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2017 College Conference at Montreat

Beyond Babel

January 2 - January 5, 2017

One people with one language become scattered and multilingual. A united community finds itself confused and scattered. Clarity becomes babble. Construction on a tower stops. In 2017, join us for the College Conference at Montreat as we visit the Tower Of Babel in Genesis 11. What does this Tower show us about God? What does it show us about ourselves? What can the church learn from this halted construction project? In 2017 we will we see how God gave an ancient people a holy nudge towards diversity, and we will consider how God is nudging us today too. Join us as we go Beyond Babel.

Genesis 11 (NRSV) The Tower of Babel
Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. 2 And as they migrated from the east,[a] they came upon a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. 3 And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves; otherwise we shall be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.” 5 The LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which mortals had built. 6 And the LORD said, “Look, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do; nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down, and confuse their language there, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.” 8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. 9 Therefore it was called Babel, because there the LORD confused[b] the language of all the earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.

“Young people don’t have to be taught about diversity; that is the landscape in which they live. They need to be taught how to relate positively to that diversity, to approach it with a bridge-building ethic drawn from their tradition.” –Eboo Patel, Engage, The Institute for Youth Ministry, Princeton Theological Seminary

Registration Information

Registration for College Conference 2017 opens on October 1, 2016!

Workshop Presenters
For the 2017 College Conference at Montreat we will not have Discussion Groups and, therefore, we will not be accepting Discussion Group Leader Applications. This application is for Workshop Presenters only. In 2017 we will engage conferees in a new programing model. Conferees will be placed in one of three Critical Conversation Groups for discussion and processing of material presented in keynote presentations. These Critical Conversation groups will be led by three, paid professionals who are experienced in group leadership and cross-racial dialogue. We are excited for this new platform and we appreciate your support of the conference.

Conference Exhibitors
Conference Exhibitors apply here. Space is limited. Applications are due by December 1, 2016 and accepted applicants will be notified by December 9, 2016.

2017 Event Team
The deadline to apply for the 2017 Event Team has passed, but you can still submit an application and we will hold it on file.

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Key Leadership

Montreat Conference CenterValarie Kaur (keynote leader) is an American interfaith leader. As a lawyer, filmmaker, and Sikh activist, she helps communities channel their stories into movements for social change. She has made award-winning films and led multimedia campaigns on a wide range of issues: hate crimes against Sikh and Muslim Americans, racial profiling, gun violence, marriage equality, immigration detention, and solitary confinement.

Montreat Conference CenterThe Rev. Dr. Betty Deas Clark (keynote leader) is a pastor, author, global strategist, innovator, and philanthropist. In 2016, Dr. Clark was appointed the first female pastor in the 200 year history of Mother Emanuel AME Church, a historic institution steeped rich in tradition located in Charleston, SC. Following the tragic events surrounding June 17, 2015, she has been hailed as “America’s Pastor.” As a global strategist, Dr. Clark advises leaders in the public, private, and faith sectors on leadership development, poverty, health, education, and faith in today’s culture. She is often sought after by media as a resource on various religious issues. Dr. Clark earned a BA from Limestone College, and made history by becoming the first to graduate with a MDiv from the Charleston Extension Program of Erskine Seminary where she later earned a DMin with a concentration in personal and family spiritual renewal.

Montreat Conference CenterThe Rev. Paul Roberts Sr. (preacher) is president of Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary in Atlanta, GA, a position he has held since the spring of 2010. Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary is one of ten theological schools of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and the only one that is historically African American. Prior to his career in ministry, Paul worked for eight years in advertising in New York City. Paul is a contributing writer to Pastoral Care: A Case Study Approach ( Orbis Books,1998), and to Feasting on the Gospels (Westminster/John Knox Press, 2013).

Montreat Conference CenterSam Burchfield (music leader) grew up in Seneca, SC, where he attended Fort Hill Presbyterian Church. He participated in Montreat Youth Conferences each year of high school and then worked on Montreat summer staff during college as the ʺMusic Manʺ for Clubs. He graduated from the University of Georgia with a BA in public relations and music business and moved to Atlanta in 2014, where he is pursuing his career as a performing artist, songwriter, and full-time musician. Sam has written, recorded, and co-produced two independent records, and tours heavily up and down the east coast. His favorite pastimes include building Legos, playing basketball, eating Mexican food, and hiking around Montreat. Legend has it that he currently holds the world record for rock-hopping.

Montreat Conference CenterZach Wells (music leader) is a musician and songwriter based out of Atlanta, GA. While he’s not performing with Sam Burchfield, Zach enjoys participating in and leading worship at various churches in the Atlanta area. Between his years at Presbyterian College, Zach spent his summers working on summer staff at Montreat. In his free time, you can find Zach writing at the piano, traveling to new places, or searching for the best pizza in town.

Montreat Conference CenterThe Rev. Andrew Wilkes (critical conversation leader) is an ordained minister, democratic socialist, writer, and the Principal of Wilkes Advocacy Group. A native of Atlanta, GA, Andrew is a proud graduate of Hampton University and Princeton Theological Seminary. He currently serves as an Associate Pastor at the Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral of New York, NY. He is a writer for The Guardian, The Huffington Post, Mic.com, Democratic Socialists of America, and more. Andrew resides in Harlem, NY with his wife, Gabby Cudjoe-Wilkes. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewJWilkes.

Montreat Conference CenterJessica Vazquez Torres (critical conversation leader) is a proven leader with 15 years experience in anti-racism, anti-oppression, and cultural competency workshop development and facilitation. She is active in peace and justice concerns, including worker justice, immigration reform and anti-racism. Jessica is deeply committed to addressing social structures and cultural dynamics that marginalize and minoritize communities and limit their access to resources. Jessica, a 1.5-Generation ESL Queer Latina of Puerto Rican descent, holds a Bachelors degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Central Florida, a Master of Divinity from Christian Theological Seminary, and a Master of Theological Studies from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. 

Montreat Conference CenterDavid LaMotte (critical conversation leader) is an award-winning songwriter, speaker, author, and activist. He has produced 11 CDs and performed 2500 concerts on 5 continents. He has published two illustrated children’s books, S.S. Bathtub, a rhyming book for small children based on his award-winning song of the same name, and White Flour, a whimsical introduction to nonviolence, based on true events. David’s most recent projects include his 2014 book Worldchanging 101: Challenging the Myth of Powerlessness (already in its 2nd printing), and PickOne.org, a web site that nourishes positive change by inspiring and empowering people to take action on issues they care about.