A brief intro to some of the people you’ll be hearing from at BELONG tour events and here on the BELONG blog.
When it comes to BELONG, “I’m excited about the community of talent,” Nichole Nordeman says, “and loving people, and to be a part of that community.” A two-time Gospel Music Association winner for Female Vocalist of the Year, Nichole has won a total of nine Dove Awards and been named ASCAP Songwriter of the Year. She calls herself a “wrestling poet” who never shies away from life’s messier realities. Years ago this single mom of two won a songwriting contest that led to a recording contract and she’s been exploring questions through song ever since. We can’t wait to hear the questions (and answers?) BELONG will inspire.
“I do not want to do anything,” says Shauna Niequist, “that’s not built in the context of relationship.” That’s why she’s excited about the BELONG tour. “It’s like a family . . . . I love that we’re building this together.” Shauna is the author of several books and any number of mouthwatering recipes. She describes the BELONG tour experience this way: “We’ll talk about fear and courage and what it looks like to craft lives of meaning. There will be creativity and beauty and music. There will be laughter and connection. There will be space to fall apart, and space to stand and sing.”
After listening to Sharon Irving sing on America’s Got Talent, celebrity judge Howie Mandel told her “You could change the world with your voice.” Changing the world runs in Sharon’s family; her grandfather was a Baptist preacher who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King and later encouraged his shy granddaughter to make the most of her musical talent. Sharon loves to blend different art forms, describing herself as a singer, songwriter, poet, actress, and “spreader of holy mischief.”
Jen Hatmaker leads a colorful life and we’re not just talking about her house. (Although if you followed the Hatmakers’ home makeover on their HGTV show you know they live among some vibrant shades.) An author, pastor’s wife, and mom of five—plus assorted pets that include chickens and a “Cat That Is Not Ours”—Jen is funny, passionate, and relevant. “Listen,” she says, “there is a reason we are calling the tour BELONG. Because you do. Your friends do. Your neighbors do. Your colleagues do. . . We are setting a big table, girls. Come to us. We love you. We love your people. You can trust us . . . .”
If you think you’re going to sit back and relax during a session featuring Angela Davis, you’d best think again. In no time Angela will have you up and moving while she showers you with uplifting thoughts that will give you a whole new perspective on you. As Angela likes to say, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.” This former member of the USA Track and Field Team knows about challenges: she ran track professionally for Nike, made it to the Olympic Trials semi-finals, and was a 5-time All American. These days she inspires people off the track; Angela believes her true life’s work is to help empower those who are ready for change. (Could that be you?)
“One of the brave things we can do,” Patsy Clairmont says, “is come together to hear each other’s stories because our courage grows there.” This veteran speaker has been bravely sharing her inimitable stories, truth, and words of hope for years now. That’s even more impressive when you know Patsy once suffered from agoraphobia, afraid to leave her home. Now she dances across the stage leaving joy in her wake. She’s excited about ‘locking arms’ with the rest of the team to create this brand-new event experience. “I mean,” she says, “who doesn’t want a place to Belong?”
Expect to see some exciting announcements soon about additions to the BELONG stage team. Until then, make sure you have tickets for an event near you. Dates, locations, and ticket info here.