The event which was themed "Celebrating with Joy in The Mountains," brought together women of many local church denominations throughout the area.
Committee chairperson Elaine Landis, of the Mary Helen United Methodist Church, said the purpose of the conference was to promote unity among all the area churches, regardless of denomination or affiliations.
"We are all 'Marys' here tonight," Landis said. "We have all set aside other things for the moment in order to come together and praise Jesus. We are all sisters in Christ."
Landis said although the committee was aiming for 200 in attendance, the event did not bring that many as of Friday. However, she also said that the turn out was still of an appropriate size.
"We should see this as a spiritual retreat for this weekend," Landis said during her welcoming speech.
Roszalyn "Rosz" Akins, a retired educator and mother and the main speaker at the event, is the wife of Pastor Dr. C.B. Akins, of First Baptist Church Bracktown, in Lexington. Akins who serves as an administrative assistant to the pastor (her husband) is also active in many of the church's ministries including teaching a young adult Sunday school class and acts as the church's women's ministry leader.
Akins, who earned her bachelor's degree from Transylvania University in Lexington and holds a master's degree from Georgetown College, is in high demand as a speaker for women's conferences and a facilitator for seminars. She is also the organizer of several Christian retreats for women with approximately 2,000 women from across North America attending.
Akins said she strives daily to live by her motto, "If Heaven is pleased, it doesn't matter who is displeased."
The conference kicked off with praise and worship in the form of song and performance by the Harlan County Express of Worship Team of the Harvest Center. The group did a song and motion performance of the Biblical story about the woman who had the issue of blood and came to Jesus with the faith that "If she could only touch the hem of his garment she would be healed." The performance received a standing ovation from the audience.
Other performances included sing-along songs led by committee member Martha McNiel and religious bluegrass solos performed by Darlene Howard, principal of Green Hills Elementary School.
The conference is scheduled to resume activities today with a continental breakfast served at 7 a.m., registration at 8:30 a.m. and the morning session beginning at 9 a.m.
Items on the agenda for today include greetings and prayer by committee member Barbara Wills, a testimony by Tammy Robinson, a teacher at Cawood High School, and solos performed by Kimberly Wills Lewis and Kelly Wills.