Two years ago, Peyton Lauderdale sat in Bible study only months after losing her newborn son. For an instant, a picture flashed in her mind of women sitting together in candlelight. She didn't think much of it at that moment but she couldn't get the thought out of her mind.
She began to feel a calling to help other moms have a safe place to remember their babies for an evening and to receive the closure they might not have gotten up to that point. Through months of hard work, amazing volunteers and some extremely difficult days, Gathering Hope was born.
On October 22, 2015 over 70 women came together despite torrential rains and an eventual power outage. With candles as their only light source, Peyton's realized her vision had come to fruition. The glimpse she had seen during Bible study, women supporting each other in candlelight, was here.
Many people asked Peyton after Gathering Hope 2015 if she was having another event the next year. She convinced herself that her job was done and she was now moving forward but that would not be the case.
In January 2017, Carol Vantine launched her blog, Matthew's Song, a website dedicated to helping women whose lives have been affected by pregnancy loss. Carol heard about Peyton and Gathering Hope from a mutual friend and reached out to her. Peyton knew immediately that she was being prompted to bring back Gathering Hope but waited for confirmation.
After they met for coffee the first time, plans for Gathering Hope 2017 began to fall into place. As news spread, volunteers quickly filled positions and the surrounding communities showed an outpouring of generosity. The Summit in Aledo and St. Paul Lutheran in Forth Worth, The Oaks UMC in Hudson Oaks and Sheps Place in Weatherford have generously donated to the event.
“Beauty from ashes. That’s the takeaway from Gathering Hope. We don’t want this to be a night of sadness,” Carol Vantine shared. “We want women to walk away feeling stronger knowing they aren’t alone. There is hope. There is life. There is happiness again.”