, Sept. 23, 2007 – Aglow International, one of the world’s largest Christian organizations, concluded its 40th Anniversary conference today in Seattle with more than 5,000 women from 138 of the 169 nations where it operates. Titled “A Voice, Not an Echo,” the four-day international gathering attracted women from every corner of the world including far away places like the Sudan, Australia, China, Mongolia, Egypt and Israel. Even the first lady of Coit d’ Ivoire, an Aglow member, came to celebrate the organization’s legacy of training servant leaders around the world.
“It is an awesome time in our history,” said Jane Hansen, president of Aglow International, which today has nearly 200,000 members worldwide reaching an estimated 17 million people a year. “What started as a kitchen table organization of four women just four decades ago has become a mighty force of leaders serving families and communities around the world.”
From boardrooms to refugee camps, Aglow’s massive network of women has an impressive outreach. In Ghana, for example, the Aglow chapter recently opened a vocational complex to change the lives of street children, teenage mothers and HIV orphans. Last year, the president of Ghana gave a personal donation of more than $5,000 toward the project. In the Ukraine, Aglow has served a women’s prison every Sunday for the past seven years. In Latvia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Sudan and Cambodia, Aglow has organized orphanages. And in the Gobi desert, Aglow has started a micro-enterprise program to empower women to open small vegetable businesses of their own, raising their standard of living and giving them new opportunities.
Dr. Tahira Saleem, Aglow’s leader in Pakistan, organizes regular medical teams to help the unreached poor living in villages throughout the country. “With our “lab in a suitcase” program, Aglow provides free medical care and diagnostic testing such as pap smears and blood work to the poorest of the poor,” said Dr. Salem. “We offer medical and spiritual care by giving every person in camp the Gospel as well.” Dr. Salem’s group also runs the Aglow Bible College (ABC) in Lahore, with a satellite campus in Quetta.
At each conference, Aglow participants donate monetary and in-kind donations to a compassion organization located in the host city. This weekend, Aglow women contributed more than $37,000 to Treehouse (www.treehouseforkids.org), a non-profit organization devoted to dramatically improving the lives of foster children in the Greater Seattle area by "filling in the gaps" in the state-funded system.
Earlier this week, Aglow announced the launch of new chapters in Iraq and Madagascar. At the opening of the conference on Friday, Hansen brought the crowd to their feet when she unveiled that Aglow had just added Azerbaijan to its global outreach. “Aglow can now be found in 169 countries, 11 of which are in the Middle East and a total of 36 primarily Muslim nations,” said Hansen. “Iran, we’re coming for you,” she added.
During the conference, Aglow also announced two bold new initiatives: the Generations Project, to reach young leaders under the age of 25; and the Aglow Institute of Ministry (AIM), an online leadership training program launched in conjunction with Beacon University to equip Christians around the world with solid Biblical teaching. AIM is a certification program which will be available early next year.
“This is a new day for Aglow,” said Evangeline Weiner, Generations Project developer and author of the newly released The Calling of a Generation. “With the top five percent of nations sending their young to the U.S. to study, we have an awesome opportunity to reach the future leaders of the world in our own back yard,” she said, adding that Aglow had just launched a pilot project on five college campuses to reach international students. Weiner also made mention of a new partnership with Dawson McAllister ministries that will match Aglow women around the country with teens seeking a mentor and hope coach. “We cannot underestimate the call of God on this generation.”
Grammy award-winning hip-hop violinist, Miri Ben-Ari, opened the Friday evening session with the National Anthem. Miri is the featured violinist and writer for Paramount’s “The Freedom Writers” starring actress Hilary Swank. Ben-Ari also played her new single, "Symphony of Brotherhood," which is the first instrumental single ever to hit the R&B/ Hip Hop charts.
Friday keynote speaker Lou Engle, founder of The Call Assemblies, an international movement of gatherings of young adults for prayer and fasting, stated that “it’s time for Christians to recover the voice in our nations.” Engle, who is coordinating prayer movements to help end abortion in the U.S. and abroad, added that “the nations are in the hands of the praying church; not in the hands of politicians.”
On Saturday, shofars blew in recognition of Yom Kippur, the Jewish holiday of atonement for sin. Robert Stearns, director and founder of Eagles Wings Ministries and the visionary behind the worldwide prayer initiative, "The Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem,” opened the morning sessions encouraging participants to be strong in the Lord. “Entertainment has captured Christian’s pocketbooks today,” he said. “We can’t march up to the United Nations or Washington DC with thirty minute Christianity. Christianity light is not sufficient for the hour.”
Barbara Yoder, founder and senior pastor of the racially and culturally diverse church, Shekinah Christian Church, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, addressed the crowd Saturday afternoon with a message on blessing from the Old Testament. “God has put destiny in this ministry,” said Yoder. “Like Ruth, you were never intended to be barren. The house of David began with one smooth stone and a giant named Goliath.”
Chuck Pierce, President of Glory of Zion International Ministries in Denton, Texas, gave Saturday’s closing address. “This is a defining moment,” said Pierce. “It’s not just where we celebrate 40 years. This is a meeting where we say the song will not end.”
Aglow’s 40th Anniversary conference closed on Sunday afternoon with a tribute to the founding members of the organization. Two of the four original women who started Aglow in 1967 – now in their late seventies, Ruth Gothenquist and Joyce Doerflein, as well as many of the original Aglow leaders, were honored onstage and with a standing ovation.
As she closed the four-day worldwide conference, Aglow’s President Jane Hansen called on God to break trail for Aglow women to enter those nations still closed to them. “As President Reagan said years ago to the Soviet Union leader about a divided Germany, ‘Mr. Gorbechev; tear down that wall!’ we say that the wall between North and South Korea must come down!” Hansen gave this final charge to the 5,000 women and men gathered there: “You must be a voice in your nations.”
SUMMING IT UP
What began in 1967 as four women desiring to meet together as Christians across denominational boundaries has grown into a worldwide network of women who pray, teach and reach out to their communities through acts of compassion – serving an estimated 17 million people each year. Today, Aglow is one of the largest international women’s organizations in the world, with more than 200,000 women involved in over 4,300 fellowship groups in 169 nations. This year marks the 40th Anniversary of the organization. Learn more at www.aglow.org.
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EDITOR’S NOTE: Photos of the conference will be available Monday at www.alrcnewskitchen.com/aglow or by FTP. Contact Dan Parker at (972) 267-1111 or Karen Anderson at (425) 314-2090 for more information.
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