When we started the Faith & Culture Writers Conference in 2011 at Western Seminary in Portland, our initial idea was to offer our creative event every other year at alternating higher education institutions. As the years went on, the passion for the Faith & Culture Writers Conference grew beyond the Pacific Northwest, and we began attracting attendees from across the country. Advisory board members and key team leaders suggested we reconsider our timeframe, and return a year later rather than wait two years.
Humbled and honored by the positive enthusiasm and support we began holding our conference yearly, and this last one in 2015, we even added a mini retreat to the program as well as a creative art space. And, another highlight: Rachael Thomas created this beautiful masterpiece during our two-days together. So much beauty which was reflected in our awesome feedback this year. We heard: “Faith & Culture changed my life,” “This is such a life-giving event,” “You’ve helped me launch my writing dreams,” and “I’ve found my people in you.”
Yet, 2015 was a trying year for me and this year continues to be a struggle. As most of you know, I was in a near-fatal accident suffering a brain injury in January 2015; and it was only because of the FCWC leadership team rallying together, that we were was able to pull off the 2015 event in April. It truly was God, who has always been our focus.
After the 2015 conference, as I have continued to try and focus on healing and my family and the rest of my life, I have slowly been meeting with lead team members, advisors and FCWC cheerleaders, both veteran and new, to regroup, reimagine, plan and dream for future FCWC events. I knew I needed to step back this year.
After much consideration and prayer, brainstorming about possibilities, we have decided to rest for the remainder of 2016, and look to 2017 for our next Faith & Culture Writers Conference.
I am so incredibly grateful for the wonderful people who have come along to bring this wonderful conference to the creative community of faith. They are lifelong friends and I will never forget their hours upon hours of service. So many others have made this conference possible. I am also incredibly thankful for the various higher education institutions that have hosted us. It takes a lot to put a conference on!
Thank you for your encouragement, your prayers, your ideas, your support, your help, your believing in the vision. You are all part of our Faith & Culture Community.
In the mean time, other creative conferences have been reaching out to us to cross-promote their events, so we will let you know via our social media accounts and our blog.
And, if you are in the local PORTLAND, OREGON area, be sure to join us for our monthly Writers Connection. Our 2014 and 2015 conference emcee Velynn Brown, who came up with the word Sabbatical for our year of rest, is our new Writers Connection co-leader. We now alternate locations each month, between Rolling Hills Community Church in Tualatin, Oregon, and Genesis Community Fellowship in Northeast Portland. Our next meeting is Wed. March 17 at Genesis, featuring Paul Pastor, and in April, we return to Rolling Hills (Thursday April 21). Thursday, May 19 we have our end of the year celebration, location, TBA!
We will be keeping our blog going, so please consider contributing a piece! Email: email@example.com
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And, to end, I share with you our first theme verse from our inaugural event in 2011, one that keynote speaker Paul Louis Metzger gave us:
“But if I say, “I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.”
– Jer. 20: 9
Share your story; the story God has given you, His story in you! And tell us and the world when you do! Do keep in touch.
[Note: WORDS art created by Martin French. Dove art created by Rachael Thomas]