Thursday, July 18, 2019

Invitation to a Writing Conference in the West

After attending Mennonite writing conferences in the East and Christian conferences in Oregon, I felt that Mennonite writers in the West needed their own event. For about five years, we hosted a writers’ dinner in conjunction with the annual Western Fellowship Teachers’ Institute. The idea for a one-day conference came out of those evenings together.
I’ve sent information to a number of writers, with instructions to spread the word to their churches.
Now, we’re opening registration to everyone, Anabaptist or not, western or not.
Whether you’re an experienced writer or a beginner, we think you’ll enjoy this.

Saturday, August 10, 2019
Pioneer Christian Academy
331 Blakely Avenue, Brownsville, Oregon
A conference to connect, inform, and encourage past, current, and potential Anabaptist writers.

To pre-register: send $30 to via PayPal and email your name and phone number. Or mail $30 to:
Paul Smucker
31148 Substation Drive
Harrisburg, OR 97446
Registration at the door is $35.
8:30 Registration, coffee, muffins
9:00-10:30 General session 1
Opening and announcements
Chris Miller: Finding a Message
10:45-11:45 Workshop 1
Mary Hake: Get Ready to Write for Children
Dorcas Smucker: How to Begin Writing
Lunch (provided)
12:45-2:00 General session 2—Chris Miller
2:15-3:15  Workshop 2
Mary Hake: Get Ready to Polish Your Piece
Paul Smucker: Supporting a Writer
Dorcas Smucker: Essay Writing
3:15-4:00 Brief general session. Coffee and cookies. Browse the bookstore, sign books, fellowship.

Workshop 1 options:
“Get Ready to Write for Children” by Mary Hake
Do you want to write for children’s Sunday School papers? These weekly take-home papers need both fiction and nonfiction material, plus poetry, puzzles, and more. This workshop will help you explore and learn to develop ideas for Christian periodicals for children, particularly for Christian Light Publications. We will also discuss writing for a theme, tailoring your work to the appropriate age level, and how to submit it.
“How to Begin Writing” by Dorcas Smucker
Maybe you have a persistent idea for a book, or you enjoy journaling and would like to try writing for publication.  Probably, you don’t know if you have what it takes. This workshop is for those who are interested in writing but don’t know how or where to begin. We’ll look at the steps from vague idea to published piece.
Laura Smucker: Capturing and Publishing a Real Person’s Story
Have you ever wished to write a personal story without boring your readers to tears with unnecessary details? Find ways to explore and gather, begin and continue, then sell and publish a real person’s story making it a good read for a broad audience.
Workshop 2 options:
Get Ready to Polish Your Piece by Mary Hake
After you have finished your manuscript and let it sit for a while, it’s time to polish your written work. How should you conduct this self-editing process in order to make your words shine? This workshop will offer steps to follow to check for errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc. and tips to revise your creation so it best expresses what you wish to convey. The material covered can be applied to all types of writing.
Supporting a Writer by Paul Smucker
Writers leave jotted notes around the house, shed tears over negative reviews, and agonize over word choices. What types of support do they need from their spouse or family member to best fulfil their calling? Discussion will include privacy, priorities, and practicalities.
Essay Writing by Dorcas Smucker
Essays are short nonfiction pieces that are both story and opinion, personal and universal, wandering and focused. We'll discuss what essays are, what they are not, and how to develop essays from personal experience, moving from initial brainstorming to final paragraphs. We'll also cover the self-discovery in essay writing, asking "So what?" about your experiences, and finding a home for your finished pieces.

CHRIS MILLER is a teacher, motivator, and communicator. He is the principal of Pioneer Christian Academy and is passionate about history, music, and the great outdoors.
MARY HAKE has been writing for more than 40 years and has sold numerous articles, stories, activities, poetry, devotions, and curricula for both children and adults. She has studied children’s literature and enjoys children and their books. Mary has also taught creative writing to children from second grade through high school and has taught Sunday School to children from preschool to adolescents. Mary, a native Oregonian, and her husband, Ted, became Anabaptists as adults, and live in Central Oregon. She is involved with a local writers’ group there as well as Oregon Christian Writers. She is currently working on a historical middle grade novel. In addition to her writing, she does freelance editing work.
LAURA SMUCKER began her writing as a girl keeping a journal as part of a writing class in middle school. Working to find her style, Laura wrote poetry, children’s Sunday School stories, and personal stories. Her love of history and people led her to begin writing about real people. She has three published books—Strands of Gold, A Reason to Hope, and Prejudice and Pardon as well as other stories and short articles. She lives in Madras, Oregon, with her husband and five of her six children.
DORCAS SMUCKER is a pastor’s wife and mother of six. For almost 19 years, she wrote a newspaper column about family life for the Eugene Register-Guard. The columns were collected into seven books, including Upstairs the Peasants are Revolting and Tea and Trouble Brewing. She blogs at Life in the Shoe and is experimenting with other types of writing.
PAUL SMUCKER is a pastor, teacher, and businessman. He has written hundreds of sermons and learned to communicate effectively with students, church members, farmers, and many others. Paul is also the husband and father of writers and believes in finding and encouraging a family member’s talents and callings, even if they’re very different from your own.


  1. I'm so excited to come to this...I pray the details will work themselves out soon. I already know which workshops I'm interested in the most. Shilah

  2. Oh I wish I could go. It looks like so much fun.