News Release

Three women from the Brooklyn Tabernacle Church shared touching testimonies of restoration, perseverance, and survival that prompted tears of joy, sadness, and gratitude during the Chicago Women's Conference April 30.

Under the theme "Beauty From Ashes," the conference focused on women who have rebounded from seeming despair to enjoy abundant victory. It drew nearly 1,000 women of different races and denominations to the Ozinga Chapel for a full day of worship, praise, and fellowship.

Carol Cymbala, director of the Grammy Award-winning Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, described the heart-wrenching ordeal of watching her daughter, Susan Pettrey, struggle as a teen-ager and young adult. Pettrey recalled the circumstances and feelings that led her to run away from home and question her faith before she reconciled with God and renewed her relationship with the Lord. Genelle Guzman-McMillan talked about her 26-hour burial in the rubble of the World Trade Center following the September 11 terrorist attacks.

"Each speaker had a message that connected to the women in attendance," said Dr. Barb Timmermans, who helped coordinate the conference. "Many of them could relate to Carol's and Susan's stories because they have children in similar situations whom they're concerned about and have prayed for.

"Genelle's testimony hit home on a different level. Her story about God's grace and faithfulness reminded us that no situation is too bleak for the Lord to overcome. Altogether, their experiences inspired and encouraged a lot of women in the audience."

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