Making a Way in the Wilderness


It is so exciting to be back this year for the second Faith & Culture Writers Conference on April 5 and 6, 2013.  I am especially grateful to be at Multnomah University where I serve as the faculty advisor for MUSE student publication, which I helped launch in 2011.  I have been an adjunct professor at Multnomah since 2010, and I am thrilled that Multnomah has caught the vision for this conference.

I have been a freelance journalist for The Oregonian since 1996, specializing in faith, culture, family and community stories.  Bottom line is I pen positive stories about ordinary people doing extraordinary things.  Over the years, people have asked me how I got started writing and how am I able to share so many stories of faith. I believe that our culture is hungry for stories that share hope and faith and community.  We need to be looking for those stories and be willing to share them.  Creativity and the literary arts — indeed, all the arts — are a gift from the Creator.

I love connecting and networking engaging fellow people of faith to encourage them to embrace their creative calling. I have always viewed my writing as a ministry, as a calling, as a way to share truth.  Quoting Martin Luther on my Twitter account, I believe that, “If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write.”

At Rolling Hills, I had put out a call for writers of any and all genres to meet for a time of fellowship.  We had 50 people show up in a space for 25. It showed me that people of faith are interested in this creative calling and they want to gather in community to encourage one another.  Fellow believers are looking for a place to bond around their mutual love for creativity and the Word.  That is when we began dreaming of a larger event, where we would gather hundreds of creative people of faith together for a day to engage, encourage, challenge, and inspire one another in this mutual creative calling on our lives.

I had been involved with the Network for Women in Leadership at Western Seminary, where they used to host a women’s writers conference every other year under the direction of Bev Hislop.  She decided to cease that conference, but was open to something new.  That is when we began meeting and talking about my vision for the Faith & Culture Writers Conference.  She loved the idea and allowed us along with a great leadership team to bring the conference to their campus in 2011.

It was such a wonderful, overwhelmingly positive day filled with creative energy.  I had people come up to me during the event and say they’ve never been to anything like it.  One man wanted to duplicate this in the Seattle area.  Something about the event struck a cord.  People asked if we would return in 2012, but my daughter Rachel was getting married that year and so I knew I could not plan it.  But, 2013 was on my radar.

When the time got closer to think about another conference, Western Seminary decided they were going in another direction (plus, we had outgrown that venue our first year), so I approached Multnomah University.  That made the most sense to me as I am on staff there.  I am grateful that Dean of Campus Life Dave Groom–whom I report to as the faculty advisor for MUSE student publication–love the idea as well.

God laid on my heart those who should help head up the conference this year.  It was a no-brainer to have Bethany Jackson return.  I asked her to join our conference leadership planning team in 2011 and her expertise in event management and facility coordinating was priceless.  This year, Bethany serves as Administrative Assistant.  Kari Patterson was another one that came to mind right away as another potential planning team member.  Kari introduced herself to me at the 2011 conference after the breakout session I led on Freelance Writing.  A fellow West Linn mom, Kari’s soft heart and drive to write is contagious, and she happily joined the team for the 2013 conference, serving as the communications coordinator.  I met Ashley Larkin, this year’s literary agent and mentor coordinator, two years ago, falling in love first with her writing on her blog.  With so many shared connections, including West Linn and the University of Portland, I invited her to my Writers Connection at Rolling Hills, and we have been friends ever since. Her soft heart and get-it-done attitude are exemplary, and our theme verse Isaiah 43:19 came from her.  Ana Brors, our Social Media strategist and web designer, reached out to me on our Faith & Culture Writers Connection Facebook page this year.  She had attended our 2011 event and loved it.  I found her expertise in social media so helpful, asking her to join our leadership planning team as well.

We are excited about our top-notch line up of speakers for 2013. S ome big names — William Paul Young, author of the Shack, Ken Wytsma, The Justice Conference Founder, Brian Doyle, author of 13 books, Dan Merchant, Lord, Save Us From Your Followers filmmaker and producer — and we also have some lesser known names whom I am excited to introduce into the conversation around the intersection of faith and culture and the arts– Keith Turley, author, publisher and marketer from Seattle, Tyler Braun, 20-something pastor, blogger, and author, and Christal Jenkins, speaker and author of three books.  And, Martin French, an exquisite artist, illustrator and art professor, once again designed our classy WORDS logo, incorporating our new theme.

