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Montreat Conference Center - Radical Beauty

Radical Beauty

Living in the Tension of Healing and Social Change

October 9 - 12, 2017

Radical Beauty is for people who believe there’s a better way to engage in dialogue across all sorts of differences.

Do you believe beauty could be a resource for creating change in communities? A source of healing for hurting souls? A way of engaging in a more productive conversation?

We do.

Click on the Leadership tab above for more information on our key leaders. Details on workshops will be available soon!

Register Now!

To register and/or reserve accommodations for this conference online, please click on the RATES & REGISTRATION tab above. You may also download a registration form above.

Receive a free copy of The Porch Magazine

Gareth Higgins, founder of the Wild Goose Festival and The Porch magazine will be the creative director for Radical Beauty and is offering you a free issue of The Porch:

I’m really looking forward to being with you all at Radical Beauty, which I’m expecting will be a rich and inspiring time. In the meantime, I’d like to invite you to join the ongoing conversation we’re hosting at The Porch magazine, stories of beauty that help us live better.

I’m delighted to provide a free issue of The Porchjust click here to read it. If you like it, please subscribe at www.theporchmagazine.com, and join our community. I’d be delighted to have you with us – and your subscription will help us continue to nurture a community of hope amid the anxiety of the current moment.

Thank you friends, and I look forward to seeing you in October!

Warmly, Gareth

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Rates & Registration

Special Group Incentive for the Radical Beauty Conference!
When you bring your spouse or a friend – or a whole group of friends – with you to this conference, take advantage of our special group incentive rate. The first registration from a church group or presbytery team will be at the full comprehensive or commuter rate. Any additional registrations (all the friends and colleagues who come with you!) from the same church group or presbytery team will be reduced by $25 per registration. Two or more people constitute a group, and there is no limit to the number of people in your group who may take advantage of this offer. (When registering online, you may use the “Comments” section to notify the registrar of any additional people in your group. Some discounts may be applied separately by the registrar.)

Comprehensive Rates

Register online for conference, room, and meals

Comprehensive rates below include conference fee, room in Assembly Inn or the Winsborough (Monday through Wednesday night), meals in the Galax Dining Room (Monday supper through Thursday breakfast), plus a $3 community services fee per adult for public services provided by the Town and the fire district. Rooms are assigned on a first come, first served basis. Rooms in Assembly Inn have either private baths or connecting baths. Rooms in the Winsborough have mostly connecting baths.

After August 14, 2017, these rates will increase by $75 per person.

Assembly Inn:
$458.50 single occupancy
$622.00 double occupancy (includes “group” discount)
$80.50 for children 12-15
$40.00 for children ages 5-11
no charge for children under 5

Winsborough:
$308.50 single occupancy
$472.00 double occupancy (includes “group” discount)
$80.50 for children 12-15
$40.00 for children ages 5-11
no charge for children under 5

Commuter Rate

Register online for conference only

Commuter rates below include conference fee plus a $3 community services fee per person for public services provided by the Town and the fire district.

On/before August 14: $108 per person ($191 with spouse)
After August 14: $183 per person ($266 with spouse)
Daily Rate – $70 per person/per day (when registering online, enter “daily rate” and the date you wish to attend in the “Comments” section)

Refund Policy

Cancellations must be received by August 28 in order to receive a full refund less a $25 service charge. Cancellations received after August 28 but on or before October 2 will receive a 50% refund of the conference fee and payments made toward room and meal charges (if applicable) less $40. No refunds will be issued after October 2. All requests must be in writing and received via email, fax, or U.S. mail.

Child Care Information

Child care is available for this conference for an additional charge. Pre-registration is required. Enrollment is limited. The cost is $100 for the first child, and $50 for each additional child.  If you have questions about registering for child care, email the registrar at SusanA@montreat.org. If you have general questions about the child care program, please email the child care coordinator at childcare@montreat.org.

Contact the Registrar

If you have any questions about the registration process, please email the registrar at SusanA@montreat.org or call 828.419.9829.

Key Leadership

Montreat Conference CenterNatasha Trethewey – Presenter

Pulitzer Prize-winner Natasha Trethewey served two terms as the 19th Poet Laureate of the United States (2012-2014). Among her many honors, Trethewey is the recipient of the 2016 Academy of American Poets Fellowship which recognizes distinguished poetic achievement. Trethewey, formerly the Robert W. Woodruff Professor of English and Creative Writing at Emory University, will be joining the faculty of Northwestern University in the fall of 2017. In addition to being United States Poet Laureate, she held the position of State Poet Laureate of Mississippi, from 2012-2016.

Montreat Conference CenterAbraham Jam – Concert Artists and Presenters

A Muslim, a Jew, and a Christian walk into a concert hall……and put on a great concert together, modeling their mutual respect and affection, entertaining listeners, and creating music that is strengthened by their diversity, rather than hindered by it. These three musicians of the three Abrahamic faiths, each of whom has performed extensively and put out many CDs of original music, team up to play together as Abraham Jam. They don’t just take turns sharing songs, but create music together, contributing vocal harmonies, percussion, and instrumentation to each other’s songs. Dawud Wharnsby is an insightful and passionate musician based in Toronto, Canada. He sings beautifully-crafted original songs on guitar and mandolin. Billy Jonas is an accomplished percussionist, guitar player, pianist, and songwriter, with infectiously whimsical songs and a knack for inspiring audiences to join in. David LaMotte is a well-loved songwriter, with over 3000 concerts on five continents and every state in the U.S. on his musical resumé, his guitars and drums in tow. Together, they make up the Abraham Jam, a band of brothers.

