By Kathy Harris
Strolling through the lobby of the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Indianapolis, Indiana in September, I realized how blessed I was again to be sharing a weekend with more than 600 writers of like mind and Spirit.
The hundreds of seasoned and pre-published authors, editors and representatives from major Christian publishers, and agents who attend ACFW conference each year share a common goal, furthering God’s Word through their words. It was evident from the smile on each face, even when energy began to wane during the final day, that the experience was mutually uplifting.
Where else can a writer go to be fed intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually with the meat and potatoes (lots of these on the menu this year, but I digress) of fellowship, craft, and encouragement? Where else can you learn the personal back-stories of countless other writers and make friendships that last a lifetime?
Although a 600+ person conference may sound impersonal, the ACFW conference is far from it. Numerous times that weekend I heard someone say they were touched to learn the personal story of another writer. It’s cathartic and humbling when you realize that others have had trials and triumphs along the way, many more difficult than your own, whether family issues, health concerns or financial worries. But knowing that we all rely upon the same Creator to begin a new work in our lives daily is the beginning of a special camaraderie.
If you didn’t attend the ACFW conference this year (or if you did!), I hope you’ll plan to attend next year. The 2014 event is scheduled for September 25 – 27 in St. Louis, Missouri. Now is the perfect time to start saving for it. Or, better yet, put it on your Christmas wish list.
If you feel you can’t attend without assistance, apply for a conference scholarship. Or, if you can afford to, donate to the scholarship fund to bless others.
Conference is an opportunity to share. As we count our blessings this year, let’s include ACFW among them.
We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light. Col. 1:11-12 NLT
Kathy Harris is an author by way of a “divine detour” into the Nashville entertainment business. Her debut novel, The Road to Mercy, was released by Abingdon Press last year. She regularly interviews literary and music guests on her blog at www.DivineDetour.com. Follow her on Twitter @DivineDetour.