Florida Christian Writers Conference Report

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This past week I was privileged to be on faculty at the Florida Christian Writers Conference.  This conference is now being run by the lovely Eva Marie Everson and the wonderful Mark Hancock. I like to joke with Mark that he is my long lost relative. If our hosts had not agreed to take over, last year’s conference would have been the final Florida conference after 25 consecutive years. Instead, we had a great time and plans are in the works for next year!

I recommend this conference for a number of reasons. First, the size was ideal to form a sense of community and to have time for meaningful conversations with one another. The faculty included top professionals and enough appointment slots so I felt as though writers were able to meet with the people they sought. The staff made sure to accommodate those conferees who would only be able to attend a day or so.

The conference offered dozens of classes to help writers learn the business and craft plus several continuing sessions were offered. Each class time slot had between four and eight workshops to choose from. Conferees told me they had trouble deciding between them all.

General sessions offered uplifting worship and informative speeches from CBA luminaries such as Rachel Hauck, Alton Gansky, and Dan Walsh. A special highlight for me happened when Dan held up the book Christmas at Holly Hill  by one of my clients, Martha Rogers, as he shared the inspiring story of how she had been writing for many years before finding success.

The conference ended with a delightful banquet resplendent with gourmet fare. During the ceremony afterwards, many authors were given awards. Sally Stuart was bestowed a beautiful statuette as the first annual recognition in honor of Billie Wilson, who directed the conference for 25 years before her recent retirement.

Everyone wants to know what to expect in the way of accommodations before committing to a trip so here is my take. Florida weather in February is generally temperate. I brought a light raincoat with a hood in case of afternoon showers. The conference is located about an hour and a half from the Orlando airport. I enjoyed the easy walkability of the Lake Yale Conference Center, with gorgeous trees covered with hanging moss by — you guessed it — a lake. Internet access can be a bit slow, but I was able to keep the fires at the office going during my trip. Most rooms do have televisions, but my room did not have a hair dryer or coffee maker. One conferee told me her room had a coffee maker. I found my quarters to be spacious, clean, and comfortable. As for meals, our faculty hosted tables with plenty of Southern style food. At one meal I enjoyed fried chicken and mashed potatoes and at another, North Carolina style barbeque. On one or two occasions I partook of the soup and salad bar.

All in all, I enjoyed warm spirit and fellowship in a pleasant atmosphere with my brothers and sisters in Christ. I hope you will consider the Florida Christian Writers Conference as you make your travel plans for next year.

19 Responses to Florida Christian Writers Conference Report

  1. Rachel Hauck March 7, 2013 at 7:55 am #

    Thanks for the shout out Tamela. Such a great report of such a great conference! I had a blast there.

    Rachel

  2. Jeanne T March 7, 2013 at 8:23 am #

    It sounds like it was a wonderful conference. It’s fun to hear your take on what the conference offered, as well as facilities. I don’t get to many conferences, but this one sounds like a great one. Thanks for sharing this, Tamela!

  3. Angie Dicken March 7, 2013 at 9:34 am #

    Sounds wonderful, Tamela! What a great location for a conference this time of year, also. :) The writing community has become so near and dear to my heart, I can’t wait until ACFW!

  4. Angie Breidenbach March 7, 2013 at 9:46 am #

    I’m excited to be speaking there next year :)
    Angie

  5. Eva Marie Everson March 7, 2013 at 10:22 am #

    Tamela,

    We loved having you on our illustrious faculty and hope you will come again next year. Bring that “old guy” you work for, too. :)

    For some reason, even as one of the two directors, and as hard as we worked, I had waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much fun! Of course, if your readers go to ChristinaMackPhotography.com and look at the conference photos (Christina was our official photographer), I think they’ll see why. Our speakers, teachers, and other faculty were incomparable!

    For those interested in knowing more, go to http://www.FloridaCWC.net. To see the photos, go to: http://christinamackphotography.com/flcwc

    Eva Marie Everson
    FCWC “Lovely” Director (along with the “wonderful” Mark Hancock)

  6. Ava Pennington March 7, 2013 at 10:54 am #

    It was good to see you there, Tamela!

  7. Marti Pieper March 7, 2013 at 3:18 pm #

    I was glad to meet you, too, Tamela. Thanks for making time in your busy schedule to attend. And I agree: Mark and Eva put together a top-notch conference in a short time. Thanks for helping make it such a worthwhile event.

  8. Peter DeHaan March 7, 2013 at 4:23 pm #

    Tamela, I appreciate you saying the conference was the ideal size. I wonder if that matches my perspective of an ideal size. About how many attendees and speakers were there?

    Thanks for the report.

    • Tamela Hancock Murray March 13, 2013 at 1:58 pm #

      Peter, sorry for my delay in responding. I was having trouble posting comments. In my estimation, between full-time attendees and commuters, we had between 200 and 225.

  9. Cecelia Dowdy March 7, 2013 at 5:39 pm #

    I’ve never been to this conference but it sounds wonderful. I especially like the fact that it’s near a lake. Also, the food sounds fabulous!

  10. Linda Rodante March 8, 2013 at 3:55 pm #

    I so wanted to come but could not make it this year. Will plan for next. So glad the conference is continuing and that it was a success!

  11. Dan Walsh March 9, 2013 at 7:36 am #

    Tamara, great to see you there. Happy to honor a woman who has blessed so many, not just with her writing but her compassion and prayers. Always love seeing Martha’s smiling face at the ACFW conferences.

    You did a great job summarizing the event. I’m so glad Mark and Eva took up the mantle to keep it going. They did far more than merely keeping things afloat. Their emcee efforts were a highlight of the event for me. Never knew announcements could be so much fun.

    • Dan Walsh March 9, 2013 at 7:37 am #

      Typing so fast, I misspelled your name. So sorry.

      • Dan Walsh March 9, 2013 at 7:39 am #

        Maybe I have some Asian roots I don’t know about. Sorry, bad joke.

    • Tamela Hancock Murray March 13, 2013 at 1:59 pm #

      No problem, Dan! I have learned to answer to everything from Pam to Tamelia. :D

  12. Michelle Saint-Germain March 11, 2013 at 8:00 am #

    I totally agree that this conference is a great one! I’ve been twice now and hope to go back next year. The week went by way too fast. Eva and Mark did an awesome job–from organizing the schedule to booking awesome presenters and teachers. Well done!

    Michelle

  13. Eva Marie Everson March 11, 2013 at 10:43 am #

    How wonderful to read all these comments! We did have fun, didn’t we? Thank you all for making FCWC 2013 so memorable!

    Eva

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