Women coming together in an open and welcoming community to be challenged and inspired, to rest and be renewed, and to discover who God wants us to be
August 9–11, 2019
Scripture tells us that: “Faith, hope, and love abide, but the greatest of these is love ” (1 Cor 13:13). God loves us anew, every single day. Because of that love, we are called to love, too–to choose love over and over. Valarie Kaur, in her 20I7 Ted Talk, asks us to reclaim love as a revolutionary act. In a time of rage, she says, the bravest choice is to love anew, every single day. Join us as we sing, share, and learn about love–God’s love for us, love for our neighbors near and far, love for ourselves, love through hospitality, love through our congregations. Join us as we proclaim: The greatest of these is love.
Women’s Connection 2019 will be a time to connect with old and new friends. It will be a time to care for yourself, a time for space and Sabbath. Our hope is you will experience spiritual nourishment, inspiration, and discernment. Our prayer is you will feel God’s loving presence.
Scripture passages we will study: 1 Corinthians 13, Matthew 22:36-39, John 13:34-35, Isaiah 43:1-4
The Presenters Package will gain you admission to hear Valarie Kaur on Saturday morning and Amy Grant on Sunday morning. This package deal will go on sale at a later date. One ticket provides access to both of these sessions; separate tickets for individual speakers will not be available. Sign up below to be contacted when the Presenters Package goes on sale and for more information about this special opportunity to hear these speakers!
Valarie Kaur – Keynote Speaker
Valarie Kaur is a seasoned civil rights activist, award-winning filmmaker, lawyer, faith leader, and founder of the Revolutionary Love Project. Her social justice campaigns have helped win policy change on hate crimes, racial profiling, immigration detention, solitary confinement, marriage equality, and Internet freedom. She founded Groundswell Movement, the Yale Visual Law Project and Faithful Internet, initiatives that equip new generations with tools for social change. During her work, inside supermax prisons, on the military base at Guantanamo, and at sites of mass shootings, she identified a surprising key element for social change: the ethic of love. Today she leads the Revolutionary Love Project to champion love as a public ethic and wellspring for social change. Kaur earned degrees at Stanford University, Harvard Divinity School, and Yale Law School. She has an honorary doctorate from the California Institute of Integral Studies. She is a member of the California Bar. Born and raised in Clovis, California, Valarie lives in her home state with her film partner/husband Sharat Raju, son Kavi, and daughter Ananda.
Rev. Jenny McDevitt – Preacher
Jenny McDevitt has served as senior pastor and head of Staff at Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church since April 2018. Prior to MAPC, Jenny served at Village Presbyterian Church outside of Kansas City as pastor of pastoral care for six years. She was ordained at First Presbyterian Church of Ann Arbor, MI, where she began in ministry back in 2009.
Jenny reads voraciously, runs slowly, hopes relentlessly, drinks too much coffee, and strives to take the gospel very seriously and to take herself less seriously. It’s a work in progress.
Carla Dos Santos-Webb – Music Leader
Music has played a major role in Carla Dos Santos-Webb's life as a singer-songwriter and worship leader. Raised in Apex, NC, Carla followed God's direction towards music in her later teenage years. She earned a BS majoring in music while receiving her Bible certificate at Columbia International University in Columbia, South Carolina. Carla has witnessed the power of worship to bring healing and meaning in a variety of contexts and cultures from large, blended traditional/contemporary churches in the Carolinas to a multi-ethnic house church in Italy. She seeks to point to God's presence and power through youth ministry, mentorship, and the daily grind of a Christ-centered life. Today, Carla continues to lead worship at different churches in the Carolinas and to touch people through worship, music, and life's ongoing journeys.
Amy Grant – Special Guest
Conventional wisdom has it that Amy Grant put Contemporary Christian music on the map, becoming the first CCM artist to have a platinum record, the first to hit No. 1 on the Pop charts, and the first to perform at the GRAMMY Awards. Since then, Grant has been strumming her way through a thirty-plus year adventure as a singer-songwriter, author, television host, and speaker. Over the years, she has sold more than 30 million albums world-wide, including three multi-platinum, six platinum, and four gold. Grant resides with her family in Nashville, TN, and is widely known for her philanthropy and tireless involvement in local causes and charitable organizations. Her own organization, The Helping Hands Foundation, has afforded her the opportunity to identify needs around her and the resources to help meet them, which has proven to be the sweetest reward of all.
Sunday morning, August 11, Amy Grant will be joining us as we close out the conference.
Rates & Registration
Registration opens February 1st!
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 rates below include the Women’s Connection conference fee, room in Assembly Inn, Winsborough, 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 June 28, 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.
- 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
The Winsborough and Glen Rock
- 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 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 June 28, this rate will increase by $25 per person.
- On or before June 28: $237 per person
- After June 28: $262 per person
Contact the Registrar
Questions about conference registration, housing, or meals? Please email the registrar at SusanA@montreat.org or call 828.419.9829.
