2023 College Conference

Keep Going!

January 2–5, 2023Young Adults
This event is hosted by Montreat Conference Center

Keep Going!

What do YOU need to keep going, to keep moving forward? When it’s hard to get motivated? When it’s all piled up? When you’d rather just go play? When life is crazy?

Psalm 121 reminds us where our help to keep going comes from. Our help comes from the Lord. No matter what obstacles or twists or turns present themselves, God is always with us – by our side – to help us KEEP GOING!


Rates & Registration

Dec. 9
Dec. 9
All-inclusive Rate (limited availability)

  • Conference Registration
  • Conference Center housing
  • Galax Dining Room meals
$265 $280
Conference Registration Only
$157 $177

Conference Scholarships

A limited number of scholarships are available. Please contact Hope Barker at hopeb@montreat.org for an application.

Additional Housing

Click this link to go to a list of other housing in the area. The list includes rental houses in Montreat, area camp and retreat center housing, and hotels located in Black Mountain. Be aware that not all properties listed are available year round.

Meals for Commuters

Please check out the Black Mountain Chamber of Commerce as well as our Business Patrons for a list of restaurants in Black Mountain.

Before You Register

Again this year, we will offer online registration to request your conference spaces and housing. (No more faxing!) Housing requests will be processed in the order that we receive them until our facilities are full. After registering online, participants can either mail a check within 10 days of registering or provide credit card information when contacted by the conference registrar.
Attention Group Leaders: Here are a few things you will need to know before you register online...
• Basic contact information for your church, campus ministry, etc.
• A head count. How many students and chaperones do you have? (Please note that the special comprehensive rate is available to all college students and the first two adults in your group. Additional adults will be charged an extra $100.)
• If possible, the number of female students, male students, female chaperones, male chaperones, and/or couple chaperones. This is helpful to us when placing you in our housing.
• Any special needs your group may have.

Need to Make Changes?

If your group is already registered and you need to make changes, please select "Group Additions/Cancelations" on the registration form.

Refund Policy

Before December 1, 2022, your fee(s) will be refunded less the $50 per person non-refundable deposit. After December 1, 2022, no refunds will be issued.


Contact our conference registrar, Hope Barker, at hopeb@montreat.org or 828-419-9828.


Tentative Schedule

January 2
3:00 – 7:00 - Registration in Upper Anderson
6:00 - Dinner
7:30 - Opening Worship, Anderson Auditorium
Additional Activities Following Worship

January 3
8:00-9:00 - Breakfast
9:00 - Morning Gathering and Keynote, Anderson Auditorium
10:30 - Critical Conversation Groups
12:00 - Lunch
2:00 – 3:15 - Workshop I
3:30 - Afternoon Options
6:00 - Dinner
7:30 - Worship with Offering, Anderson Auditorium
Additional Activities Following Worship

January 4
8:00-9:00 - Breakfast
Sabbath Morning – enjoy!
10:00 - Scheduled Options
12:00 - Lunch
2:00 - Worship, Anderson Auditorium
3:30 – 4:45 - Workshop II
5:00 – Communion Servers & Processional Rehearsal
6:00 - Dinner
7:30 - Evening Gathering and Keynote, Anderson Auditorium
9:00 – Critical Conversation Groups

January 5
8:00-9:00 - Breakfast
9:30 - Closing Worship with Communion, Anderson Auditorium


Workshops Offered on January 3rd 2:00-3:15 pm, & January 4th 3:30-4:45 pm

Trans-forming Scripture: How Biblical Trans & Intersex Narratives Enrich Everyone — Avery Arden (they/them)
As faith communities seek live into God's call to welcome all people, the Bible offers examples of what that looks like. While cultural understandings of sex and gender vary greatly between the modern Western world and the Bible's ancient world, many scriptural stories resonate with trans and intersex persons today. In this workshop, we will explore several such stories — from Adam and Eve, to eunuchs, to Jesus himself — and leave equipped with resources for future study. The more we understand about the full spectrum of humanity, the more we'll grasp the God in whose genderless and gender-full image we all are made.

Movies that KEEP you GOING - Todd Davidson and Alex Fisher
In keeping with the conference theme, we will use movie clips - all from movies about college or college students - to spark ideas and discussion about how college students keep going

A Faith on Their Own - Nathan Wheeler
More and more we hear about young adults and the deconstruction of their beliefs. With that in mind, in this workshop participants will examine something called DRAFT (Dominant, Regional, Affluent, Folklore Theology) and how non-DRAFT theologies such as process, liberation, feminist, and radical theology, could possibly help those who are in the midst of deconstructing their faith.

Sensuality of Dust & Exploration of the Spirit - Anne HK Apple & Anghaarad Teague Dees
Ever been in a dry valley? Ever been lost? Ever wondered about waiting for God's presence? Come. Trust the ways the Holy Spirit keeps us creatively going. Drawing on the Psalter, the Prophets and the experiences in the garden, participants in this project will collaborate on making meaning and art in community.

Keeping Mission Going, With New Mindsets - Bill Buchanan
The workshop will be an interactive experience and conversation about the Church's history of mission and God's call for the future of Christian mission. This requires us to reframe our understanding of what "the mission" actually is, and what our roles in that mission should be.

How a Summer in the Woods Can Change Your Life - Harry Zweckbronner
We'd like to offer a panel presentation of the benefits (both short and long term) of spending a summer working at a faith-based summer camp. The plan is to have 3-4 camping professionals make up the panel.

