Making a Way in the Wilderness

By CORNELIA BECKER SEIGNEUR

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 cornelia@corneliaseigneur.com

Or text or call me 503-318-3480

You may also get a hold of our conference administrative assistant Bethany Jackson at newbethany1@gmail.com

 

  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 http://www.corneliaseigneur.com

  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 [...]

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                                                                                                                                                (Art: www.martinfrench.com)

“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

The 2014 Faith & Culture Writers Conference was held  Friday March 7, 2014  through Saturday March 8, 2014 in Newberg, Oregon. GEORGE FOX UNIVERSITY  was our hosting sponsor.

Stay connected by subscribing to our website newsletter. We’d love to hear from you regarding your experience.

Engaging, connecting and validating diverse voices in their creative calling.

Faith & Culture Writers are a faith-based 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 has given us the arts 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.

Every year we host the Faith & Culture Writers Conference with dozens of speakers who engage in conversations around faith, the arts, risk, questioning, the muse, and our creative calling.  

The Faith & Culture Writers Conference is a gathering place where we are able to ask questions, listen to differing views, and dialogue with diverse people and still be friends.

The conference is both inspirational and practical.Breakout sessions cover topics such as getting publishing, freelance writing, fiction, non-fiction, blogging, social media, finding an agent, working with editors, and many more. Our 2011 inaugural Faith & Culture Writers Conference at Western Seminary  featured Gina Ochsner, Paul Louis Metzger, Richard Twiss, Heather Thomas, Jenni Burke, and Bill Jensen; at the 2013 Faith & Culture Writers Conference at Multnomah University, William Paul Young, Ken Wytsma, Brian Doyle, Dan Merchant, Don Jacobson, David Jacobsen, and Pam Lau were among featured speakers. The 2014 event took place March 7-8, 2014  in Newberg, Oregon.   Featured speakers included: Sarah Bessey, Deidra Riggs, Tony ‘the Beat Poet’ Kriz, Sarah Thebarge, Paul Louis Metzger, Randy Woodley, Micah J. Murray, Emily Maynard, Paul Pastor, Mick Silva, Karen Spears Zacharias, Kurt Bubna, and Derek Chinn.

“The Faith & Culture Writers Conference is a gathering place where we are able to ask questions, listen to differing views, and dialogue with diverse people and still be friends. Both inspirational and practical, the Faith & Culture Writers Conference is a place of diverse community, camaraderie, and connection. 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, blogs, articles, and books that God has led them to write. The vision is to bring in both established authors as well as to introduce 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 William Paul Young, author of The Shack, Ken Wytsma, The Justice Conference founder and author of Pursuing Justice, 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. Literary agents, including Don Jacobson, Bill Jensen, and Jenni Burke, have been on hand to take book pitches.

2011 Beginnings

The first Faith & Culture Writers  Conference debuted in 2011 at Western Seminary, with many people who attended noting the depth of the speakers, topics, and conversations.

“We serve a creative God who has given us the gift of art and story and WORDS,” said Cornelia Becker Seigneur, the visionary behind the conference. She had started a writing group at her church years ago, and found fellow believers were looking for a place to bond around their mutual love for, and calling toward, creativity, WORDS, and story.

Dreaming of a larger event, they wondered what it might be like to gather hundreds of creative people of faith together to engage, encourage, challenge, and inspire one another in this mutual creative calling on their lives. The Pacific Northwest is packed with creative people of faith who see that God can use words to impact culture. Becker Seigneur met with her friend Bev Hislop of Western Seminary who loved the vision and Western sponsored what became the first Faith & Culture Writers Conference  in 2011. Corban and Multnomah collaborated on the event. The 2013 Faith & Culture Writers Conference was held at Multnomah University and the the 2014 event was set at Newberg Friends Church and  George Fox University.

People who have attended the Faith & Culture Writers Conference have said they love the positive environment  created, and that it was the best writing conference they had ever attended. Many said “it was intellectual, challenging, deep, literary and encouraging.” It became a community of fellow creatives who were challenged to move forward with their call to write. And, for many, it was the first writing conference they have ever attended.

“The Faith & Culture Writers Conference is a unique Christian 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 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

 

Our 2014 FCWC was held Friday March 7 at Newberg Friends Church (307 S College St., Newberg, OR)  and on Saturday, March 8 at George Fox University (414 N. Meridian St., Newberg, OR). Registration for 2014 was SOLD OUT.

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

Cornelia Seigneur - Conference Director

2014 FCWC Planning Team

Cornelia Becker Seigneur

Founder & Conference Director

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 10 and 23, including identical twin boys. Cornelia’s been a lifelong writer who has two 55 gallon Rubbermaid containers storing her hand-written journals from the age of 10 onward. This lifelong passion grew naturally into writing as a career. She’s  been a freelance journalist for The Oregonian since 1996, and she’s also been published in Christianity Today, the Huffington Post, and Cultural Encounters. In addition, she’s written two books, and has several other books she needs to pen. Cornelia has also taught courses at Multnomah University, Portland State and George Fox; she served as the faculty adviser for Multnomah’s new student publication, MUSE. Cornelia has also worked as a freelance editor, substitute teacher, and youth director. In her spare time, the mom of five mentors aspiring writers, teaches fifth grade Sunday School, hobbles through marathons, and goes on adventures with her kids. She loves networking and connecting writers, and is honored to serve as director of the FCWC.

