NNMBC Women's Retreat

Guest Speakers

Guest Speakers

2024 Presenters

Reverend Charity Goodwin-Pastor, Author, Certified Coach & Speaker
“Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
The Gathering UMC at the Clayton site

As a mom, pastor, and one who has suffered panic attacks and body break down from stress and anxiety, Charity’s continual journey is to honor and navigate feelings and her place in life. Charity is here to help you do the same.

Rev. Charity Goodwin holds the view that faith is to be practiced not just believed. As a follower of Jesus and minister of the gospel, her first ministry is as mom to Gabriel and Levi.

Charity is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church. In addition to her role as Pastor of Spiritual Formation and Groups at The Gathering, she speaks, preaches and facilitates workshops on leadership, emotional intelligence, vulnerability and courage for Christians institutions or organizations. With degrees in journalism and divinity, she strengthens her ministry within in and beyond the walls of the church with credentials as a facilitator of Brené Brown’s research, a coach, practitioner and assessor of emotional intelligence. 

She’s spoken to both large and intimate groups in person, virtually, and on podcasts, 

Charity is author of GET UP: Unearthing Your Passion & Taking Brave Action in 50 Days and its facilitator guide, which she co-wrote with her mentee, Brittany Radford. 

Charity writes a weekly newsletter and blog. To get leadership and emotional wellness wisdom rooted in Christianity or to learn more about services for your institution, sign up here. 

Michelle Higgins, Pastor
St. John’s Church

Reverend Michelle Higgins holds a Master in Divinity from Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. She has deep roots in the Pentecostal worship tradition and lives in Saint Louis city with her two children.

As Senior Pastor at Saint John’s Church – The Beloved Community, Pastor Michelle is the first woman to be settled as lead pastor and teacher in the congregation’s 160 year history.

Pastor Michelle is a Director and founding member of Faith for Justice, a Christian advocacy group dedicated to continuing the biblical story of activism. Faith for Justice promotes public justice actions and leads training events that connect Christian communities to Black Power movements.

Rev. Higgins is proud to be co-founder and Board Chair of Action St. Louis, where she organized multiple bailout campaigns with national and local groups seeking to address the criminalization of poverty as it impacts Black people. This resulted in her launching the St. Louis office for the Bail Project, and serving as Lead Organizer for the campaign to #ClosetheWorkhouse, a local jail in St. Louis under lawsuit for inhumane treatment of inmates. As a member of the Operations team for the Electoral Justice Project of the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL), Pastor Michelle supports the work of organizations working nationally to ground local contexts in the Black queer feminist politic.

Pastor Michelle actively promotes the pursuit of social justice as a gospel imperative. She participates in civil disobedience and disruption for the sake of public justice; and often works as a consultant for event design, leadership development, and worship arts in faith spaces.

Apostle Elaine Woodson
Founder of Victorious Women in Christ (VWIC)

Apostle, Dr. Elaine I. Woodson is Founder of a phenomenal gathering of women known as Victorious Women in Christ (VWIC). It was her vision in 1997 that inspired six women to come together late one Friday evening while gathered around a kitchen table and give birth to this women’s fellowship that over the years has assisted countless women in gaining their freedom from spiritual bondage.

The Purpose of VWIC is to minister to and empower women to reach their fullest potential in Christ Jesus. The Mission of VWIC is to purposefully encourage women to have a continual prayer life and perpetual praise regardless of situations or circumstances in their life. VWIC will minister to all women regardless of their heritage, stage of life, religious background, or beliefs.

Originally from St. Louis, Missouri with roots in the state of Mississippi and on the continent of Africa, Dr. Woodson eventually realized that she too, like her father and grandfather, was a gifted Griot, having the ability to share history and culture through language and physical expression. Now a nationally known Professional Storyteller, Dr. Woodson perfected her craft as a classroom teacher for over 20 years. She retired after serving 15 years as an Elementary School Principal, having the only school in the district meeting the State of Missouri Academic Standards. Currently she is an adjunct professor at several universities in the St. Louis Metropolitan area.

Apostle, Dr. Elaine I. Woodson and her husband of 54 years, Apostle,  Dr. Claude Woodson are the Senior Pastors of Simply the Word Ministries. She is the proud mother of three beautiful daughters Tomiko, Renee and Chanell, the grandmother of 11 and Great Grandmother of 5. 

  Apostle Woodson teaches that Heaven and Earth will pass away but the Word of God will stand forever. Therefore, you must have a Word that you are standing on. She always wants to know your “Ready Word”. If someone comes into your bedroom and wakes you at 2:00 in the morning, as you rub sleep from your eyes – what is your Word? The “Ready Word” of God that speaks to the Apostle,  is found in Galatians 2: 20 “I am crucified with Christ never the less I live, yet not I but Christ liveth in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”


Retreat Information

Details of the Women’s Retreat

Date of the Retreat: July 25-July 27, 2024 (Thursday-Saturday)

Location: Toddhall Retreat Center; 320 Todd Center Drive; Columbia, IL 62236

Website: toddhallretreat.org

Map and Location


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