Montreat Creates Newly Envisioned Conference Department

posted on May. 15, 2014

Prompted by the recent announcement of the upcoming retirement of Rev. Bob Tuttle, the Montreat Conference Center is announcing plans to create a single, unified conferencing department. This is a change from recent years in which all youth related events were planned by the Center for Youth and Youth Adult Ministry and adult events were planned through The Center for Faith and Life. “This is a natural evolution from the model of recent years, allowing for more nimble and consistent programming” says Pete Peery, President of Montreat. This change moves Montreat closer to fulfilling the new goals and objectives in its Strategic Transformation Plan, adopted by the Board of Directors in November 2013. This newly formed conference department will coordinate all Montreat conferences, programs, and events.

Officially beginning September 1, 2014, the conference department will be headed up by the Reverend Carol Steele. Steele has served directly under Bob Tuttle for the past nine years as the Director for Youth and Young Adult Ministry, and has been responsible for the overall logistics and success of all six Montreat Youth Conferences, in addition to several other conferences that she programs. Steele, a graduate of Davidson College and Union Presbyterian Seminary, has deep roots and wide networks throughout the denomination, and a keen interest in discerning what the church of Jesus Christ is called to be and do in this particular moment of God’s time. Steele looks at this transition as a way to evolve with some of the changes happening within the Church today. “There hasn’t been a generation of Christians who couldn’t affirm the truth that change is a constant. Ours is no different. Our challenge is to examine the times in which we live and discern what is required of us as Christ’s hands and feet. I believe Montreat is privileged to play host to pieces of holy conversation.”

New to the Montreat team will be the Reverend Katie Cashwell. She will serve a residency as Associate Director for Conferencing, focusing on Youth Conferences. Cashwell completed her undergraduate work at Davidson College and is a graduate of Union Presbyterian Seminary, where she earned her Master of Divinity. Cashwell most recently served at The New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in downtown Washington, D.C., and has also worked with volunteers following Hurricane Katrina and has worked extensively in camp and conference ministry as a counselor, environmental educator, and outdoor trip leader.

Cashwell is no stranger to the Montreat scene. A North Carolina native, Katie attended Montreat as a youth conferee with First Presbyterian Church of Greensboro and has served Montreat in a variety of capacities over the years.

Tracy Taylor Bailey, Evelyn Coleman, Emily Causey, and Cheryl Payne will continue in this newly envisioned department.

In this transition, the Reverend Merriam Alexander, currently the Vice President for the Center for Faith and Life, will take a newly focused role as Senior Director for Partner Development. Alexander will be Montreat’s primary person in soliciting institutions, para-church organizations, and communions beyond the PC (U.S.A.) to have their programs and conferences hosted through Montreat. This position will work through the Sales, Marketing, and Communications Department to expand the existing sales structure.

Montreat Conference Center is an institution affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and hosts thousands of families, youth, and individuals from around the country each year. Located in the mountains of Western North Carolina, Montreat has served as a “destination on the journey” for those seeking spiritual renewal for over a century. In addition to hosting conferences, Montreat serves a site of choice for many retreats, business meetings, and other events throughout the year. Montreat is completing a $6.2 million renovation to the historic Assembly Inn and is looking forward to additional renovations in the near future. In 2013, Montreat adopted a new mission statement: “Encountering God through Relationships, Renewal, Recreation, and Rest.”

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