Women’s Connection

Word Wise: Encountering the Word that Draws Us In and Sends Us Out.

August 14–16, 2020Adult
A Montreat Conference Center Event

Important Update About Women’s Connection 2020

The 2020 Women’s Connection has been postponed to 2021. All 2020 key leadership have agreed to return for the 2021 event, and our theme remains the same. The 2021 dates are August 13-15. We hope you will join us!

Your 2020 reservation will automatically be rolled over to 2021. If your reservation included Montreat Conference Center housing and meals, you will be in the same housing for 2021. If you wish to cancel and receive a refund, please email our Adult Conference Registrar, Susan Akduman, at susana@montreat.org. Please give your first and last name in your email so she can find you in our reservation system.

“Words are my first love, because they matter. Words actually change lives, move people, sustain us. They take us to another world when we need to go and bring us home when we need to come back. Whatever you need, words can deliver: laughter, solidarity, encouragement, thrill, courage, silliness, spirit. I have been a reader and writer my entire life, and every single day I marvel that I get to make a living with words. I hope to use them for beauty and Jesus and life. I hope to make them count.” – Jen Hatmaker

As people of faith who seek to be Jesus’ disciples, we are shaped by words and seek to understand them, hear them, and do them. The words of scripture will play a prominent role in this Women’s Connection as participants will engage in a dialogue with scripture.


Rates & Registration

You may register for a comprehensive package which includes your conference fee, room, and meals, or if you have your own housing, you may register for the commuter rate (see below). If you are bringing a large group, please contact the registrar at SusanA@montreat.org or call 828.419.9829 for assistance.

Comprehensive Package

Comprehensive rates below include the Women’s Connection conference fee, room in Assembly InnWinsborough, Glen Rock Inn, or Glen Rock Apartment, meals in the Galax Dining Room (Friday supper through Sunday breakfast), plus a $2 community services fee per person for public services provided by the Town and the fire district. Rooms are assigned on a first come, first served basis. After July 3, these rates will increase by $25 per person. Room check-in AFTER 3:00 pm on Friday. Room check-out BEFORE 11:00 am on Sunday.

Housing Waiting List

As Conference Center housing fills up, the registar will maintain a waitlist for people who would prefer our housing. Please contact the registrar at SusanA@montreat.org or call 828.419.9829 to be placed on the waitlist.

Assembly Inn- Housing in the Assembly Inn is currently full.

  • Double Occupancy, Private Bath: $395.00 per person
  • Single Occupancy, Private Bath: $500.00 per person
  • Double Occupancy, Shared Bath: $380.00 per person
  • Single Occupancy, Shared Bath: $470.00 per person

Glen Rock- Housing in the Glen Rock is currently full.

  • Double Occupancy, Shared/Private Bath: $345.00 per person
  • Single Occupancy, Shared/Private Bath: $400.00 per person

The Winsborough- Please note that the Winsborough does not have central AC or elevator access.

  • Double Occupancy, Shared/Private Bath: $345.00 per person
  • Single Occupancy, Shared/Private Bath: $400.00 per person

Meals for Children

  • Children ages 12 and older: $53.00 per child
  • Children ages 5-11: $26.50 per child
  • Children under 5: no charge
Commuter Rate

Commuter rates below include the Women’s Connection conference fee plus a $2 community services fee per person for public services provided by the Town and the fire district. This rate DOES NOT include room or meals. After July 3, this rate will increase by $25 per person.

  • On or before July 3: $237 per person
  • After July 3: $262 per person
Alternative Housing Options

For more information about alternative housing options in Montreat and neighboring Black Mountain, please check our Other Housing page.

Contact the Registrar

Questions about conference registration, housing, or meals? Please email the registrar at SusanA@montreat.org or call 828.419.9829.

Child Care

Child care for Women’s Connection participants will be available for an additional fee. Pre-registration is required. Please email the registrar at SusanA@montreat.org or call 828.419.9829 to register.

Child Care Fees:

  • $70 for children six months thru preschool age
  • $65 for children completed kindergarten and older

Questions about the program? Please email the child care coordinator at childcare@montreat.org.


Workshops are optional.  Everyone is invited to sign up for two workshops. Workshop times are on Saturday from 10:30 am-12:00 noon and 2:00-3:30 pm. Workshops are limited and are available on a first come, first serve basis, so please sign up ASAP! (If you have previously registered for the conference but haven't signed up for workshops yet, a separate signup form for workshops will be available soon.)

1.) "What Language Shall I Borrow?": Praying and Playing with Words

This workshop will explore the words and images we use for God in our prayer, both corporate and private. We will think together about how our language shapes who we know God to be, and then we'll try our hand at crafting prayers or creative writing pieces that expand our use of language around God. 17th century hymn writer Paul Gerhardt wrote, "What language shall I borrow to thank Thee, dearest Friend?" What language, indeed? Come and find out! Offered in both AM and PM sessions to different participants. Led by Alexandra Mauney. Limit 25 per session.

