Women form a religious league of their own at the Rose Bowl
'We're different when we're hanging out with the girls'May 17, 1997
Web posted at: 7:30 p.m. EDT
From Correspondent Jim Hill
PASADENA, California (CNN) -- Thousands of women have formed what might be called a religious league of their own in Pasadena's famous Rose Bowl this weekend.
It's called Chosen Women and has drawn women of all ages for two days of evangelical Christian songs, prayers and speeches.
The often-emotional experience was organized for women to examine their lives, their faith and their ties with each other.
"It's not anti-men," one of the participants said. "It's just a place for women to get together and bond in unity. To be strong women of God, we have to hang around with strong women of God."
Although it was the first gathering of the Chosen Women, the event reflects what appears to be a trend toward combining religion and gender. Susan Kimes, one of the organizers, said the idea is to recognize the significance of women worshipping together.
People are trying to cope with life's changes
"I think it's really important for men to be with men and women to be with women, because we can be ourselves," Kimes said. "I think we're different when we're hanging out with the girls."
"The world is moving very quickly," said Robin Goldberg, a professor of women's studies. "The old forms don't seem to be holding.
"As there is change, there are new forms, and the new forms don't seem to be meeting people's needs. So there's a movement towards banding together and also finding community and spirit together."
For several years now, there has been a Christian men's group known as the Promise Keepers. They have held large rallies around the country that stress the duties and responsibilities of Christian men.
"It's to help them be better men," said Steve Ruppe of Promise Keepers. "To be stronger in their beliefs and to be servants to their families and their communities."
Organizers say rally paid for itself
Whether the Chosen Women rally will be a yearly event has not yet been decided. Nor is it clear whether the group will reach the magnitude achieved by Promise Keepers.
But organizers say their first try was successful enough to pay the $850,000 cost of the conference. And while they didn't come close to filling the Rose Bowl, they believe they have filled a need in thousands of women.