BROOKSVILLE — More than 100 local women attended the 2008 Living Proof seminar featuring Bible teacher Beth Moore in Louisville, Ky., last weekend — and they didn't even have to leave Hernando County.
Thanks to the generosity of Faith Evangelical Presbyterian Church, the seminar was simulcast via satellite by the Church Communication Network into the church sanctuary and shown on a 13-by-13-foot screen.
"We feel that using simulcast events is great," said David Steadman, director of operations for the church. "It's using new technology to conference on some of these great speakers and events and educate people in ways that we have not been able to do before. Our church has the technology to broadcast these events, and we want to share that with our community."
The two-day event at Faith drew women from about seven churches and from as far away as New Port Richey.
The women paid only the $25 charged by LifeWay, Moore's seminar host, for admission. The church provided snacks both days and a continental breakfast on Saturday. Child care was also provided.
"With the economy the way it is today and the cost of going to the conferences with travel and accommodations, this is great where people can just pay a minimal price for a ticket to attend and have fellowship in the local community," Steadman said.
Moore, who founded Living Proof Ministries in 1994, has worked in women's ministry since the 1980s. Her seminar last weekend, focusing on the parable of the sower, recorded in the Bible in Luke 8, was broadcast live to more than 70,000 women gathered in 715 locations in 49 states and four other countries.
Spring Hill resident Joan Poole and two of her friends attended the local event.
"I loved it. It was neat to think that it was live," she said. "I've done a lot of Beth Moore Bible studies and have had the DVDs going, but to think that there were so many women watching her was really neat. We weren't together, but yet we were together."
Carolyn Bronson, who works in women's ministry at Faith, helped coordinate the local event. She previously attended a seminar in Lakeland where Beth Moore taught in person.
"Unless you're right beside the stage anyway, you normally watch the speaker on a screen. So in that respect, it didn't feel a lot different seeing it on a screen here," Bronson said. "The message was so powerful, and many women were impacted. Several women came down front and asked for prayer and some had made decisions for Christ. So you don't have to be there for that message to pierce your heart."
Moore's worship leader, Travis Cottrell, and his team of singers and musicians, provided several sessions of worship and praise music.
Poole said it was the prettiest worship music she has heard. Bronson agreed.
"What was neat is that the words were on the screen," Bronson said. "I was so impressed with the quality of the vocalists and the heart of the singers."
A wife, mother and grandmother herself, Moore openly shares with her audiences some of the trials she has had in her life. That, said Poole, makes her easy to relate to. The response of women near her was very positive, she said.
"Beth Moore is a great Bible teacher, but she also has a great personality. She's very transparent," Poole said. "She tells great stories and she's got a good sense of humor. You can't help but really like listening to her.
Steadman said he's gotten encouraging feedback from the women who attended the seminar.
"Ninety-nine percent of the comments were very positive on everything — the simulcast and the facility," he said. "So many people were impacted and wanted to thank us. It made me feel good."
The church will be hosting more simulcast events, including one from Focus on the Family in September.
Beth Moore will make another "appearance" at the church as well.
"We'll definitely do it again," Steadman said. "I just put it on the calendar for the one next year."