Montreat Conference CenterGareth Higgins – Presenter/Creative Director

Gareth is a northern Irish peace activist, author, and beloved film critic. He is the founder of the Movies & Meaning Festival, The Porch Magazine, and helped found the Wild Goose Festival, a national justice, spirituality, and art festival launched in 2011. His most recent book, Cinematic States, explores the myth and dream of the United States through movies. He travels and speaks about film, peace activism, and Celtic spirituality.

Montreat Conference CenterFr. Eric Hollas – Presenter

Fr. Eric Hollas is a monk and priest of Saint John’s Abbey in Collegeville, MN. Since 1980 he has been a member of the faculty of the School of Theology and Department of Theology at Saint John’s University in Minnesota, and for nine years (1993-2002) he served as the executive director of the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library at Saint John’s University. He currently serves as Deputy to the President for Advancement, at Saint John’s University. Among his many activities, Fr. Eric was instrumental in initiating The Saint John’s Bible, a project in which the monks of Saint John’s have commissioned Donald Jackson, scribe to the Queen of England, to create a hand-written and illuminated Bible.

Montreat Conference CenterMona Haydar – Presenter

Mona Haydar is a poet, activist, practitioner of Permaculture, meditator, composting devotee, mountain girl, solar power lover and a tireless God-enthusiast. She teaches classes and retreats on mindfulness and Islamic spirituality, leads workshops on creative writing, and performs her poetry. Mona and her husband, Sebastian, set up a stand in Cambridge, Massachusetts with signs that read “talk to a Muslim,” “free coffee and donuts,” “free conversation,” and “ask a Muslim” encouraging open and loving dialogue which garnered the attention of NPR, Al Jazeera, and The Boston Globe among other media outlets. Currently she is working on her second collection of poems and her first work of nonfiction on Islamic spirituality through the lens of other spiritual traditions. She is working towards her Masters in Divinity. Mona helps to grow a more universal love with her activism, writing, performing, and teaching.

Montreat Conference CenterPeter and Joyce Majendie – Worship/Sacred Space

From Christchurch, New Zealand, Pete and Joyce have been instrumental in the creation of a variety of ways of bringing art and faith closer together. They are the creators of large-scale multi-media art installations in public spaces, including the 185 Empty White Chairs earthquake remembrance installation. For fourteen years they led Side Door, an alternative expression of church, for those going out the back door of church. Pete and Joyce will join Eric Wall and Ann Jones in creating opportunities for prayer and worship throughout the conference. In addition, Pete will present “Vincent van Gogh, Jesus and Me,” which will explore the life of Vincent van Gogh from the perspective of his spirituality and its relation to his art. As van Gogh struggled with failure and depression, his paintings and letters opened a different window to God, offering hope to all of us who struggle with somewhat less than successful lives.

Montreat Conference CenterRev. Dr. Ann Laird Jones – Conference Artist

Ann Jones is the director of arts ministry, Montreat Conference Center. She is a teaching elder and member of St. Andrew Presbytery, and splits her time between Greenville, MS, and Montreat, NC. She earned her undergraduate from Eckerd College, her Masters of Divinity from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, and her Doctor of Ministry degree from Wesley Seminary, under the leadership and guidance of Catherine Kapikian. She loves teaching pottery, drawing, and painting. She plays the violin and is moved by the arts at every turn.

Montreat Conference CenterEric Wall – Conference Musician

Eric Wall is the assistant professor of sacred music and dean of the chapel at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. From 1998 to 2015 he was director of music at First Presbyterian Church, Asheville, NC. Prior to this position, he was director of music at the Ashville School (1994-1998). He has served as the conference center musician at Montreat Conference Center since 2011. At Montreat Conference Center, he is responsible for providing musical direction for summer worship, directing a choir of college-age summer staff, offering music for adult conferences, participating in planning worship and arts conferences, being available as a resource musician for summer events, and engaging in the life of the conference center as a music and worship consultant. Wall is a frequent contributor to Call to Worship, the journal of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Theology and Worship. He regularly serves the larger church by providing music and planning leadership for a variety of conferences and gatherings and by serving as a music and worship consultant for other Presbyterian churches. He has taught at Columbia Theological Seminary and served as a music and worship consultant in various congregational settings.

More Information

Available Scholarships
We have limited scholarships available for program fee only.  Download the application form.

Child Care Information
Child care is available for this conference for an additional charge. Pre-registration is required. Enrollment is limited. The cost is $100 for the first child, and $50 for each additional child.  If you have questions about registering for child care, email the registrar at SusanA@montreat.org. If you have general questions about the child care program, please email the child care coordinator at childcare@montreat.org.

CEU’s
Continuing education units are available for this conference.

Private Housing
The following is a list of private rentals for individuals and groups:

Meals for Commuters
Please check out the Black Mountain Chamber of Commerce as well as our Business Patrons web page for a list of restaurants in Black Mountain.