www.corneliaseigneur.com

Velynn Brown

Executive Admin

Velynn Brown - FCWCIt is her soul’s desire, to live life with abandon, creativity and purpose through words and worship. Velynn is a God-following, restored Church Girl who wakes up every morning in desperate need of a touch by the One who keeps her filled and thirsting for more. Quenched her weekly blog is where she along with her 750 followers “jump-in” to the story God is writing. In 2013, her soon to be published memoir, Gospel Song In the Rain, won her the Oregon Christian Writer’s Cascade Award, in the unpublished memoir category. Velynn dips deep into the well of love, family and community. Over the span of 20 years she has served as advocate, mentor, teacher and spokesperson for local and national ministries and non-profits. Velynn is the proud mother of three children, and is still madly in love with husband of 15 years.

www.velynnbrown.com

Ana BrorsAna Brors

Marketing Specialist

Over the past 12 years Ana’s focus has been in the area of marketing and advertising. This led her to open her own creative agency focusing in the area of Digital Strategy and marketing. Her work includes building successful marketing campaigns and fundraising efforts for non-profits, artists and businesses alike. In addition to her work she is passionate about: helping the under privileged, hungry, homeless and hurting; advocating for those who cannot advocate for themselves; music and writing.

www.socialmediahandlers.com

Taylor Smith

Communications Coordinator

Taylor SmithA 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 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.

 

Brooke PerryBrooke Nicole Perry

Agents/Editors/Mentors Coordinator

My name is Brooke and I love to write. God gave me a vision a while ago where He personalized a gift for me by making it pink. This is when I started to realize that not only does He have huge plans for me, but that 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 I’ve just considered writing to be an outlet and a hobby but recently have 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!

www.brookenicoleperry.com

Mock_Melanie

Melanie Springer Mock

George Fox University Liaison to Faith & Culture Writers 

Melanie is a Professor of English at George Fox University, Newberg, Oregon. Her essays and reviews have appeared in The Nation, Christian Feminism Today, Adoptive Families, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and Mennonite World Review, among other places. Her most recent book is Just Moms: Conveying Justice in an Unjust World, published in 2011. She blogs about (and deconstructs) images of women embedded in evangelical popular culture at Ain’t I a Woman? and writes along with her feature writing class at Writing From the Middle of Things. She lives in Dundee, Ore., with her husband and two eleven-year-old sons.

Lynn HeadshotLynn Hare

Co-Executive Admin/Prayer Coordinator / Scribe

Lynn Hare’s passion is releasing Holy Spirit joy and grace in prayer. She has the privilege of serving Christ through prayer teams with Radiant Church in Gresham, the Northwest Christian Chamber of Commerce, Co-Labor Marketplace Ministries, and Graham Cooke’s The Warrior Class. Author, speaker, certified teacher and tutor, Lynn blogs and writes about how the Holy Spirit empowers us to encourage, forgive, and overcome. Her blog includes The 49th Parallel, featuring photos and spiritual parallels sent in by readers.

Lynn has been published in numerous Christian periodicals and she lives with her husband, Tim, of thirty-three years in Portland, Oregon. They have three adult children and one grandson.

She attended both the 2011 and 2013 Faith & Culture Writers Conferences, and we are grateful she volunteered to help this year.

www.lynnhare.com

Matt OconnellMatthew O’Connell

Writing Competition Coordinator

Matt comes to us after attending the 2013 conference and having what he refers to as a “life changing experience” during a 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

Matt’s Blog

Faith & Culture Writers 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-ish  Writers Connection Meetings 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, email Writers Connection leader Cornelia@corneliaseigneur.com to join the email reminder list.

Thank you to the almost 300 people who attended the 2014 Faith & Culture Writers Conference held March 7-8, 2014 in Newberg, Oregon. We were grateful to George Fox University for being our hosting sponsor and to  Newberg Friends Church and  George Fox University for allowing us to use their facilities.  This page highlights the 2014 FCWC speakers, literary agents, acquisition editors, musicians and other special guests.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            **To order recordings of sessions, download form: Sound X Recordings. Email  Recording Questions to Brad Ediger: soundxdesign@yahoo.com

2014 SPEAKERS, AGENTS, ACQUISITION EDITORS, PANELISTS, MUSICIANS & MENTORS

CLICK on a PHOTO to READ Bios & Breakout Session Info


 

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Thank you to those who joined us for the 2014 Faith & Culture Writers Conference!  We will be holding the 2015 Faith & Culture Writers Conference in March 2015 and additional details will be provided as soon as we have them!

Interested in helping or speaking at next year’s conference?   

As our conference grows, so does the need for those who would like to help and for those who are interested in speaking/presenting. We are also looking 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 founder/director at cornelia@corneliaseigneur.com 

 For those who are interested in speaking, and to streamline the process and ensure a wide diversity of speakers and topics, we will be accepting applications and these will be reviewed and considered for 2015. Thank you so much for your interest in the  Faith & Culture Writers! 

CLICK HERE for 2015 Online Speaker Application

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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

Attendees

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

Speakers/Mentors/Guests/Leadership

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:  leadership@faithandculturewriters.com 

 

2013 

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

 

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Jerusalem Skyline
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Polar Bear (Sow), Near Kaktovik, Barter Island, Alaska
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velynn Brown
What if it's all just Poetry?
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CONTACT US

 

Founder & Conference Director

Cornelia Seigneur   cornelia@corneliaseigneur.com 

 

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