Nationally-known author to headline women’s meet

By HASKEL BURNS,

It’s not every day that a best-selling author and nationally-known Bible teacher gets a chance to visit and speak to Petal residents.

Which is exactly why officials from Carterville Baptist Church are excited to host Angela Thomas-Pharr as the guest speaker at this year’s Women’s Conference, titled “Gather With Intent,” March 1 and 2 at the church, 1115 Carterville Rd. in Petal.

“We usually try to do a large conference to involve all the community and the Pine Belt area, and even the outlying area, about once a year or every two years,” said Tammy Rainey, who serves as team leader for the women’s ministry at the church. “So this is one of those where we set out to find out what we felt like God was leading us to do.

“And Angela was one of the ones that was on top of my list – she is a wonderful Bible teacher. We’ve driven to Florida and Nashville to hear her speak, but we have never had her here in Petal. She is just so down to earth, and she has a wonderful way of teaching. She doesn’t sugarcoat anything; she just gives it to you.”

The two-day event will be held from 7-9:30 p.m. March 1 and 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at the church. Doors open at 6 p.m. March 1 and at 8 a.m. March 2.

Thomas-Pharr – who has published more than 16 titles, including Do You Think I’m Beautiful, My Single Mom Life and When Wallflowers Dance – will conduct three 40-minute speaking sessions. A North Carolina native, she is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Dallas Theological Seminary.

“She’s been married, she’s been a single mom, she has gotten remarried – God has just given her a wonderful man in her life that she dated in college,” Rainey said. “She has four children that are grown, she’s been a soccer mom, she’s been a room mom.

“She’s done everything that all of us she’s done – she’s been there. So she understands from our daily walk that she puts her pants on just like we do. She’s a lot of fun, and she’s just a wonderful lady.”

The event will also feature music from New Horizons Worship, a Starkville-based group that started out as the worship band for Sunday morning gatherings at New Horizons Christian Fellowship before completing a full-length album at their local studio.

“They’re really a neat group,” Rainey said. “One guy is from Australia, one girl is from England, the head of group teaches veterinary medicine at (Mississippi) State, and one of the guys goes to seminary.

“It’s just a really eclectic group. It was one of those things that I just felt God kind of turned me on to.”

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased by contacting Rainey at (601) 545-1010, online at cbcpetal.org/womens-ministry, or at the door at the time of the event. The $20 ticket price includes both days of the event.

Rainey said the event – which she expects to be attended by women from as far away as Alabama and Florida – has been helped by members of the community and the Petal Area Chamber of Commerce, who have given coupons for the church’s conference bags.

“When (those travelers) come, they’ll get to come and eat at our restaurants, and sit down and have coffee at our coffee shops, and go buy some stuff at the boutiques,” Rainey said. “They’ll get to see this is why we love Petal. This is what Petal’s about, and we’re very fortunate to live in the community in which we do.”