2.) Lament: The Teachable Moments

In our time together, we will explore how to prepare to teach the 2020-21 Horizon's Bible Study. We will consider the various types of group Settings for study; the lesson suggestions presented; and how to best experience and share in the lesson's theme. Offered in both AM and PM sessions to different participants. Led by Dee Koza. Limit 25 per session.

3.) Drawing the Word with Silk Painting

Come learn the process of painting on silk and translate what you see, hear, and imagine in scripture into color and imagery. Participants will be guided in painting silk banners together to adorn our sanctuary. No art experience or skills necessary—silk painting is a place to let go and trust that beauty will come forth. This is a two-part workshop; participants will attend both AM and PM sessions. Led by Lisle Gwynn Garrity. Limit 50.

4.) The Art of Biblical Storytelling

"A Picture is worth a thousand words, but a story is worth a thousand pictures". When you attend this workshop you will learn to 'paint word pictures' of Bible Stories via our oral tradition. Instead of a brush you will use your voice to tell vibrant, meaningful narratives from the Bible. You will hear sacred narratives told in a variety of ways. You will learn how to internalize, prepare, and then tell God's stories so that others may "See." Offered in both AM and PM sessions to different participants. Led by Jacqui Horton. Limit 25 per session.

5.) Mountains Are Calling

We will explore a trail in Montreat and experience God's wonderful creation! Wear GOOD sturdy shoes AND a water bottle is a MUST! Hiking sticks or poles are recommended but not a "must." Offered in both AM and PM sessions to different participants. Led by Beth Gunn.

6.) More than Words: Using Young Adult Literature to talk about Faith

Have you ever found yourself struggling to talk to adolescents or wondering what's really on the hearts and minds of the kids in your youth group? Today's young people deal with myriad issues that impact their faith lives in ways previous generations often find difficult to relate to. But Young Adult (YA) literature is a powerful narrative tool that can help youth and their advocates better understand and empathize with one another, as well as engage pressing topics that affect their lives as followers of Christ. This workshop will highlight select YA texts and means of discussing them in order to empower churches to foster meaningful conversations and relationships with teenagers. Offered in the AM session only. Led by Jess Rigel. Limit 25.

7.) From Word to Action: The Biblical call for Hunger Advocacy and Food Justice

In spite of our best intentions, Christians still live in a world plagued by hunger, a problem often exacerbated by our mistreatment of God's good creation. In this workshop, participants will learn about the injustices in our food system, the links between climate change and hunger, and faith based resources and community organizations working to shift these realities. Offered in the PM session only. Led by Jess Rigel. Limit 25.

8.) Encountering God and Ourselves in The Word

Our Bible Study leader this year, Dr. Frances Taylor Gench, has written six books and, in each of them, she provides her readers with examples of how to wrestle with Scripture in new ways, how to dig deeper, and grow stronger in our relationship with God through the Word. In the first session of this two part workshop, we will spend time reflecting on the Bible study that Dr. Gench will lead us through in our morning Bible study. What did we hear God saying through Dr. Gench and what does it have to do with us as we seek to become Word Wise this weekend? In the second session, we will look closely at the Mark 5 account of Jesus raising the young girl from the dead and healing the woman who had been bleeding for twelve years. How can we encounter God and ourselves in new ways in these ancient stories? Bring a notebook, your favorite pen, and an open heart - and let’s look for God and ourselves in God’s Word. This is a two-part workshop; participants will attend both AM and PM sessions. Led by Gail Henderson-Belsit. Limit 25.

9.) Listening Within : A meditative yoga practice

During this 90 minute workshop we use yoga practices of breathwork, postures, and meditation to tune up our listening skills and connect with the still voice within. Martha Nelson's seasoned teaching techniques will guide you at your own pace into and out of poses to gently open the heart and mind in preparation for inward listening. Come prepared to relax and open through movement and self-inquiry! Offered in both AM and PM sessions to different participants. Led by Martha Nelson.

10.) Fans of Jen!

Jen Hatmaker's books are refreshing, real, and soothing for the souls of moms trying to "make an A"! We will discuss two of her books, Part 1: "For the Love" and Part 2: "Mess and Moxie". The workshop will offer ways for women to share our reflections on being a mom of faith in the 21st century. Attendees do not have to have read the books to participate. This is a two-part workshop; participants will attend both AM and PM sessions. Led by Dolly Jacobs. Limit 25.

11.) Spirituality in the Home

What!?! ...for many, the words "spirituality" and "home" don't go together very smoothly; and if they do, it can strike terror in the hearts of some - especially parents. This workshop will not only explore some great ideas and resources, it will be a time to share stumbling blocks and how to conquer them, theological issues to consider, and share what DOES work for families. Participants will go home with concrete ideas for individuals old and young, and families of all sizes to start using right away. Offered in the AM session only. Led by Lynn Turnage. Limit 25.

12.) Intergenerational Ministry

In our compartmentalized world, it is easy for us to rarely be exposed to the wisdom and insights of children, and equally easy for children to miss the delight, friendship, and wonderful connections that can be made with adults who do not currently have children in their home. This workshop will examine theology of intergenerational programing, issues to plan for, ways to get over the word "intergenerational", and concrete ideas to use as soon as you get home. Offered in the PM session only. Led by Lynn Turnage. Limit 25.

