Called to Freedom is a conference for the purpose of rebuilding theology, faith, and community for those who have left or are leaving hyper-fundamentalism (or supporting those who are).
While the hosts’ personal experiences are in Oneness Pentecostal and Trinitarian Holiness Pentecostal groups, we look forward to welcoming attendees who have backgrounds in the Conservative Holiness Movement, Branhamism, Independent Fundamental Baptist churches, Bill Gothard’s teachings, Mennonite churches, Seventh Day Adventism, and more!
Leaving exclusive church groups where extra-biblical rules are priotized often results in loss of community, loss of identity, and even loss of faith—especially when spiritual abuse was endured. The thought of finding a healthy church and starting over is overwhelming. Where do you begin?
At the Called to Freedom Conference, we are going to grapple with this question head-on. We are looking forward to two days filled with:
- Powerful speaking sessions,
- Thought-provoking panel discussions,
- Inspiring testimonies of thriving after hyper-fundamentalism,
- Relational table discussions (small group style),
- A night of games and fun!
Join us for a weekend of learning from the hosts of the top-ranked podcast on cults and world religions, making new friends, and encouraging one another in Christ—all while focusing on the grace, love, and freedom found in the gospel!
“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”
— Galatians 5:13 —
More About Our Speakers…
We’re honored to have Jeremiah Roberts and Andrew Soncrant, hosts of the Cultish show, as our speakers! The Cultish podcast lauched in October 2018. In the 4 1/2 years since, it has been consistently ranked in the top 100 podcasts under religion and spirituality. Last fall, World Magazine published an op-ed about Cultish, “Off the Narrow Path: Understanding the Cult Mentality.” In their 200+ episodes, Jeremiah and Andrew have interviewed a wide variety of guests, from Warren Jeffs’ 65th wife to Mike Rinder from Scientology and the Aftermath. They have personally made several appearances on Relatable with Allie Beth Stuckey, among other shows and podcasts.
Given Jeremiah and Andrew’s years of research into high-control groups and extensive interview experience with cult-survivors, they are the perfect speakers for breaking down red flags of an unhealthy group, discussing the process of finding healthy faith community, and helping us better understand how to establish our identity in Christ (in contrast to finding our identity in a church group). The Cultish hosts don’t speak on the road often, so this is a special treat. ‘See you in the live audience, July 28-29!
We’re honored to have Naomi Wright and Aurelio Lessey as guest panelists in our discussion regarding recognizing and recovering from spiritual abuse. We pray their insight and wisdom on this sensitive topic will strengthen you on your journey of healing.
Naomi is the daughter of a pseudo-Christian cult leader. She was raised, yet hidden, within mainstream culture and public school education, where no one knew—or the few with a sense of something, stayed silent. She did not know this was the case until she was 28, from which point she has sought after truth with a questioning mind, adamant to never find herself so lost again.
Naomi holds a Master of Science in Social Work from the University at Buffalo (Summa Cum Laude), is licensed in the state of Colorado, and completes a Master in Arts in Christian Studies from Denver Seminary this summer. Her areas of specialty include death and dying, grief and loss, spiritual abuse, including cult abuse, as well as biblical studies.
Naomi Wright is founder and director of beEmboldened, a nonprofit ministry. beEmboldened exists for those impacted by religious trauma by providing support for the prevention of victimization and revictimization, creating a safe space to ask questions and to heal. You can learn more about beEmboldened resources here.
Listen to Naomi’s appearance on Not Ashamed, episode #6, “What is the Role of Faith Community?”
Aurelio Lessey is a minister of the gospel, devoted husband, and proud father of three kids. He was formerly a licensed minister within the UPCI, which he was a part of for sixteen years. You can find him on his Youtube Channel, Keepin’ It In Context, where the goal is to empower Christians to experience a healthy relationship with Christ and a balanced understanding of God’s Word.
Here at Berean Holiness, we greatly appreciate Aurelio’s volunteer service as an assistant community group leader.
Sharing Their Stories
We’re honored to have Tracy Bowen, Jennifer Brallier, and Anna Bledsoe coming to share their stories of transitioning out of hyper-fundamentalism and finding freedom in the gospel of grace. We pray their testimonies of God’s stedfast love and faithful guidance will encourage you in your pursuit of biblical truth.
Tracy Bowen was raised and married within the Conservative Holiness Movement. She knows what it’s like to experience soul-crushing abuse, to the point of believing that God could never love her. She knows what it’s like to feel such discouragement that she didn’t see the point in going back to church, and only did so for her children’s sake. But Tracy also knows what it’s like to be “loved back to Jesus.” She has experienced the goodness of God when He not only repaired her marriage, but wrapped her in His love and restored her heart.