One of the things noted on the survey we took after the conference in 2011 was that people wanted more fellowship during the conference. Time to talk with fellow attendees and speakers.  So we have added Friday night this year, and an after the event social hour on Saturday.

Feel free to shoot me an email with questions at

Or text or call me 503-318-3480

You may also get a hold of our conference administrative assistant Bethany Jackson at


  1. Bethany Jackson February 17, 2013

    We are so excited for the conference! Thank you for all of the hard work you have put into it and the vision you have shared to make it possible.

  2. Cornelia February 18, 2013

    Bethany- Thanks for your comment and it brings me a lot of joy to be able to bring together so many creative people, to help encourage and inspire them in their creative calling. I believe the vision is from God and I am glad you are back helping us again, this time in an expanded role. Thank you for your enthusiasm and sacrifice!- cornelia

  3. Joan Callander April 2, 2013

    I can’t encourage you enough to attend. Chad Dingle (my adopted son/grandson) and my book, Adiction & Families: A Survival Guide was shaped and changed dramatically by what we learned at the faith and cultural writers conference two years ago. YOU, as an attendee, will gain a lot but you never know when someone you speak to or encourage at the event will change their life and the lives others by something you say or share.

    Cornelia and Bethany have again put together an amazing slate of speakers and event — you’ll learn more here than anywhere about the art and hard work of honoring God by sharing your gifts through whatever media you choose from tweets to digital books to movies.

    Joan Callander

  4. Making a Way in the Wilderness - MU Blog | MU Blog April 4, 2013

    […] a version of this post is found at Faith & Culture Writer's Conference website […]

Add Comment


“God has filled us with the Spirit, and with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills. . . to engage in all kinds of artistic crafts.” – Exodus 35:31-33

 Faith & Culture Writers network exists to engage, inspire, challenge, and validate fellow writers of faith as we seek to celebrate the very gift of creativity bestowed on us by the Great Creator Himself. 

The Fourth Annual Faith & Culture Writers Conference is set for April 10-11, 2015 at Warner Pacific College in Portland, OR.  Emily P. Freeman,  Romal Tune, Nish Wiseth, Tony Kriz, Simone Dankenbring, Josh Butler, Bob Welch, Cornelia Seigneur, AJ Swoboda, Seth and Amber Haines, Emily Maynard, Alex Marestaing, Chip MacGregor, Elizabeth Stewart, Micah J. Murray, Karen Zacharias Spears, and Rochelle Carter are among the featured speakers.

The Faith & Culture Writers Connection is a diverse, faith-based creative community of writers, bloggers, lovers of literature,  journalists, professors, activists, theologians, literary agents, editors, publishers, screenwriters, musicians, artists, poets, and everyday people who love WORDS, God’s Word and story.

During our yearly Conference we ASK QUESTIONS, PARTICIPATE IN CONVERSATIONS, AND DIALOGUE with diverse people of faith, growing our creative friendships in real-live community.

“At the Faith & Culture Writers Conference, you will be encouraged, enriched, and challenged to live the creative life that God has called you to. Join us and take your art to the next level while discovering your unique voice and place to house your story.”

–Cornelia Becker Seigneur, Founding Conference Director


WORDS 2012 Martin FrenchIf I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more 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.

Jeremiah 20: 9

Connecting and validating people of faith who love WORDS, story, and The Word.

The Faith & Culture Writers Conference is  a unique gathering for conversation around creativity, the arts, and making a difference in culture with words and story. Writers need fellowship! Both inspirational and practical, the annual event engages, encourages, networks, and challenges people in their calling to write the stories, blog posts, articles, and books that God has led them to write. The vision is to bring in both established authors and new voices to the conversation around voice and story.

