“It is always a blessing to be the blessing.” Our Circles speaker Ellen Miller said this to wrap up her moving message, but it really could be said of the entire 2018 Circles event. What a blessing!
Nearly 1000 people, including almost 50 students and graduates of the CWJC program, gathered together at the VBC on Monday, November 5th. What brought everyone together was more than the wonderful company, good food, or fabulous shopping opportunities. It was the blessing of Christian Women’s Job Corps and the legacy of lives changed for twenty years and counting.
This year’s event was not just a fundraiser, although it was certainly a successful one. It was also an anniversary celebration, with a special anniversary booklet given to everyone in attendance. Inside, twenty graduates told their CWJC stories- from the hardships that brought them to the program, to their enrollment and classes, to relationships with peers and mentors, to the lasting impact their time at CWJC had on their lives. It is a beautiful tribute to the strength of our women and the legacy of our ministry. One student, Kendahl Walker, also shared her journey with us from the podium on Monday. If you were unable to attend, the stories will also be shared on our website.
Circles guests were also blessed to hear from our featured speaker, author Ellen Miller. She reminded all in attendance that we are a “chosen people, a royal priesthood” (1 Peter 2:9) and that with royal status comes immense responsibility. Ellen gently encouraged us to grasp the grace we’ve been given and extend it to others, to cultivate gratitude and practice generosity. Her honest examples of this royal responsibility in her own busy life resonated with everyone; so much so that by the end of the event all of her books were sold out! If you missed her message (or got to the book table too late) at Circles, you can find her books for sale here, or read more about her ministry here. Her website also has a Truth Nuggets blog and more ways to stay connected with Ellen and see how God continues to use her and her teaching ministry.
It wasn’t just the book table that had great sales- the Tablescapes shopping was bustling! Thank you to all of our vendor partners and the committee members who helped connect them to CWJC. We also sold several of our beautiful centerpieces. It was a wonderful day and is sure to be one of our most successful fundraising events in our twenty-year history! Many may not realize it, but Circles is the major means by which CWJC raises money to cover operating costs throughout the entire year. This fall, as a special part of the 20th anniversary celebration, there is an extra opportunity to support Christian Women’s Job Corps financially with an extra gift of $20 (or more) to the $20 for 20 Campaign and challenging others to do the same.
Supporting the ministry of Christian Women’s Job Corps goes beyond financial contributions, of course. Guests also prayed for the continuing impact of CWJC, and a special volunteer/mentor, Alice Ozier, was honored with the Babs Christy Volunteer Award. All those involved in CWJC’s ministry were asked to stand to be recognized, and were undoubtedly encouraged by the appreciation from everyone in the VBC hall. As one student in attendance said, “The overwhelming show of support has encouraged me to not stop, not give up, not be beguiled by any person to forfeit the prize that Christ Jesus has afforded me…” And that’s what Circles, and CWJC is all about. What a blessing.
Thank you to the Circles committee and event sponsors, CWJC staff and board, supporting churches, and everyone in attendance. We can assure you that you were a blessing, and we pray that you were blessed. If you missed it, check out photos from the event here and be sure to sign up for an invitation for next year’s event!