First-Timers Contest Open

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized, Writers Conference.

by Susan K. Stewart

I pulled my suitcase from the carousel, turned, and looked for the sign to direct me to the shuttle. I may have looked like any other traveler. Or maybe I didn’t. I’m sure what I felt inside showed on my face. “I’m almost there!” A forty-five-minute drive is all that was left.

As others chatted in the van, I watched as the city started to give way to the lush hills. Soon the van left the freeway to start a curvy two-lane road up the California coastal mountains. Trees became the predominant scenery. I began to recognize landmarks along the way. As the van topped the summit, I was awed to see the restaurant we used to stop at when I was a child traveling the same route to Santa Cruz.

Finally, the turn to the conference center. Not far now. I made it. I finally made it.

Attending writers’ conferences is an annual event, sometimes twice a year, a local conference and a regional one. But THE conference for me was always Mount Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference. I stepped off the van, looked around. I’m here! My brain shouted.

Mount Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference had long been a dream. Let’s face it, though. It is a pricey conference. I knew when God’s time was right, he would provide what was needed for me to attend. And he did. (Why are we often surprised when God does great things for us?)

If like me, you have prayed for the opportunity to attend this premiere conference, then the Mount Hermon First-Timers Contest may be it.

Ten winners will receive a full scholarship, including economy lodging and meals. The contest is open to unpublished and published writers who have never attended. There is no fee to enter. The deadline is December 20, 2017.

The entry can be an article, blog post, fiction or non-fiction book manuscript, or poetry. The piece does not need to be overtly Christian but must have a Judeo-Christian worldview. Complete entry submission details are at the Mount Hermon Christian Conference website, click here.

God wants to do great things for us. For many writers, a major conference, such as Mount Hermon may be that great thing. Prayerful consider entering the First-Timers Contest and you too can enjoy the excitement of that trip up the mountain.

Susan StewartWhen she’s not tending chickens, peacocks, and donkeys, Susan K. Stewart teaches, writes, and edits non-fiction. Susan’s passion is to inspire readers with practical, real-world solutions. Her books include Science in the Kitchen and Preschool: At What Cost? plus the award-winning Formatting e-Books for Writers. You can learn more at her website www.practicalinspirations.com.


Christy Awards Gala Upcoming

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

Upon hearing the news that her short novel Restoring Christmas is a 2017 Christy award finalist, Cynthia Ruchti raised her face to the sky, clasped her hands to her heart, and said, “I can explain hard work. I can explain that God gives the gift of storytelling. But I cannot…ever…explain the outrageous favor of God.”

Restoring Christmas is Cynthia’s second Christy finalist. Last year her novel As Waters Gone By was also a finalist.

Established in 1999, the Christy Awards have come to represent the best aspirations and accomplishments of authors who write from a perspective of faith. The award was named in honor of Catherine Marshall’s novel, Christy, published in 1967.

Christy has sold more than ten million copies since its first publication, earning the rank of national best seller in August 1968, a rare feat for a Christian novel.

Independent publisher Joanne Bischof was walking on her treadmill when she received the news that her novel, The Lady and The Lionheart, is a Christy finalist this year. She says “[I was] trying to shut it down and get off all at the same time as the news was being relayed to me so it took me a few moments for my brain to engage with what was happening!” Two previous books of Joanne’s were also finalists.

When asked about the Christy Awards and nomination, Cynthia Ruchti said, “It’s been an honor to have books recognized by industry awards. From the first one, I have placed my Bible over the physical award and prayed, ‘Jesus, help me always see this through Your Word.’ I have a Christy finalist medal from last year for As Waters Gone By. This year’s honor is at least as humbling. Maybe even more so. The legacy of the Christy Award program has had me applauding for other authors and publishers for years. I’m still applauding, including for the quality judges who invest their time and diligence in finding meaning in the pages.”

Both authors say it’s the story that matters. Joanne advises, “Write the best book you can.” Cynthia tell us, “A great story is not a writer’s solo effort. It is communication among the author, the characters, the reader, and the God of story, the Author of our faith.”

Joanne offers this advice to independently published authors: “Study the craft, read good fiction, and develop a writing style that is true to your heart and one that readers can engage with. Hone your marketing skills, put careful thought into a strong cover and polished product, learn who your audience is, and connect with them on a true and authentic level. Beyond that, I suggest trusting the process and embracing the unique role that books, and authors, serve in the Christian fiction market.”

Both authors remind us that it’s the grace and provision of God that allows them to write these award-nominated novels. “No matter where you land (and believe me, I have been rock bottom before with many, many rejections),” Joanne commented, “hold on to the hope that God doesn’t make mistakes, and the refining process is only going to equip you to be a better storyteller and a more tenderhearted author for your readers.”

The Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA) acquired the Christy Awards in 2016. The program gives awards in nine categories plus naming one novel “Book of the Year.” Members of ECPA see value in this prestigious Christian fiction recognition program. The ECPA board and Christy Award advisory board have an aggressive plan to bring out the best of Christian fiction.

The award announcements will be made at The Art of Writing Conference  and Christy Award Celebration Gala on November 8 in Nashville. Registration for both events is open until November 8. Register for either event separately, or both for just $99.


Seven Months and Counting

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized, Writers Conference.

Only seven months. That’s right. Only seven months until 2018 Mount Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference. We’re busy getting ready for you.

The main conference will be March 23 through 27, 2018 with the Pre-Conference Next Level Clinic, March 21 to 23.

Liz Curtis HiggsLiz Curtis Higgs is scheduled to be the keynote speaker. Liz is the author of thirty-six books with 4.6 million copies in print, including her nonfiction best sellers, Bad Girls of the Bible, The Girl’s Still Got It, and The Women of Easter, and her Scottish historical novels, Here Burns My Candle and Mine Is the Night. She has spoken for Women of Faith, Women of Joy, Extraordinary Women, and 1,700 other women’s conferences in all fifty United States and fifteen foreign countries, including South Africa, Thailand, and Indonesia. Her messages are biblical, encouraging, down-to-earth, and profoundly funny. She has one goal: to help Christians embrace the grace of God with joy and abandon.

In addition to workshops, night owl sessions, and editor and agent appointments, the Morning Mentoring Clinics and Manuscript Review will be available again.

Registration is now open. It only takes a small deposit to reserve your spot.

To receive the latest information, subscribe to this blog and you will receive an email notification of each new post. Also, “like” the Mount Hermon Writer’s Conference Facebook page.

We look forward to welcoming in 2018 to the Mount Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference.

Register Today


Meet the Newest Members of Our Year Round Kidder Creek Camp Team

Posted by & filed under Kidder Creek, Staff News, Stories of Ministry.

Danna Ayers

What an amazing opportunity I’ve been given to work at Kidder Creek Camp! I was born and raised in Siskiyou County and our boys went to day camp at Kidder Creek. I’ve been married to Bob Ayers for 30 years and we have two adult boys, Chris & Caleb. The last 13 years I have studied Natural Horsemanship in addition to working 10 years at Jackson Street Middle school in Yreka. Now I will use my love for Jesus, kids and horses at Kidder Creek Camp. Somebody pinch me – I finally found my dream job!

 

Danielle Smith

Born in the bay area and raised in Tracy, I started my family in the Redding area. My work history includes everything from being a server to a stockbroker. I have learned demanding skills as well as life lessons along the way. I am excited to be the new office manager at Kidder Creek.

Keith is a wonderful father to my five children. Alexis 16, Joey 13, Trenten 12, Devin 10 and Elijah 8. They definitely keep me looking to the Lord for answers. We moved to Scott Valley, because we wanted to be closer to his family. While in Redding, we were a part of a large church community. With the move, we are looking forward to a smaller church family and home at Kidder Creek.

We have such an amazing team of people that serve year round preparing for camp and then overseeing our amazing summer staff during the summer! Welcome to the team, Danna and Danielle!

Summer Events at Kidder Creek


News from Santa Cruz

Posted by & filed under Kidder Creek, Stories of Ministry.

 One of the most fun things about the summer season is listening to all of the stories of how God is transforming lives through the ministries of Mount Hermon. Here are just a couple of stories of how God is at work in Santa Cruz:

“Mount Hermon is amazing. It’s a place where my family can come and be refreshed
and renewed.”

“Mount Hermon just strips away the distractions of the world, and I can really focus on who God is.”

“I really feel God’s presence here especially when we were singing and praying. Made me really happy. I smiled a couple times.”

God is at work!

Summer Events in Santa Cruz



Illuminate the Darkness

Posted by & filed under Kidder Creek, Staff News, Stories of Ministry.

For a handful of years I taught Outdoor Education at Mount Hermon in Santa Cruz.  We would hike kids around outside, and stop to learn about nature.  The great thing about using an outdoor setting to teach is that it readily lends itself to turning those nature lessons into life lessons.  Jesus understood this: seeds on different soils was really about the condition of our hearts.

As part of our week with students, we would do a night hike.  The redwood forest is shaded and dark during the day due to the thick canopy, but at night, it is near pitch black.  For many students that came to us from larger cities, this was usually the deepest dark they have ever seen.  That plus being in the woods often made these hikes an exercise in trust (in me) and perseverance.

At one point in our night hike I would gather the kids into a circle and stand in the middle.  Then I would light a small candle and hold it above my head.  Every time (and still to this day) it would blow my mind just how much light that little candle would emit.  That tiny flame, barely an inch high, would cast a net of light 40 ft across!  After a half an hour of stumbling through the dark, you could feel the warmth and comfort that little light brought to our circle.

