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Gainesville elders hope to impart wisdom to youth during conference
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From left, Monique Cordero Segura, Rhonda Whelchel and the Rev. Jimmy Whelchel invite people of all ages and backgrounds to attend the Chosen Wisdom Conference on Saturday, June 15 at 2723 Tumbling Creek Road in Gainesville. - photo by Kelsey Podo

The word “wisdom” kept popping up into Rhonda Whelchel’s mind, until she decided to do something about it.

“I believe it was the Holy Spirit,” said Whelchel, a minister. “So many of the youth are making wrong decisions, and we thought the best way to speak to them is through people who have been there and done that.”

Chosen Wisdom Conference

What: Conference hosted by Chosen Women’s Ministries

When: 7-9 p.m. Saturday, June 15

Where: 2723 Tumbling Creek Road, Gainesville

Tickets: $7 per person

Contact: or 678-936-4712

From 7-9 p.m. on Saturday, June 15, Chosen Women’s Ministry will hold its first Chosen Wisdom Conference at The Oaks on 2723 Tumbling Creek Road in Gainesville. Senior citizens from around Hall County will facilitate the event, providing their spiritual testimonies and giving life advice.

Whelchel, one of the founders of Chosen Women’s Ministry, said the conference welcomes men and women of all ages, spiritual beliefs and backgrounds.
Her husband, the Rev. Jimmy Whelchel of Trinity Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in Gainesville, said he hopes people will feel inspired and break down “generational walls.”

“Back in the ‘60s it was common for the youth to talk to the elderly generation,” he said. “They’d go over to grandparents’ houses to get financial, relationship and Godly wisdom. Now there’s less person-to-person interactions. Because of that, generations have lost that connection.”

Seven speakers will lead the event, all of which are members of churches in the area. Whelchel said these guests will share their trials, testimonies and how God has affected their lives.

Myrtle Figueras, former Gainesville mayor, is the keynote speaker of the night. Other facilitators include Margie Carrington, Ann Frazier, Mary Elizabeth Westbrooks, Charles Dickey, Debbie Norris and local comedian Mother Hattie Sue.

Whelchel remembers when she was young imagining elders of her church as “perfect people who make no mistakes.”

Whelchel said she believes senior citizens need to be transparent about their pasts in order to bridge the gap between generations.

“They’ve got to be willing to share what they’ve been through, whether it’s drug addiction, abortion, whatever the case may be,” she said. “I’m looking forward to hearing them (speakers) and being even more encouraged.”

During the conference, Whelchel plans to incorporate her “cardboard ministry.” This includes people standing before the crowd while holding posters.

Participants first show one side of the cardboard, which displays a dark area of their life through writing. They then flip it over to reveal how they overcame the obstacle.

“It’s very powerful and no one speaks,” Whelchel said.

Chosen Women’s Ministries is still on the lookout for senior citizens to volunteer for the cardboard ministry.

Tickets cost $7 per person. Registration opens 30 minutes before the conference.

To sign up for the cardboard ministry or for more information about the Chosen Wisdom Conference, email or call Whelchel at 678-936-4712.

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Lead coordinators of the upcoming Chosen Wisdom Conference take a moment to pray for people at the square in downtown Gainesville on May 27. - photo by Kelsey Podo
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