Singer CeCe Winans believes God anointed her to speak to today’s generation of young people. “We have millions of kids who need to know that they are loved. I want them to know that God loves them and that they are valued,” said Winans who will be turning 48 years old this year.
That’s why the beautiful and humble singer created the Always Sisters and Forever Brothers youth conference, which she hosts each year.
The mission of the conference is to educate, motivate and redirect the choices of our teens, young women and young men. The Always Sisters Forever Brothers national conference is under the umbrella of Sharing the Vision, an initiative also founded by Winans to empower young adults.
“God put this in my heart years ago,” she recalled. “I started recording when I was a teenager and I would receive mail from young people and I still do. I want to redirect the lives of young people. God is building up a generation of young people who will stand up religiously for Christ.”
“A lot of our girls are looking for love in wrong places due to fatherlessness, some kids have HIV. A lot of kids are hurting and are confused about who they are and are confused about their sexuality. They need to learn that they can do the right thing. The need to know they are fearfully and wonderfully made,” she continued.
Now entering its sixth year, the 2012 conference will be held at the Belmont University Curb Event Center in Nashville July 19-21. Registration is free.
According to her, the budget for the conference is approximately $400,000. She estimates that it costs about $150 to sponsor a child’s attendance to the conference.
“We are asking people to step up and donate to help the generation,” she said.
This year’s conference guests are Judge Greg Mathis, Israel Houghton, Delores “Mom” Winans, Dianne Manusama, CeCe, and her husband, Alvin Love.
Saturday night concert guests are comedian Akintunde, Jessica Reedy, Canton Jones, Tye Tribbet and Kiki Sheard.
She said she is expecting 4,500 participants at this years Always Sisters Forever Brothers benefit.
She gauges the success of the conference by the number of people whose lives are changed during the two-and-a half day experience.
“All the testimonies have been great. One young man who was made to come to the conference got saved and filled with the Spirit. He went home, gave his suicide note and pills to his mother and now he is in college and on fire for God. It just shows me that when we come together and God’s hands are untied, amazing things happen,” she said.
In addition to her work with today’s youth, Winans is still blessing the world with her beautiful voice. She recently joined Donnie McClurkin in concert at Soliders and Sailors Memorial Hall to perform at the Women’s Walk for Peace annual fundraising event on Mother’s Day.
The concert was co-sponsored by the Savoy Restaurant and the North Side Coalition for Fair Housing.
This year’s fifth annual Woman’s Walk for Peace will take place in October. The two-mile walk will begin on North Charles Street in the North Side and end near the Aviary.
“We have been doing concerts for the past five years to raise money for the Women’s Walk for Peace,” explained North Side Coalition for Fair Housing Executive Director, Ronell Guy-Curtis. “Sometimes we bring in R&B artists and sometimes we do gospel.”
Dressed in a red poncho trimmed in black and black leggings, Winans lit a fire under the audience with hits like “Well, Alright” from her Everlasting Love album, “Hallelujah Praise (The Highest Praise)” from the For Always: the Best of CeCe Winans album and “It Ain’t Over” from the Grammy, Dove and Stellar award winner’s Thy Kingdom Come effort.
It was a night of anointed music.
When she isn’t performing, Winans doesn’t sit on her laurels.
She is currently in the studio now laying down demos for her upcoming album that will be released later this year.
Her son, Alvin Love III, is penning a lot of the music for his mother’s new record. The first single will be “Friend,” which was written by Alvin to chronicle the relationship between the Winans family and Whitney Houston.
“It’s an awesome song that sums up my relationship with her. She (her death) was a hard blow for us, but we all have to face that and this song help people deal with losing a loved one,” she said.
In addition, Winans and her husband started the National Life Christian Church in Nashville. The couple is serving as co-pastors to about 30 members of the church, which is currently being held in their Tennessee home.
“I’m not trying to be superwoman. This is about saving the lost and bringing them to the Lord,” she said.
Currently the she’s trying to find a building in Nashville to purchase to house the church.
“Once we find a building, we’ll announce it more. But we are going to be a church of action. It’s going to be come as you are and it will be a multi-cultural congregation,” she said. “I am so excited! This next generation is not traditional. They just want to have an encounter with God.”