Rochester welcomes thousands to the Thrive Women’s Conference

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(ABC 6 News) – A women’s conference that usually happens in St. Cloud, Minn. has made it’s way to Rochester. It brings together thousands of women from across the state.

Bridge the Gap, a faith-based organization, is hosting the event in downtown Rochester at Mayo Civic Center. The conference is two days of lectures, music and vendors – all centered around faith. Organizers said coming back from the pandemic hasn’t been easy.

"Let me tell you it has been just insane and crazy," said Carol Lund, director of Bridging the Gap.

"It’s a little bit of a different dynamic with being in a new city," said her administrative assistant, Kristen Ostrem.

This is the conference’s first year in Rochester because the group outgrew their old place in St. Cloud. Mayo Civic Center gives room for more people and for social distancing.

"I would have to say that we will be back in Rochester next year," Lund said.

For the event organizers, being back together in-person is everything.

"You know we’re human beings. And regardless if there’s a mask mandate or whatever we still need each other," Lund said.

They say a large part of their faith is being together and remembering they’re not alone.

"People need to gather. They need to worship. And they need each other," Lund said.

She said that was hard to remember during the isolation of the pandemic. That is why this year’s conference theme is hope.

"We can gather. We can do it. Correctly. We can abide by the rules of the house so to speak. Or the rules of the city," Lund said.

"Our hope is that people would walk away with hope that he has a plan for their life," Ostrem said.

Event organizers hope their new location in Rochester will bring more people to their conference. They expect to fill the Civic Center Next Year.