13.) Artful Expressions

Awaken your inner artist! Through several hands-on art-making practices, participants will explore the conference theme, scripture and the connection between faith, spirituality and art. The best part about this workshop? Participants will create AND take art with them at the end of our time together! Both seasoned artists and those just beginning to explore their creative gifts (and everyone in between!) are welcome to attend. Materials will be provided. Offered in both AM and PM sessions to different participants. Led by Chandler Guess. Limit 25 per session.

14.) Peace Begins at Home: the right to peace, justice and safety

We will focus on the issue of domestic violence mainly as it pertains to women; what it is, how to recognize it, how to help. We will look at some of the root causes of violence against women as well as support for women, historically and in faith based communities. Our time will be spent in discussion and activities. The hope is that we will support each other to leave as advocates for Domestic Peace. This is a two-part workshop; participants will attend both AM and PM sessions. Led by Rev. Dr. Susan L. Denne. Limit 25.

15.) Prayer at the Center

Praying is the most essential way Christains communicate with God. In worship, in our homes, in our private moments, prayer is the way we talk with God, tell God about our cares, concerns, joys and sorrows. Come and join us as we learn ways to pray and communicate with God that enrich, nourish, and deepen our commitment to a life prayer. This workshop includes the making of Prostestant prayer beads for an added cost of $30.00 Learn how to use the beads to develop disciplines in prayer. This is a two-part workshop; participants will attend both AM and PM sessions. Led by Veronica Cannon. Limit 25.

16.) Guided Walk along the Labyrinth and Prayer Path

Join us as we explore the Prayer Path and The Labyrinth. The Prayer Path is a relatively short (about 1/4 mile) walking pilgrimage that encircles the old Montreat reservoir. This beautiful area has been set aside by the Montreat Wilderness Committee as a place for quiet reflection, environmental learning, and meditation. The labyrinth, located adjacent to the Prayer Path, is a space set aside to allow time to reflect, to listen to the sounds of creation, and to notice the rhythm of your own breathing – remembering the word for “breath” is the same word for “Spirit.” Offered in both AM and PM sessions to different participants. Limit 25 per session.

17.) Arguing with Scripture: Dialogical Relationship with the Word of God

How do we encounter God in words of Scripture that raise our blood pressure—words that have silenced women’s voices and circumscribed their lives and ministries? The workshop will expand on the Saturday morning plenary Bible Study, prompting further reflection on faithful wrestling with challenging texts and on the authority of Scripture. Offered in the AM session only. Led by Frances Taylor Gench. Limit 25.

18.) From Automatic to Authentic Living: The Enneagram Map as Guide

This Introductory Enneagram workshop will offer an in depth look at the nine Enneagram Types, or Ego Structures, their patterns, inner narratives and inherent strengths. Sandra will offer type-specific practices to soften the grip of automatic patterns in order to live more fully into who God dreamed us to be. Understanding the preferences we lead with as well as our Essence, is foundational to our personal and spiritual growth. Offered in the PM session only. Led by Sandra Smith. Limit 50.

Tentative Schedule

Friday, August 14

4:00 - 6:00 pm - Registration and Check In
5:30 pm - Dinner
7:00 pm - Opening worship with Rev. Dr. Alice Ridgill preaching
8:30 pm - Conference Fellowship

Saturday, August 15

7:30 - 8:30 am Breakfast
9:00 am - Morning Gathering and Bible Study with Dr. Frances Taylor Gench
10:15 am - Break
10:30 am - Workshop session I
12:00 pm - Lunch
2:00 pm - Workshop session II
3:30 pm - Free time
5:30 pm - Dinner
7:00 pm - An Evening with Jen Hatmaker
8:45 pm - Conference Fellowship

Sunday, August 16

7:30 - 8:30 am - Breakfast
9:30 am - Closing worship with Rev. Dr. Alice Ridgill preaching
11:00 am - Check-out time

Schedule is tentative and subject to change

More Information


Limited scholarships are offered for this conference.

The Mary Katherine “K.K.” Scott Cooper Endowment

The Mary Katherine “K.K.” Scott Cooper EndowmentThe Mary Katherine “K.K.” Scott Cooper Endowment provides support for women’s programming, leadership development, spiritual nurture and scholarship assistance at Montreat. Funds from this endowment help women with financial need to afford Montreat conferences and retreats, help Montreat provide programs that equip women for ministry, and help Montreat feature national quality speakers and conference leaders, who are themselves women leaders in the church. Download the K.K. Cooper Endowment Commitment Form to support this ministry or donate online through our giving form and include "K.K. Cooper Endowment" in the additional information section at the bottom of the page.

Refund Policy

Cancellations must be received by July 3 in order to receive a full refund less a $25 service charge. Cancellations received after July 3 but on or before August 7 will receive a 50% refund of the conference fee and payments made toward room and meal charges (if applicable) less $40. No refunds will be issued after August 7. All requests must be in writing and received via email, fax, or U.S. mail.

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