Tracy and her husband, Matt, have served in full-time ministry for over eight years at Christ Fellowship Church in South Florida. She feels deeply for those who are impacted by abusive and toxic religious environments, and is passionate about sharing with them the healing, hope, and joy she has found in Jesus. You can find her at “The Hard Work of Hope” on Instagram and Facebook, and listen to her appearance on Not Ashamed, episode #3, “What Does it Look Like to Distort the Gospel with Fear and Shame?”
Jennifer Brallier was raised within the Independent Holiness Pentecostal Movement. She did her best to measure up as a “good Holiness girl”—she didn’t cut her hair, wear jewelry, makeup, or pants. But even with all outward rule-following, she was still immodest in the biblical sense. She testifies now that God opened her eyes to see that she was full of pride and self-righteousness. As Jennifer began to study the Bible for herself, the Lord transformed her life. He convicted and delivered her from sin, and showed her that she did not have to earn His love—it was freely given. She now walks in genuine relationship with Christ, rejoicing in the peace and security He brings.
You can follow Jennifer on Instagram at @jenbrallier, where you’ll find her sharing her journey from legalism into the freedom of the gospel, her testimony of surviving type 1 Chiari Malformation (a rare chronic brain condition), and the biblical gospel of grace.
Listen to Jennifer’s appearance on Not Ashamed, episode #7, “What Does it Look Like to Have a Personal Relationship with Christ?”
Anna Bledsoe was raised in the United Pentecostal Church International (Oneness Pentecostalism). As a teenager, she became exhausted with the confusing rules. Thinking that her desire to wear pants must mean she didn’t truly love Jesus, she gave up on faith and Christianity entirely. Anna found herself in a dark place as the years passed; she turned to paganism, witchcraft, and the LGBTQ lifestyle to fill the spiritual void. God wasn’t done writing her story. He was faithful to call her to Himself, using the book “The Case for Christ” by Lee Strobel to open her eyes to the reality of Jesus and her need for Him. Transformed and willing to do anything for her Savior, Anna returned to the only church she knew—the United Pentecostal Church. But, the more she learned of UPCI teachings, the less sense they made.
Anna’s faith journey corresponded with her battle to beat cancer. In her testimony, she’ll be sharing how God was faithful through the darkest of seasons, and how He led her into a biblical understanding of the gospel of grace and a right relationship with Him.
Called to Freedom Schedule
Friday, July 28
10:30 AM, Doors Open/Registration Begins
12 PM: Jeremiah Roberts: Transitioning to a Healthy Church
1:45 PM: Freedom Story: Tracy Bowen
3:15: Panel Discussion: Recognizing & Recovering from Spiritual Abuse
4:45: Freedom Story: Jennifer Brallier
6:30 PM: Catered Meal & Game Night
Saturday, July 29
9 AM: Andrew Soncrant: Identity in Christ
10:30: Panel Discussion: Walking in Freedom
Break for Lunch: 11:50 PM – 2:00 PM
Live Cultish Podcast Recording During Lunch Break (Optional)
2:00 PM: Q&A Session with Jeremiah Roberts and Andrew Soncrant
3:00 PM: Freedom Story: Anna Bledsoe/Berean Holiness Ministry Update
Called to Freedom Sponsors
Desert Road Ministries is Sponsoring Game Night!
We’re so grateful to Desert Road Ministries for making it possible to provide a catered full meal for all attendees, as well as games: cornhole, giant Jenga, table games, group trivia, and so much more. Game night is an incredible opportunity for us to relax, be ourselves, and connect with believers who can relate. We hope and pray supportive friendships will be formed that last long beyond the event itself.
“Desert Road Ministries exists to enrich the spiritual health of ministry leaders and their families. We envision a worldwide spiritual awakening led by ministry leaders and their families who have encountered God on their personal desert roads. We are here to meet ministry leaders and their families where they are. That includes church division, parenting, couples therapy, mental health issues, crisis events, infidelity, addiction, empty faith, jail/prison, developing healthy teams/staff, etc. Our team is dedicated to meeting you on your desert road – wherever that may be. Our team prayerfully carries out its mission by providing three core services: Ministry Burnout Prevention and Recovery Program, Family Support, and The Oasis Clinic.”
Learn more about Desert Road Ministries and the resources they provide here.
Covert Enterprises, Inc. is Sponsoring the Snack and Drink Station!
We’re so grateful to Covert Enterprises, Inc. for sponsoring complimentary snacks and drinks—from coffee and tea, to lemondade and Gatorade, to trail mix, Milanos, granola bars, chips, cookies, fresh fruit and more. Given the summer weather, keeping beverages at hand will play a key role in keeping everyone hydrated and focused. The complimentary snacks will not only keep hunger from becoming a distraction, but also create a natural hang-out spot between sessions. A huge thank you to Covert Enterprises, Inc. for making this possible.