Speakers, authors, theologians, activists, bloggers, literary agents, filmmakers, journalists, editors, and everyday writers are among the speakers and workshop leaders each year. Past speakers include Deidra Riggs, founder of Jumping Tandem retreats, Sarah Bessey, author of Jesus Feminist, William Paul Young, author of The Shack, Ken Wytsma, The Justice Conference founder, Paul Louis Metzger, theologian, professor and author of Connecting Christ, Richard Twiss, author of One Church, Many Tribes, Gina Ochsner, author of Necessary Grace to Fall, Brian Doyle, author of Grace Notes, Tony Kriz, author of Neighbors and Wisemen, and Dan Merchant, film-maker of Lord Save Us from Your Followers. Some of the varied literary agents who have taken book pitches include: Don Jacobson, Bill Jensen, Jenni Burke, and Terry Glaspey.

2011 Beginnings

God has given us the creative arts as a way to communicate our story to others in a culture starving for beauty and relevance and stories that matters. Although the internet, social media and hashtags are great ways to connect virtually, we have a God-given need for living, breathing, in-person connections and gatherings, a place to be known by fellow creatives. Because of this craving for community, we established the yearly Faith & Culture Writers Conference (FCWC) in 2011, with Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon serving as our hosting sponsor. Our unique yearly gathering is a place where we find community, camaraderie, and life-giving connections with others who share a mutual calling to live out a creative life.

Our vision is to move our conference to a different university setting each year which makes our event accessible to a wide number of people.  The 2013 Faith & Culture Writers Conference was held at Multnomah University while the the 2014 FCWC was hosted by George Fox University. In the 2015, the Faith & Culture Writers Conference moves to Warner Pacific College in Portland, Oregon.

“The Faith & Culture Writers Conference is a unique creative writing conference experience. Some who attend say they are not writers at all, but they write out of necessity and calling and conviction, as it is through the written word that they are able to communicate their stories and message in a changing world starving for truth and beauty.  I love that about our conference, as we are honored to introduce fresh new voices to the conversation around word and story and faith and culture and the arts, people who write because they have to write.”

Cornelia Becker Seigneur, FCWC Founding Director

Special thanks to Martin French, our WORDS logo and artwork designer, and to Social Media Handlers for hosting and design of our website.

Our next Writers Connection meeting is Thursday, November 20, when Christal Jenkins will join us. The meeting is at 7 pm at Rolling Hills Community Church, located at 3550 SW Borland Road in Tualatin, Oregon. Email with questions. We take December off to enjoy Christmas. For our January 15, 2015 meeting, we welcome  Josh Butler, the author of The Skeletons in God’s Closet. Writers Connection meets in Tualatin, Oregon at  Rolling Hills Community Church.

Faith & Culture Writers Connection is a faith-based diverse creative community of writers, bloggers, lovers of literature, journalists, professors, activists, theologians, literary agents, editors, publishers, screenwriters, musicians, artists, word poets, and everyday people who love WORDS, the Word, story, and feel led to share the message God has given them through the literary arts. God allows us to create as a way to communicate truth to others in a culture starving for beauty and relevance and story that matters. The connection exists to network, engage, inspire, challenge, and validate fellow writers of faith as we seek to celebrate the very gift of creativity bestowed on us by the Great Creator Himself.

We hold monthly Writers Connection Meetings during the school year to continue to encourage each other and grow in our writing.  We have a special guest for each month and we  post date and time on our Facebook page so join us there to stay connected! And, be sure to sign up on our “subscribe” list to stay connected for upcoming meetings. The subscribe button is on our contact page here: Email subscribe link


Mark your calendar for the best FCWC yet! … We will be holding the 2015 Faith & Culture Writers Conference on Friday-Saturday, April 10-11, 2015 at Warner Pacific College in Portland, Oregon. Speakers include:

Emily P. Freeman, Romal Tune, Nish Wiseth, AJ Swoboda, Josh Butler,  Tony Kriz, Cornelia Seigneur, Simone Dankenbring, Seth and Amber Haines, Alex Marestaing,  Matt Mikalatos, Chip MacGregor, Terry Glaspey, Carolyn MacCready, Nicole Miller, Elizabeth Chapin, Dan Merchant, Travis Klassen, Karen Zacharias Spears, Mick Silva, Christal Tanks, Nicol Epple, Phil Long, Marc Schelske, Kurt Bubna, Rochelle Carter, Chris Nye, Kari Patterson, Ashley Larkin, Emily Maynard, Micah J. Murray, Alia Joy.


