EDUCATION

Living Out Loud Conference organizers plan for second event in Oxford

McKenzie Darnell
Oxford Stories
medarnel@go.olemiss.edu

Because of the success of the inaugural Living Out Loud Women’s Conference in Oxford this August, organizers are planning a second conference set for Aug. 24, 2019 and hoping to lure well known speakers.

Singer, songwriter and podcast host, Amanda Reed, helped create the event that was an extension of her podcast by the same name. Reed and friend, Alley Bell, created the Living Out Loud podcast that airs once a month. The two talk about life and encouragement and invite guest speakers to join them.

“Sometimes, we have people on there, and we laugh together or cry together,” Reed said, “but what’s so great about it is everyone has their own story, and when other people get to hear that someone is maybe going through the same thing as them and can be restored, it is very encouraging. That is why we do it.”

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Photo of Amanda Reed working on Podcast. Photo by McKenzie Darnell.

This year, Reed and Bell wanted to reach beyond the podcast, so they partnered with Oxford women to organize a conference. The Living Out Loud Women’s Conference was held in late August at the Oxford Conference Center and focused on freedom and restoration for women.

The lineup of speakers included best-selling author Rebekah Lyons and Cynthia Garrett, the first African American NBC late-night host; former Ole Miss football head coach Hugh Freeze’s wife, Jill Freeze; Pinelake Oxford Worship Pastor Jon Gilley and his wife, Heather; and podcast guests Whitney Cate and Mindy Lancaster.

Reed and Bell have organized a college team to recruit more college girls to participate in the next conference. They believe the conference will encourage and empower them. They are also seeking motivational speakers, such as  Priscilla Shirer, daughter of mega-church pastor Tony Evans.

Originally from West Monroe, Louisiana, Reed began singing at age 4.

“My mom told me I would sing before I could even talk,” Reed said. “It was when I was 9 and 10, I started singing at fairs and festivals and events, and when I was a teenager, I really started traveling for singing.”

For Reed, singing and songwriting are part of her ministry.

“I believe I was called by God to be an encourager,” she said. “Through music and songwriting, I feel I am able to encourage others. I have been singing my whole life, but I started songwriting about 15 years ago. That’s when I had stuff to write about. I had been through things and had stories to tell with my music.”

One of Reed’s four songs recorded and available on iTunes is called “Thank You.” She wrote it as a tribute to her mother-in-law, who she never got to meet because cancer took her life when her husband was in college. The song was unintentionally released to iTunes on Mother’s Day. She believes it was a “God thing.” The four songs include two country and two worship songs.

Elizabeth Williams, a Corinth native and 2017 University of Mississippi graduate, said she has been personally touched by Reed and encouraged by her support.

“It is such a blessing to have Amanda as a close friend of mine,” Williams said. “She has prayed with me and encouraged me through different seasons of my life. She is an amazing wife, mother, singer, podcast host and friend, along with so many other things. Everything Amanda does, she does well. The way that she encourages and uplifts those around her is so admirable.”

Williams attended the Living Out Loud Conference this year, and said she looks forward to Reed’s podcasts each month.

The Reed Family attends Pinelake Church in Oxford, where Reed is member of the worship team. Her husband, Lance Reed, is owner of Chick-Fil-A on West Jackson Avenue. She has three sons, Cade, Camden and Connor.

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