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 already registered for the conference, but haven't signed up for your workshops yet, click here.)
1.) Take HeART: Experiencing, Exploring and Expressing the Love of God Creatively
Come ready to imagine, reflect and create! 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 "Take HeART" 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. Led by Chandler Guess
2.) Love in Public
“Tenderness is what love looks like in private; justice is what love looks like in public.” Cornell West. We are called to love, to love deeply with a preference for the poor and marginalized. The question of how to love justly those whom the world has forgotten but Jesus calls us to center in our work is the question Rev. Tutu and Rev. Morrow will focus on in their workshop entitled “Love in Public”. Rev. Morrow and Rev. Tutu will share stories from their work at Kairos West Community Center in Asheville, as well as their own personal encounters with Justice seeking Love. Join them to unpack the churches colonial impulse in “mission work” and to form together the theology and explore the practical application of transformational, relational, mutual ministry. Led by Milly Morrow and Naomi Tutu
3.) Diving Deep into Vulnerability and Courage (Showing Up, Being Seen, and Living Brave)
In this 90 minute workshop the participant will...
- be able to define vulnerability, looking at what she was taught vulnerability is, the myths and paradoxes of vulnerability, and how vulnerability and courage go hand in hand;
- understand and identify how when one is feeling vulnerable and stepping into the metaphorical arena, the common methods that one “armors up” for protection;
- look at the “shields” that are learned in childhood that “protect” from being harmed.
Much of this work is based on Dr. Brené Brown’s research and books, “The Daring Way”and “Dare to Lead.” Led by Frances Baldwin
4.) Reproductive Justice
Reproductive Justice (RJ) is a new framework for thinking and talking about women’s reproductive healthcare that seeks to expand public attention beyond the narrow framework of abortion. While RJ supports a woman’s right to choose, it embraces a much broader agenda that includes contraception, comprehensive sex ed, the right to have children, and the right to parent in safe and healthy environments. In this workshop, participants will learn about the RJ framework and discuss how to talk about about pregnancy, childbearing, and parenting in ways that move beyond the divisive politics of the current debate. Led by Rebecca Todd Peters
5.) Praying: A talk with God
Praying is communication with God. It is the heart of worship and what we are asked to do continually. Prayer can be beautiful, private, public, spoken, or heart given. Yet, prayer remains elusive to so many. We find it hard to pray because we don’t what to say or how to pray or for what to pray or even when we should pray. In this workshop, we will dispel any fear or remaining concerns about prayer. We will look at passages of the Bible and see what Scripture has to say about prayer, then we will talk very practically about prayer, postures of prayer, and the different kinds of prayer. Communication with God will much easier for us to do; no more fear. Find the joy in prayer. Led by Veronica Cannon
6.) Let’s Talk About Love - Valarie Kaur’s Revolutionary Love
Our keynote speaker this year, Valarie Kaur, is a courageous and creative activist whose wisdom and inspiration we will examine and learn from together in this workshop. She may not have written any books yet, but her words and insights are all over the internet and on her wonder-filled website, ValarieKaur.com. Here is a sample of her dynamism: “We believe Revolutionary Love is the call of our times…Our mission: to equip our movements and communities with tools to labor in love — love for others, our opponents, and ourselves. When we pour love in these three directions, then love becomes revolutionary.” It seems to me that, as followers of Christ, equipping ourselves and one another to “labor in love” ought to be our goal as well. After all, whose love is more revolutionary than that of the Triune God whom we adore? During this workshop, we will watch Valarie’s TED talk entitled, “3 Lessons of Revolutionary Love in a Time of Rage” together and then discuss it. Bring a notebook, your favorite pen, and an open heart - and let’s talk about love. Led by Gail Henderson-Belsito
7.) Infusing the Spirit: Practices for Grateful Living
"To be grateful is to recognize the love of God in everything...Every breath we draw is a gift...every moment of existence is a grace..." Thomas Merton. What if you discovered that living with awareness and intention, focusing on what makes you feel alive, grateful and in wonder, allows you to: live longer, inspire others, experience joy, hold pain and grief with compassion, and deepen love, generosity and respect for all life? Grateful living is a way of life that does all of the above and, in doing so, contributes to a peaceful, thriving, and sustainable world - held as sacred by all. In this workshop, you will learn the transformative power of living your life gratefully, with appreciation for what is already present and abundant in your life. Led by Heidi Gessner
8.) The Story of Love
Yes Paul said that of the three, faith, hope and love, love was the greatest. What does it mean to love? What is the story love tells? What does love look like in our lives? In this workshop, we will look at three faces of love and help each other come up with how we can live it our everyday. Led by Dianna Wright
9.) Love's Journey