Conversations, workshops, and keynote speeches at the Faith & Culture Writers Conference are intentionally 50 percent FAITH/CULTURE/ INSPIRATIONAL and 50 percent PRACTICAL/INSTRUCTIONAL/HOW-TO/.

Breakout sessions cover topics such as:

  • Blogging
  • Fiction writing
  • Freelance writing
  • Getting Published-Traditional/Self
  • How to find an Agent
  • Non-Fiction Writing – Article writing/Freelance writing
  • Young adult/Children writing
  • Film/documentary
  • Poetry/Spoken Word poetry
  • Social Media
  • Working with editors
  • Overcoming fear
  • Finding your voice

We will provide additional details as soon as we have them!

 As our conference grows, so does the need for those who would like to help and for long-term partners/sponsors for our conference.

If you would like to connect with us on how to be involved/serve at  future events, please email the conference executive admin at:

Bethany Jackson at or the conference director at

 Thank you for your interest in speaking at the 2015 conference. We were flooded with amazing applications and are now closing the application process. Thank you so much for your interest in the  Faith & Culture Writers! Please join us April 2015!

To Volunteer email:  Jody Collins:

CLICK HERE for 2015 Online Speaker Application

words drop shadow



Blog Posts reflecting on the  2014 Faith & Culture Writers Conference

“Attending the Faith & Culture Writers Conference turned out to prove as one of the most authentic and life-giving conferences.”

Kamille, 2014 FCWC attendee


Jane Halton  @JaneHalton             Well That Was Fun

Glen Woods @GlenWoods             Faith & Culture Writers Conference 2014

Stephanie Wafer  @stephaniewafer       On Being Yourself and Sharing Your Story 

Travis Klassen @travisklassen      Ugly Crying at a Christian Writers Conference

Karrilee Aggett ‏@KarrileeA            Counting Gifts, Giving up Self Doubt, and how that’s goin’

Tresta Payne @SharpPaynes  We’re Still Friends (Faith & Culture Writers Conference)

Ramona Kline @RamonaK     Confessions of a Constitpated Writer: Faith & Culture Writers Conference 2014

Marc Alan Schelske   @schelske    Our Excuse

Jody Lee Collins @jodyo70  How I became a twitter convert and kept my salvation

David Ozab @davidozab   Faith & Culture Writers Conference

David Ozab @davidozab    7 Thoughts after the Conference

Kamille @Redeeming_table   I’m done waiting for permission

Cayla Pruett  @CaylaCherie23   Seasons of Sadness & A River That Runs 



Deidra Rigg  @DeidraRiggs     Talk About Risk

Karen Spears Zacharias @KarenZach          Not God’s Tools

Tony Kriz @TonyKriz         You Are Not Alone Statements for Writers

Ashley Larkin @AshleyMLarkin      Wisdom for Writing and Living from the Faith & Culture Writers Conference

Lynn Hare @HareLynn      How to regroup after a big event

Matthew O’Connell   Preparing for Conference-Being Qualified through Faith

Want to have your conference testimonial or blog post featured here?  Tweet it to us or e-mail it to: 



I am still processing the weekend and have just started to listen to the content on the mp3’s and again just feel so encouraged and invigorated. I am in awe of the creativity of the God who takes our tiny shards of glass offerings and turns them into stained glass windows.  You have created a God-breathed conference.”

Helen Washington, 2013 FCWC attendee

Blog Posts reflecting on the  2013 Faith & Culture Writers Conference

Writing in Long Form- by Hailey Greene


November Writers Connection features Christal Tanks

This month we welcome Christal Tanks  to our Writers Connection! We will be meeting Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014 at  7 pm at Rolling Hills Community Church, located at at 3550 S.W. Borland Road, in Tualatin, Oregon. Christal is the author of two books, a speaker, and part of the God Crazy Freedom series. She will […]

Read More
Radically Normal - book-1546035_621823247852998_1245339382_n
CREATE- IMAGE- QUOTE 58850817d3e162aab9fac68124b721d0
Polar Bear (Sow), Near Kaktovik, Barter Island, Alaska



Founder & Conference Director

Cornelia Seigneur