HEARING THE STORIES AGAIN
An opportunity through speaker’s music, reflection and nature to be nourished, to stir creative juices, to ask questions, to get inspired.
This year’s conference is led by John Bell and Valerie Tutson and includes both plenary and small group work. Featuring the music of Fran McKendree, River Guerguerian and company.
John Bell is a hymn-writer.
John Bell is also a preacher, composer, lecturer and broadcaster, who spends much of the year travelling, mostly in the Americas and Europe. He is an ordained minister of the Church of Scotland and a member of the Iona Community. During his studies in Theology, he became the first (and last) student Rector of the University of Glasgow. After a period in the Netherlands and two posts in church youth work, he became employed, firstly in youth work and then in the areas of music and worship, founding during that time, with Graham (below), the Wild Goose Worship Group and the Wild Goose Resource Group.
He is a past convenor of the Church of Scotland’s Panel on Worship and the committee that produced the ground-breaking Church Hymnary 4. In 1999, he was honoured by the Presbyterian Church of Canada and the Royal School of Church Music which bestowed a Fellowship on him. In 2002, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Glasgow. In 2013, he was awarded the Community of Christ International Peace Award.
John has produced many collections of liturgy, scripts, sermons and reflections, original hymns and songs (some in collaboration with Graham) and three collections of songs of the World Church. These are published by the Iona Community’s Wild Goose Publishing arm in Scotland and by G.I.A. Publications (Chicago) in N. America. He lectures in theological colleges in Britain and U.S., but is primarily concerned with the renewal of congregational worship at grass roots level.
John hails from Kilmarnock and like Johnnie Walker, the ubiquitous creator of the world-wide whisky, John shares an affection for colourfully, distinctive dressing (without the top hat, red coat, white britches and black knee-length boots).
Valerie Tutson is a storyteller.
Valerie graduated from Brown University with a Masters Degree in Theatre Arts and a degree in a self-designed major-Storytelling As A Communications Art. Valerie has been telling stories in schools, churches, libraries, festivals and conferences since 1991.
She draws her stories from around the world with an emphasis on African traditions. Her repertoire includes stories and songs she learned in her travels to South Africa, her experiences in West Africa, stories from African American history.
In addition, she is gaining quite a reputation for her exciting retelling of age-old Bible stories. She not only delights listeners with her tale-telling, she also teaches workshops and classes to students of all ages, and hosts CULTURAL TAPESTRY, an award-winning show for COX 3 celebrating the diverse cultures around us. Valerie has most recently served as the co Director of the National Black Storytelling Festival in Providence, RI.
Fran McKendree is a musician.
While walking around his New York City neighborhood one day, looking for inspiration, Fran discovered a small Episcopal church. The next Sunday he and his wife, Diana, went to see what it was all about….finding an engaging, faithful, outreach minded and artistic gathering of seekers. It was a breakthrough for Fran, opening a new spiritual path which led him to heed the call to to take some time for reflection. He and Diana moved to a small town on Cape Cod, where, setting aside his music, he began to work with youth, build houses, and make furniture [remember the ‘varied career?’], eventually feeling a deep longing to make music again. Emerging from this soul searching period he began to work under the aegis of the Episcopal church. He has continued to develop and explore his calling; doing concerts, as music leader and coordinator for conferences, keynote presenter, mentor, and workshop leader.
He has released several CDs, as well as producing recordings for other artists at his Teerivane Studios in Hendersonville, NC, where he and Diana now live. Fran continues to be awed by the journey that has unfolded, writing; “My hope is to remain thankful for and receptive to the movement of God in my life, and to do this in a humble, energetic manner, celebrating our differences and similarities as creatures of God, and remembering always that we are called to actualize our faith in the world around us.”
Much to Fran’s surprise he received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the Virginia Theological Seminary in 2016, for which he is most grateful!
Overnight rates include conference fees, materials, 2 nights lodging, and 7 meals.
Commuter rate includes conference fees, materials, and 7 meals.
Limited on-site lodging so register early!