What does your journey with love have to do with your faith? And how might delving into the beautiful and bumpy aspects of your closest relationships expand your capacity for experiencing the Holy? We will explore these queries through the images and reflections from Jeannie’s newest book, Tending The Fire: The Story of a Marriage, an intimate account of her own tender and difficult junctures in relationship. Whether you are with a long-time partner, on the precipice of new romance, or flying solo at the moment, come explore how you might live more deeply into the presence of God by being willing to encounter the fullness of your humanity, brought most especially into relief through your closest relationships. Led by Jeannie DuBose
10.) Prayerful Walking among the Elements
The spiritual practice of prayerful walking requires patience and agility. We need not be in a hurry if the purpose is to heighten our awareness of the sacredness of creation all around us. Mindfully gazing, gently touching, breathing deeply, and hearing the delicate sounds of the stirring spirit in nature calls us out of the frenetic rhythm of daily life and into the sacredness of the natural elements. On Saturday morning, while the air is still crisp and cool, we will hike a beautiful loop following the Julia Woodward, Harry Brian, and Sanctuary Trails. In the afternoon, we will take an easier, prayerful hike using the Lower Piney Trail. Plan to wear comfortable shoes and bring a full water bottle. Led by Heather Ferguson
11.) Slow Flow Yoga
This all-levels yoga workshop is the perfect way to take care of your mind, body & spirit. Join Katie for a practice of basic yoga postures, breathing, and meditation. Strengthen, stretch, and center. This workshop is open to beginners and seasoned yogis alike. Some yoga mats provided. You may also bring your own mat or towel. Wear comfortable clothes you can move in. Led by Katie Hay
12.) Living into your True Self: Vocation, Discernment, and Sustenance for the Journey
Living into your true calling; living as you were created to be; living alive and in relationship with God and one another is the most important calling we have. Vocation isn’t a prospective job title, or the answer to the question of whether you’re going to serve inside the church or outside of it, or what your family expects, or your friends expect, or your church expects. Vocation is the answer to the question asked by Mary Oliver at the end of her poem, The Summer Day: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” Our vocation is inextricably linked to God’s unique creation of each one of us. We come to know the person whom God has created us to be through a lifelong process of discernment. We are uniquely and wonderfully made in God’s image and granted gifts and passions by a God who loves us and yearns for us to be whole–a God who has dreams and visions about how we might co-create together. Join us as we explore a theology of vocation, a practical and prayerful path of discernment, and tools to sustain us on this journey. Led by Katie Ricks
13.) Anti-racism Work is Healing Work
Anti-racism work is healing work--and the healing is spiritual, embodied, and collective. But many people who identify as white resist the notion that even anti-racist white people are carriers of white supremacy. And many progressive white people especially resist the notion that our resistance diminishes the progress American culture has made to heal the wounds of racism. This workshop will explore embodied practices of power sharing, spiritual grounding, and sitting with tension to build spiritual capacity for anti-racism work. We will engage in self-reflection and group exercises to discern next steps in this work that the world so desperately needs all human beings to do more deeply. This workshop is for anyone who is dedicated to the hard work of anti-racism. The focus will be on common patterns of white behavior and white culture. Led by Marcia Mount Shoop
14.) Parenting as Activism
Who has time for political action when you’re the parent of young children? How do you find energy and devotion for social change in the midst of diaper changes and dinner dishes and bedtime routines? Well, it depends on how you think about activism. Activists carry protest signs and diaper bags. Activists write articles and read bedtime stories. As parents we are activists because when we parent a child, we parent the future. In this workshop we will reimagine activism together as it relates to the ways we parent our children. When time is short, how do we work for meaningful change? How do we raise children who are compassionate and committed to social justice? Let’s create community around these questions and inspire one another. Led by Ginny Taylor Troutman
Child Care Information
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, August 9
4:00-6:00 pm - Registration and Check In in Assembly Inn
5:30 pm - Dinner
7:00 pm - Opening Worship
8:30 pm - Conference Fellowship
8:30 pm - Workshop Leaders Meeting
Saturday, August 10
7:30 am - Breakfast
8:30 am - Opening Music and Announcements
9:00-10:30 am - Keynote with Valarie Kaur
10:30 - 11:00 am - Break with Coffee and Fellowship
11:00 am-12:30 pm - Workshop Session 1
12:30 pm - Lunch
2:30-3:30 pm - Workshop Session 2
3:30-5:30 pm - Free Time
5:30 pm - Dinner
8:30 pm - Big Mountain Circle Dancing followed by fellowship
Sunday, August 11
7:30 am - Breakfast
9:00 am - Special Guest Amy Grant
10:30 am - Break with Coffee and Time for Fellowship
11:00 am - Closing Worship with Communion
Departure - lunch on your own!
Check-in/Check-out for Housing
- Housing Check-in: Friday, August 9, 2019 AFTER 3:00 pm
- Housing Check-out: Sunday, August 11, 2019 BEFORE 11:00 am
Limited scholarships are offered for this conference.
The Mary Katherine “K.K.” Scott Cooper Endowment
The 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.
Cancellations must be received by June 28 in order to receive a full refund less a $25 service charge. Cancellations received after June 28 but on or before August 2 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 2. All requests must be in writing and received via email, fax, or U.S. mail.