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Join us for the Women's Retreat 2023

Empowered Women

The St. James AME Chicago Women's retreat is designed by women for women. The retreat gathers women from all over the country in one sacred virtual space. We will feature dynamic speakers that will help us grow deeper in our faith and in our relationship with God. This year's theme is: "Becoming: Walking in God's Purpose" from 1 John 3:2. 

Come with your sister, mother, daughter, or friend and experience the joy, the peace, and the love of God.

Inspired Women

Meet The Speakers

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Rev. La Tonja Ellis

Rev. La Tonja D. Ellis is an innovator, educator, pastor and community leader. Rev. Ellis is a career Human Resources professional with over 20 years of experience in private industries higher education, non-profit organizations, and public sector (mental/health substance abuse, community counseling and foster care and family wrap around services). She currently serves as the Director of Human Resources and Culture at the Children's Defense Fund. Over her career, she has utilized keen negotiation and communication skills, combined with in-depth knowledge of business environments, to provide the qualities needed to successfully help all clients. She also currently serves as the Senior Pastor at Grant Memorial AME Church in Chicago, IL.

Rev. LaShondra Stephens

Rev. LaShondra K. Stephens serves as Assistant Pastor at the Apostolic Church of God, and in addition to her Teaching and Preaching responsibilities, she facilitates Apologetic Research & Implementation throughout the ministries of the Apostolic Church of God. She is a second-generation preacher who has been blessed to teach and preach God’s Word throughout the nation. Rev. Stephens worked in production, promotions, and even as an on-air talent in several areas of media including film, radio, TV, and social media, including serving as an on-air host for the Emmy Award winning show Different Drummers. An entrepreneur, she is CEO and founder of PreacherGirlSwag

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Rev. Dr. Shakira Sanchez-Collins, MD

Dr. Shakira Sanchez-Collins, known as “Dr. Shakira”, is a wellness advocate, physician, preacher, pastor, speaker and writer.


Dr. Shakira helps people flourish in mind, body and spirit.  Through her work, she focuses on addressing the whole person.   A gifted speaker, Dr, Shakira was inducted in the 35th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Board of Preachers at Morehouse College. She has been featured in the Chicago Tribune and has also appeared on the podcast, Black Girl Fit Files. A prolific writer, Dr. Shakira has published articles in ABC News Online, Urban Cusp Magazine, American Diabetes Association Diabetes Spectrum Journal, among others. Dr. Shakira serves on the board of The Daughters of the African Atlantic Fund, an organization that seeks to enhance the quality of life of continental and diasporan African women and girls.

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