by Constance Darnell
Storming into Memorial United Methodist Church an hour before the start of my first Kentucky Christian Writers Conference, I immediately began asking questions of the first person I met. “Is it possible to register at the door for this conference?” “Is it too late for me to make an appointment with an editor?” “Will you take a check?” “Do you need any help?”
Kate Thomas calmly answered each question in the affirmative and put a cooling hand on my shoulder. “We’ll get you settled in and then see which editor has space for an appointment.” Little did I know the woman in front of me was the founder of the conference and a woman who would gently lead me by her selfless service and sterling example for the next twenty-plus years.
The conference was a big success. Our keynote speaker sang and slugged water and made us laugh as she kindly introduced us to a wide variety of pertinent topics. She answered questions about publishing, copyrights, and the craft of writing. I met with an editor who convinced me to submit articles to magazines for publication to reach a broader audience than a first-time non-fiction book from a forty-something mom. I took her advice and was soon published by several Christian publications.
Several weeks after the end of this interdenominational Christian writers’ conference, I received a call from Kate inviting me to join the all-volunteer planning committee. We would need all year, she said, to prayerfully prepare for the next year’s conference. I was honored by the request and asked for twenty-four hours to speak with my husband and pray before giving my answer.
The rest is history. I’ve served in many different roles on the planning committee and now serve on the Executive Board. Over the years the technology has changed. The important things, however, have remained: genuine concern for each participant, prayerful preparation, hearty generosity from all speakers and editors, and a strong Christian focus. If those things are important to you, this is your conference.
Constance Darnell is a freelance writer and public speaker. The first chapter of her book, Songs for Martha, was published as a feature article in Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse Magazine under the title “Special Delivery” and nominated for The Gold Medallion Award in 2004. Her articles have also appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers including Kentucky Monthly Magazine, The News Enterprise, and Devotions Magazine.