Moving Towards a World of Play - Adrian “A” Williams and Rachel Hebert
Join us as we embrace play as a way forward. We live in a world where everything has been made into a game with winners, losers, prizes, and goals which we are all scrambling for. We can see this when scrolling through social media, trying to prioritize the “right” things, and even expecting rewards for not straying from the path. What if there was a better way? What if we weren’t striving to rack up the most points in the game of life? In this workshop, we will examine the freedom promised to us from creation and explore how things like sabbath, creativity, and even discernment are based in play and remind us that our worth is not dependent upon points and winning in a gamified system, but instead on celebrating life and connection.

Stilling the Storm: Individual and Community Action in the Face of Systemic Burnout - Sarah Sampas & Robyn Kleinschmidt
Burnout, compassion fatigue, etc., are pressing issues on so many. Solutions are often proposed as an individual action only, such as taking some time off work, buying scented candles and taking a bath, or going for a walk. If these are even possible for a person, these things are good but do not address the way burnout is also a result of working under systemic and institutional pressures. For those who are fighting for social justice within institutions and social systems especially we need to address the mental and emotional strain around "self-care." We need to reframe self-care as resistance. We also need to address how to involve our communities in dealing with burnout.

Take a Deep Breath and Walk Through the Door: The Advocacy of Presence - Rev. Beth Olker
It is often overwhelming when we look at the world and all of its problems. We can get frozen in our uncertainties, not knowing what the first step could possibly be. In this workshop, we will focus on the first step of just showing up. We will talk about how to prepare yourself to show up to new and intimidating places, how to be an ally while you are there, and how to help not let the first step be your only step.

Camp Crafts - Katie Henderson
Creative outlets are so important for our mental well being. In this workshop we will get back to basics with friendship bracelets, water colors, nature inspired crafts and more! Only an open mind and willing hands needed to attend.

Curveball: When Your Faith Takes Turns You Never Saw Coming - Peter Enns (ONLY OFFERED ON TUESDAY, January 3rd)
World tragedies, devastating personal losses, the incomprehensible vastness of the universe next to the fragility of our planet—there’s no preparing for the inevitable curveballs blowing past us from all angles. We’re often left doubting God, the Bible, our faith, even ourselves. Many Christian traditions see these crises as problems that need to be overcome. But rather than denouncing our struggles, the Bible models how we need to face them and wrestle with them. Rethinking faith, according to life’s evidence, is part of God’s plan. God wants us to question, because doing so actually leads us to building a stronger, more resilient faith.

Play, on Purpose - Lakesha Lockhart (ONLY OFFERED ON WEDNESDAY, January 4th)
In this interactive workshop participants will not only learn about the theological, spiritual, and neurological dimensions and benefits of play, but they will also engage in various play practices. Participants will have fun and dig deeper into how we can use play to keep going! So come open and ready to learn about and embody what can occur when you Play, on Purpose.

Keep Going! Marching for Jesus! - Jimmie R. Hawkins
Justice as a Spiritual Discipline as a part of being on one's Christian Journey. Being engaged in justice advocacy involves engagement over the course of one's entire life so we must Keep Going in pursuing justice.

God and Graduate School: Maintaining a Lively Faith After College - Emily Morrell & Emily Theus
...thinking about the end of college and wondering, “Should I keep going and apply to graduate school?” Do you want to consider ways to connect your education and your faith, even if your academic life doesn’t involve seminary or theology? This workshop will offer space for conversation and reflection for conferees considering post secondary education who are eager to think about how their identities as students interact with their faith – even if congregational ministry is not the end goal of their graduate education. As Presbyterians we believe we are lifelong learners, and this workshop will help us examine what that label means as we keep going and reflect on a faith that touches every aspect of our lives. Led by two current graduate students, who aren’t in seminary but link their experiences in higher education to the ongoing development of their faith after college, we hope you’ll join us in conversation and community.

Queerness and Spirituality - Haley Lerner
Sitting at the intersection of queer and religious identities can be a challenging one: many religious spaces are hostile to LGBTQ+ identities and, often as a result, many queer spaces do not want to hear about our religious identities and the ways it speaks to our experiences. In this space, we will gather to create a brave space to breathe, talk, celebrate, process, and find friendship among other folks who also get it. During our time together, we will talk about our hopes, fears, dreams, and goals to live authentically into God's call and see a church that genuinely welcomes all.

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance 101: How to "Keep Going" When Disaster Strikes - Nell Herring and Emily Wilkes
This workshop is an introduction to PDA and its mission. Oftentimes after a disaster, we feel a sense of urgency to help while it's in the news. PDA works on long-term recovery projects that require us to "keep going" long after the news stops reporting. We will offer insight on how we work to build resiliency in each community we encounter after a disaster. We'll also share how college students and campus ministries can choose to be involved in disaster ministry.

Stress Busters & Resiliency Recommendations to Make EVERYTHING at College Perfect……Well Sorta - Jeanie Shaw
This workshop (on behalf of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance) is designed especially for collegians to give them the tools to manage anxiety and stress. It will include how to recognize stress, provide students with real hands-on tools to deal with all the stressors of college life: relationships, exams, finances and family through storytelling, breathing and 60 second meditations. There will be opportunity to create, share and come away with a toolbox of stress busters, anxiety antidotes and resiliency recommendations! AND, of course, humor and joy are always a part of our Christian journey….especially in workshops!

© 2022 Montreat Conference Center