Cornelia’s passion is to pour her heart and soul into life, people, and to loving her five amazing children who are between the ages of 11 and 25, including identical twin boys, age 17. Two of her kids are married. Cornelia believes everyone has a story to tell and she tries to help people tell theirs in her work as a freelance journalist and in her blog. She’s been a regular contributor to The Oregonian since 1996, penning Family, community, faith and culture stories, and she’s also been published in Christianity Today, the Huffington Post, and Cultural Encounters, among others. In addition, she’s written two books, WriterMom Tales and Images of America: West Linn. She’s looking forward to penning more books on parenting, family life, living the extraordinary ordinary, and real-life. Cornelia has taught courses at Multnomah University, Portland State and George Fox; she served as the faculty adviser for Multnomah’s new student publication, MUSE, which she helped found. Cornelia is a substitute high school and junior high teacher and freelance editor, and in her past life, she served as a youth director at her church.
In her spare time, the mom of five loves to go on adventures with her kids, photograph, and travel. She loves networking, connecting and encouraging other writers, and is honored to serve as Founding Director of the Faith & Culture Writers Conference.
Bethany Jackson returns to as the executive admin for the 2015 conference after taking a year sabbatical, though her assistance behind the scenes for our 2014 event was priceless. She’s been involved since our 2011 inaugural conference. Her expertise in event management, administration, and facility coordinating is unmatched. She helps keep everyone organized and on task. Bethany’s gift for writing and story touches lives. Her professionalism, skill, service and heart are treasured.
Marc Schelske joined us for the first time at the 2014 Faith and Culture Writer’s Conference. He’s always been a maker, creating beautiful things, most often with words. But in the last three years, Marc has been making it a priority to get his writing out there where it can do some good. Marc’s the teaching elder at Bridge City Community Church where he’s served for almost 17 years. He’s 13 years married, with a head-strong 7-year old daughter named Emerson, and 5 year old son named Lucas whose more Tigger than boy. Marc’s twitter bio — that all-important 160 character summary of our entire lives — says that he is a Writer, speaker, hobbyist theologian, recovering fundamentalist who drinks tea & rides a motorcycle.
A love of stories – that’s what started Taylor Smith on her path to study journalism at Indiana University. At the beginning of 2013, she began her writing career as a features reporter at The Oregonian, the newspaper she grew up reading on Sunday mornings with her dad. On a daily basis, Taylor gets to see firsthand the beautiful and unique story our Father has given to each one of His children. To share these stories with the community at large is a blessing. Whether the medium is the written or spoken word, her role a listener or advocate, she is excited for what He has in store for her, shining His message through each conversation, interview and article.
In addition to freelance writing for The Oregonian, Taylor writes on her blog, taylorstaste.org, where she shares her thoughts of faith and the family table, and the stories of strong young women as role models for her generation. Taylor attended our 2013 conference and joined us on leadership in 2014. We are honored to have her return as the communications coordinator for the 2015 event.
Brooke returns this year as the Agents Coordinator after doing a fabulous job for the 2014 conference. Her introduction is simple: “My name is Brooke and I love to write.” She says that God gave her a vision a while ago where He personalized a gift for her by making it pink. This is when she started to realize that not only does He have huge plans for her, but “He really sees me. He personalized something to fit me specifically, and this is when I realized that He cares for me on a whole different level than I had ever given Him credit for. Since then I’ve had a new inspiration to serve Him and seek Him out in everyday things.”
So far she’s only considered writing to be an outlet and a hobby but recently felt the desire and calling to pursue it in a new way. “I have the most amazing friends and family who have supported me up until this point and I find it an honor that they would find inspiration in anything I write about. I simply hope to be able to inspire others if that is where God is leading this!” Brooke attended the 2013 event and joined the leadership team in 2014 as the fabulous agents coordinator.
Tony is husband to Aimee; father to three courageous and creative boys; unofficial ambassador of his beloved Portland; devoted to his neighborhood; honored by his communal household and a friend to the religious and irreligious alike.
His writing life involves books (including “Neighbors and Wise Men” (Thomas Nelson, 2012)), articles (including Leadership Journal) and profound playfulness through his blog (www.tonykriz.com).How did he get here? He was raised by Skip and Susie in the theatrical town of Eugene, Oregon. He spent his young adulthood in the developing world, including two years living with and being loved by a Muslim family in Albania.
He has learned the gospel along side non-religious barflies and undergrad geniuses at places like Reed College. He has stumblingly submitted himself to his diverse household, to multi-cultural communities and to those passionate about a rebirth of parish passion. Through words, both written and spoken, Tony hopes to give people permission to authentically feel/speak/struggle and to honestly express their faith-filled affections.Let the epiphanies come.
Tony has been to all of the Faith & Culture Writers Conference events, either attending or speaking. We are honored to have him serve on our Advisory/Visionary Board.
Matt returns as the writing competition coordinator for the 2015 after helping launch our first one in 2014! He explains his 2013 Faith & Culture Writing Conference experience as an attendee, saying it was a “life changing experience” meeting with an agent. Urged to write his memoir – he felt his writing career had begun. His passion for writing is born out of the tragedy of losing his father as he began to write to process his own feelings, his own story.
A barista at Starbucks providing the caffeine needs for many a writer, Matt also volunteers with hospice and is a group facilitator for The Dougy Center.
Matt believes writing is not something that happens over night. Great authors aren’t created over night. In fact, it is one of the few professions that our life experience in old age, makes us better authors. He look s forward to growing in his writing, surrounding himself by a supportive community, as God continues to hold his hand through life.
“He (the writer) cares; therefore, if he tinkers enough with his words, we do too.” -Edward Hoagland
Leah is a senior Journalism major at George Fox University. She is an aspiring journalist/writer/storyteller (she’s hoping to take away the “aspiring” soon). She has published works in the Oregonian, Prodigal Magazine (now “Common Oath”), Cardboard Magazine, and the Student Collective. She grew up in the lush, monsoon-beaded streets of India, but now is happy to call Portland her “home.” She’s an ISFP / Enneagram type 2, with a heart for Korean food, dancing (no, not the graceful kind), and her dorky, immigrant family.
She strongly believes in people, their stories, and the oxford comma. We are thrilled that Taylor asked Leah to join our team for the 2015 event! We said yes!