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Queensland women inspired by first Captivated conference in three years

Salvation Army officers (from left) Major Michelle Oliver, Major Wendy Watts, Captain Natalie Frame, and Major Sharon Clanfield at the Captivated conference.

After a three-year break due to COVID, there was a sense of excitement and a hunger to worship at this year’s Captivated women’s conference in Brisbane, according to Major Michelle Oliver, Area Officer, North Queensland.

About 200 women from all over South East Queensland registered for the 18 February conference held at Stafford Corps, Brisbane.

“It was a peak experience for everyone,” Michelle said. “Sometimes you don’t realise how much you miss something until it is taken away.”

Some of the 200 women who attended the Captivated conference at Stafford Corps.

The conference theme was ‘Aligning with Jesus’, with Tweed Heads Corps Officer Major Nicole Viles as the guest speaker.

In the first session, Nicole used the plumbline analogy from the book of Amos to explore the standard by which we measure if we are ‘plumb’. In the second session, she used Jesus’ sheep and goats parable to explore how justice is an act of God’s love and how he works for justice for everyone, which is then the standard for Christians in caring for each other.

“It was a privilege to share the word of God and unpack a very challenging vision for the 21st century,” Nicole said. “I was so encouraged how God spoke clearly to them, especially some who are very new to the Salvos.”

Powerful testimony Mel de Leon, a graduate of the Moonyah rehabilitation program in Brisbane, provided a powerful testimony of her journey from addiction into recovery.

Major Laura Gittins (left), Assistant Manager, Brisbane Recovery Services, interviews Mel de Leon about her recovery journey.

“My goal was to demystify alcoholism, educate so others understand how it happens to everyday people, and let those who suffer in secrecy, or suffer full-stop, to have some hope,” said Mel. “I sensed that many women were carrying a heavy weight, but there is nothing like hearing 200 women sing together to really lift the weight off their shoulders.”

Major Wendy Watts, Officer Personnel Secretary Team Leader, Queensland Division, led the last session on being Jesus-centred and community-focused.

“I really tried to build on the two previous sessions by Nicole,” Wendy said. Her talk explored how having a focus on those in need, helping make the culture of one’s faith expression vibrant and safe, building relationships with people of all nations, and having a vibrant spirituality, is Jesus-centred and community-focused.

The mission fundraising project for this year’s conference was for a dialysis machine for a hospital in India. It raised just under $5000 on the day.

“Captivated is a formula that works,” said Michelle. “Our ladies are really looking for fellowship, worship and teaching in ways they can’t always experience in their corps.”


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