Jill Freeze, the wife of former Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze, is the featured speaker at the second annual gatHER women’s conference, set for Saturday, Aug. 25 at the Landers Center in Southaven.
Freeze brings her testimony of forgiveness in her married life to what will be about 700 area women attending the conference.
The gatHER Conference took place for the first time last year at the Hernando Performing Arts Center to about 450 women, said Tina Tatum, one of the organizers of the event. Tatum is a Christian speaker, writer and advocate on several faith-based and moral issues.
Freeze is expected to share her testimony and story of the tumultuous season in her family’s life when her husband resigned as Rebels’ coach in the midst of an NCAA investigation that included revelations of misconduct by Freeze centered on calls from his university-issued mobile phone to a number connected with a female escort service.
“Jill has a tremendous story of redemption in their marriage and their whole situation in Oxford,” Tatum said. “I think it’s a great testimony in what she has to say about forgiveness and how God really worked in their family. She was honestly very interested in what we were doing in DeSoto County. She’s a very humble lady, very on fire for the Lord.”
Tatum said gatHER is a faith-based initiative she and a group of other women started last year that will include worship, testimonies, and a panel discussion in addition to Freeze’s story.
“It’s bringing together women who are passionate about a relationship with Jesus Christ and with one another,” Tatum said.
Proceeds from the day are being earmarked to support a crisis pregnancy center in Olive Branch called the Mid-South Love Home.
‘Paige Kimberlin is the founder and it is a Christ-centered center where teenagers or young women that may not have an option for support and help while they are pregnant can come and live,” Tatum said. “They’ll help them through once they consider to keep their child and not have an abortion.”
The conference is from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 25 with doors to open at 8 a.m. Tickets may be purchased through the conference website, gather-women.com, and are $35 for individual tickets and $60 for VIP tickets that include a Meet and Greet in the morning ahead of the event with Jill Freeze, reserved seating and a complimentary T-shirt.
Vendors will also be featured during the gatHER Conference and Tatum said community support has been strong for the initiative.
Tatum cited how the conference actually became a testimony to one of the featured sponsors of last year’s event.
“Emily Layson, the owner of the Wooden Door which last year did our stage decor, didn’t fully realize the impact it would have on her business,” Tatum related. “Her family was not currently involved a local church, but they made a decision that weekend. They got their entire family, including grandparents, into Life Fellowship in Olive Branch. It showed her the importance of community with other women because it affected her business and her entire family.”
Tatum hopes the event will bring a sense of Christian purpose and community to women all across the area, regardless of life, faith or racial background.
“We’re all a work in progress and God has a purpose for each one of our lives and that He even has a purpose for any pain that we go through,” Tatum said. “God has a purpose in every season that we are in.”
Bob Bakken is Staff Writer for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.