Beyond the mask conference Sept. 17–19

Everyone finds his or herself living behind a mask at some point in time, according to Life Church co-pastor Debra Bishop.

Bishop and Life Church want to help women learn to shed the mask through “Beyond the mask,” a women’s conference to be held this weekend, Sept. 17-19.

Bishop described a two-fold purpose for the event, which both relating to reaching out to women.

The event is meant to connect women who feel alone and to support those who have been truly abandoned.

“We all feel like life is a masquerade sometimes,” Bishop said. “People are lonelier than ever because we’re on Facebook and we’re Twittering, but we’re not having relationships with each other.”

Bishop said she’s most worried about it being that way even in church. She said many times women especially try to make their life look perfect. She said there is often a perception even within churches that a woman should always be able to keep her family and life running smoothly. But she said that shouldn’t be the case.

“The church needs to be a place we can come and be real before other people and before God,’ Bishop said.

Her second purpose was to raise funds for SafeHouse of Shelby County. SafeHouse provides a temporary home for women attempting to flee abusive or dangerous situations. All proceeds from the luncheon will go toward SafeHouse. The event includes a worship service Friday night at 7 p.m. with Bishop speaking and then another service Saturday at 7 p.m. with speaker Laura Powell of World Outreach Center in Oneonta. Powell has written a book titled, “Daddy’s Love: What Every Girl Wants, What Every Woman Needs.”

Sheri Keith of Life Church in Pelham will lead worship each night. Tickets for the weekend event are $40 at the door.