celebrate With us Equipping and praying with Canadian
women for 40 years.
The year was 1973. Pierre Trudeau was our prime minister, transistor radios were all the rage, and “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree”
was playing on eight-tracks everywhere. Construction
was beginning on Toronto’s CN Tower. Front page stories splashed the unfolding Watergate scandal, and radical
feminists rejoiced in the Supreme Court ruling on Roe vs.
Wade, making abortion a U.S. constitutional right.
Against this backdrop of social turmoil 1,200 women
gathered in Barrie, Ont., for the first Women Alive con-
ference. Speakers included Joni Eareckson Tada, Beth
For Nell Maxwell, a public health
nurse and mother of two, the conference
was a dream come true.
That dream had become clear to her
two years earlier at a conference of 3,000
women in the U.S., where she felt God’s
call to begin a deeper ministry to women in Canada.
She remembers, “I had sensed the need for a min-
istry that 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.”
Women wanting to study the Bible together by the
thousands piqued the curiosity of a young news reporter,
Moira Hunt. She contacted Maxwell and soon after came
to faith in Jesus Christ. Today Moira Brown is cohost of
the Christian TV program 100 Huntley Street. This April
she’ll also host our conference in Waterloo.
One of Maxwell’s key desires back in the 1970s was to
help women understand their God-given identity and worth.
Many people tried to fit Women Alive into the burgeoning
feminist movement, but Maxwell said the similarity ended
with the desire to see women’s roles recognized and valued.
Prayer has remained foundational for Women Alive.
“Corrie ten Boom was speaking at the 1975 convention
of 4,200 women at the University of Waterloo,” Maxwell
recalls. “There was a power outage throughout the twin
cities except in our building. The university staff told us
the only explanation was prayer.”
Volunteer teams sprouted up across Canada. The min-
istry added couples’ conferences, inductive Bible stud-
ies, schools of prayer, leadership training, Hope for the
Abused, a publication called The Branch, and a related
organization called Men Alive, directed by Nell’s husband
Ted Maxwell. Women Alive also became a voice for social
concerns affecting the family.
MichEllE ar Thur is executive director of Women
Alive. Celebrate our 40th anniversary with us in
Grande Prairie (March 8-9), Toronto (April 13) and
Waterloo (April 19-21). Visit www.womenalive.org or call
1-800-387-4753 for details or registration.