It’s a good name to describe down-to-earth “real” women, determined to live out their dreams and fulfill their God-given potential.
Women Alive began in 1973 because Nell Maxwell dared to believe that her dream could become a reality. Against a backdrop of social turmoil over issues such as the role of women in society, Nell was passionate in her desire to bring women together across Canada, and provide a gathering venue where they could be equipped and encouraged in their faith. Hosting women’s conferences in that era was unique and new.
Nell shares her thought on the beginnings…
“In 1971 I attended a conference of 3,000 women and at that time I felt God’s call on my life to begin a deeper life ministry to women in Canada. I had sensed the need for such a ministry which would challenge women to find fulfillment in their relationship with God and subsequently with their world. Never did I ever imagine what God would do in the months and years ahead.”
Nell further comments on the development of Women Alive…
“One year later, after much prayer and preparation with staff and a National Executive, we held our first conference in Barrie, ON, with a registration of 1,200 women. It was a life-changing conference and the beginning of a ministry that would stretch coast to coast in Canada. Our programs included: annual national conventions, couples’ conferences, regional conferences, and ‘coffee and dessert’ events, plus seminars for: inductive Bible studies, schools of prayer, prayer network and letter, leadership training, ‘Hope for the Abused’, social concerns, publication of “The Branch”, introduction of Precept Ministry studies, ‘Experiencing God’ studies. In 1998 a heritage building in Barrie was beautifully renovated giving us 5400 sq. ft. of office space.”
In 1992 the ministry was incorporated with the first Board of Directors elected. Nell Maxwell gave direction to the ministry for 30 years. In the development of every ministry there are many marked miracles and highlights. Nell shares one of those times:
“Corrie ten Boom was speaking at the 1975 convention of 4,200 women at the University of Waterloo. There was a power outage throughout the twin cities except in our building. The University staff told us the only explanation was prayer. Prayer was the foundation of every aspect of Women Alive.”
Nell’s prayer for the continued ministry:
“Now that I have stepped aside from this ministry, my prayer and hope for Women Alive is that it will remain faithful to the mandate which I believe God has given. That is to encourage women and married couples in their walk of faith, to equip them in God’s Word and prayer, so they will be prepared to share the good news of the gospel to a world that has lost its way.”
Margaret Gibb, Nell & Ted Maxwell
1973 – Women Alive founded by Nell Maxwell in Barrie, Ontario.
1973 – 2000 – See recap above.
2001 – Margaret Gibb becomes President.
- National office moves from Barrie to Brantford.
2006 – Women Alive Magazine launch nationwide.
- ie girl Mentoring Program launch.
2010 – Michelle Nagle, now Michelle Arthur, becomes Executive Director.
2011 – National office moves to new location in Brantford.
- New website launches with interactive online ministry and team of 10 website contributors from across Canada.
- Development of two new initiatives: Mentoring Women ~ A Catalyst for Churches and Press Pause Retreats
2012 – Mentoring Women ~ A Catalyst for Churches launches in Brantford, Ontario.
- Press Pause Retreats launch in Kelowna, British Columbia.
2013 – Our 40th Anniversary!
History in the Making… An Update on Women Alive Today
Over 35 years later, Women Alive, this uniquely Canadian ministry, is stronger than ever along with its unchanged mission to unleash a woman’s potential to become all that God intends her to be.
The words ‘changed lives’ sums up the history of Women Alive. We believe in transformation but only God can change a life. Our conferences are designed to be divine encounters and life-changing experiences. We are thankful for this ministry in which many women come to personal faith and many more rededicate their lives to Christ every year.
Over the years, Women Alive has been the launching pad for many new ministries in Canada. Women have been able to serve in a variety of capacities, developing confidence in themselves and in their calling, and then move with a new focus into other areas of need.
Life has changed in the past 30 years and so have women’s ministries. While speaker-taught conferences still appeal to many women, others want to be able to customize their day with interaction among a variety of speakers and with presentations relevant to all aspects of their daily lives.
In addition to Women’s Conferences, our current ministry initiatives include:
- ie girl (inspire excellence in everything by example) – our dynamic mentoring program for teen girls, moms, and mentors
- Growing national prayer ministry with intercessory Prayer Network
- *New in 2012* Mentoring Women ~ A Catalyst for Churches - providing training and resources to nurture a mentoring culture in your congregation for generations to come
- *New in 2012* Press Pause Retreats - 3-day intimate retreat setting to be set apart and ‘Press Pause’, engaging women to worship, reflect, restore, renew, and refresh their faith. Our regional ministry teams create a safe place for intentional spiritual growth, mentoring, and peer-to-peer encouragement. We encourage women to attend with a friend to share the experience together and to continue in peer-to-peer mentoring beyond the retreat.
Much more on the way!