The nondenominational Women of Faith (WoF) live events soon will come to an end, but fans have other experiences to look forward to—including new tours and a WoF movie. The events conclude with the Loved: The Farewell Tour, which ends in Buffalo, New York, in February 2016.
Started in 1996 by Stephen Arterburn, Women of Faith events now bring connection, humor, inspiration, teaching and worship to thousands in arenas in more than 20 cities a year. The tour features WoF speakers who have become known as "porch pals" and include Sheila Walsh, Luci Swindoll, Marilyn Meberg, Thelma Wells, Patsy Clairmont and Nicole Johnson. New speakers such as HGTV's Jen Hatmaker have joined the tour, and special guests like author Sarah Jakes Roberts, FOX News' Gretchen Carlson and Duck Dynasty's Korie Robertson make appearances in certain cities.
Employed as an evangelistic tool for fostering fellowship among church groups, Women of Faith saw its 5 millionth tour attendee in 2013. Through the years, WoF also has launched a magazine and hosted webcasts/simulcasts. Partnerships with publishers and other vendors have led to the sale of many thousands of books, Bibles and gifts in arenas, online and through retail stores.
WoF attributes the brand's longevity and success to "the overwhelming support and stories we've heard from our attendees of how Women of Faith has helped them in their time of need or led them to salvation," WOF Spokesperson Kayla Swisher says.
The tour filled a market need when it started two decades ago.
"Women of Faith has been a success because there was no such event when we started 20 years ago, and it became a place where women could gather together and share in stories of laughter, hope and strength," Swisher says.
Speaker Luci Swindoll may have summed it up best in a recent 45-minute "Live From the Porch" webcast: "God done it!"
Several of the major personalities on the tour—Swindoll, Marilyn Meberg and Thelma Wells—are choosing to end their time on the road, although at their Orlando, Florida, stop, Meberg noted that she and Swindoll had already come out of retirement once to be part of the tour. Known for her humor, Clairmont is continuing with a new tour, Belong, with Hatmaker, Sarah Jakes Roberts, Shauna Niequist and Nichole Nordeman. WoF is also promoting a night of comedy, Get Ur Happy On, with Anita Renfroe, Braveheart Sisterhood with Sheila Walsh and Together, a tour with Brené Brown and Glennon Doyle Melton.
Tour attendees applaud with gusto when watching the fun video clips WoF personalities make. The fun, no doubt, will continue with an upcoming film about the WoF movement, which is expected in theaters Feb. 18 and Feb. 21.
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