Summer Conference 2013 Revisited: “Guard the Treasure”
by Lindy Jacobs, OCW Summer Conference Director
“Top-notch teaching, Liz Curtis Higgs, great venue & inspiring view.” Mary Keeley of Books & Such Agency
“I was especially encouraged spiritually, to write for God’s purpose.” Cheryl Secomb
“Truly an AMAZING conference. The writers you serve had a FEAST spread before them.” Keynoter and author Liz Curtis Higgs
“The warmth, matched by professionalism and excellence. The conference exuded positivity.” Editor Mick Silva
“If I had to choose one conference to attend, it would be Oregon.” Author Peter Levell
Our many prayers of the last year were answered as 225 writers and faculty gathered to worship, study, and fellowship at the OCW Summer Conference in Portland, August 12–15. One-third of our conferees were first-time attendees, and conferees came from as far away as Maryland. Our numbers rose to 275 during our inaugural Cascade Awards on Wednesday evening.
Keynoter Liz Curtis Higgs had us laughing and crying by turns as she told how horrified she was when she was a new Christian and her pastor asked her to share the mistakes of her past as a way to begin her ministry. She approached a mission board, asking to be sent to Indonesia, but they encouraged her to begin with the people at the radio station where she worked. Twenty years later, when she was a published author and her Bad Girls of the Bible books had been translated for the people of Indonesia, she was invited to speak at a missionary conference in Indonesia, the place of her heart. Liz said God knew all along she would one day be encouraging the ones who had been sent to the mission field. She asked us to look at our own expectations to see if ego or any other barrier is standing in our way of serving God.
In her closing keynote, radio host Georgene Rice shared how as a child she had told the Lord she was willing to do anything for Him except public speaking. She imagined God laughing, knowing the plans He had for her radio show and her international music ministry. She encouraged us to be faithful to walk in the path God has established for us with our gifts and experiences—and to seek first our relationship with Christ. She challenged us to know our calling. “In a world desperate for clarity and truth, you have been positioned to influence. The eternal truths in your writing will lead souls.”
As always, the emphasis was on teaching, and many commented on the great choices from coaching classes to afternoon workshops and editor/agent panels to late-evening nite owls. The writing center was a hive of activity as usual, but this year provided a view of the beautiful Columbia River.
We heard many compliments about the quality of writing at the conference from editors, agents, and pro writers. By the end of the conference, several conferees were invited to submit full manuscripts. Attendees left the conference with fresh inspiration to write stories that will reflect God’s eternal truths.
In 2014 we will return to the beautiful Jantzen Beach Red Lion Hotel, August 4–7; please mark your calendars now. Keynoters will be former publisher of Thomas Nelson, Allen Arnold, and award-winning author Dan Walsh. Our theme will be, “Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord” (Psalm 27:14 niv).
Watch our website for details about faculty, registration, and the 2014 Cascade Writing Contest.