This summer at Kidder Creek we will be looking at the power of Jesus working through us to “Illuminate” the darkness around us.  The light of Jesus changes everything in our own lives, in our communities and in our world!

Summer Events at Kidder Creek


Lives Transformed– From Camper to Summer Staff

Posted by & filed under Kidder Creek, Staff News, Stories of Ministry.

We are so excited to have many summer staff this year who started out as campers.

These staff share a common purpose in being on staff, they want to be a part of the place that played such a significant role in their lives and in their spiritual journey.  Their lives were transformed here at Kidder Creek as they took little and sometimes big steps towards Jesus each summer.  Here are some
of their answers to some questions we asked them about their time at Kidder Creek.

What is your favorite memory from when you were a camper?

  • Meeting my best friend Claire.
  • I can’t pick one favorite memory; I just loved that I could be free and myself at Mount Hermon.
  • Witnessing God’s handiwork flow through me and the other campers during our week in the wilderness.

What is one step that you took toward Jesus in your time at camp?

  • Regardless of my actions, God Always forgives.
  • I accepted Jesus in my second summer at Redwood Camp.
  • I was never able to attend church, coming to Kidder was my church.  The community and lessons brought me closer to Jesus.

Why did you want to be on KC staff
this summer?

  • Kidder felt like home last summer!
  • To be a part of the culture and presence that God has created here.
  • I knew since I was little that I wanted to work here one day.  Having fun with the kindest people in the most beautiful place, who wouldn’t want to work here?

What are your hopes for this summer while you are on staff?

  • I hope I can make the same impact on my campers as my past counselors did on me.
  • To take many steps closer to Jesus as I minister to children.
  • To become more confident in my identity in Jesus and to be humbly bold, while serving the other staff and campers.

We have an incredible summer staff from all over the country, from Minnesota, Texas, Vermont and all up and down the west coast.  One thing is true for all of them: they are excited to be hanging out with kids, getting to know them, sharing adventures in God’s creation and modeling God’s love through their words and actions as they get to serve campers and see them become more like Jesus. 

Summer Events at Kidder Creek


Katie Keil: Staff Alumni and Associate

Posted by & filed under Alumni, Associates, Giving, Kindling, Stories of Ministry, Youth.

Katie is one of those “Mount Hermon” people, maybe a lot like you! She came as a camper, she served on staff, and she’s chosen to support this ministry—she loves Mount Hermon!

Meet Katie, her story may be your story…

“I can’t remember a time when Mount Hermon wasn’t part of my life! I have been coming to Mount Hermon for our church retreat since I was a kid. I could not wait to be old enough to go to Ponderosa Lodge in high school and I started going the summer before my freshman year. I loved camp so much as a camper and had a family friend who served as a camp counselor, so I could not wait to be a counselor in college.

I ended up working as a counselor at Ponderosa in 2001 and 2002, but that wasn’t enough. I came back as a Staff Counselor in 2006 and then spent a summer as a Staff Pastor in 2008. After finishing camp in the summer of 2008, I started a job in Marketing at Clorox and have been there ever since.”

Clearly Mount Hermon was and is an important part of Katie’s story. Ponderosa Lodge is her Mount Hermon home.

“I always loved being at camp because it was a place I really came to understand God’s love for each of us. Between the Bible studies, speakers and worship time, I was challenged to think more about who God is and how His love for me should change the way I live and love others. I also made some of my best friends as a counselor.”

One of her favorite Mount Hermon memories-

“My favorite day at camp was Monday afternoons for field games! We played this crazy Jello slip-in-slide game and the counselor round always got very competitive. It was so fun and led to a lot of laughter every week. I cannot tell you how often campers used to say they loved watching the counselors because there was something different about the way we lived and loved each other.”

Ron Demolar is a big fan!

“I had the privilege of working with Katie at Mount Hermon several summers ago when she worked as a minister to the summer staff at the Conference Center. I appreciated Katie’s giftedness in administration, pastoring, and teaching at some of our summer staff meetings. She has a God given ability to build deep and lasting relationships with people. I am delighted she has gone on to serve God with these gifts of leadership in the business world.”
– Ron Demolar

Katie has turned her love for Mount Hermon into action through becoming an Associate over a decade ago.

“My time at camp and the life-long friends I made as a counselor have played such a formative role in who I am today. I loved my experience so much that I want to help others experience the same growth and
joy that I do every time I set foot
on the grounds.”

Katie is just one of thousands whose lives were transformed through the love of Jesus at Mount Hermon. Thank you for being part of her story through your support and prayers for Mount Hermon.


David Talbott 40 Years

Posted by & filed under General, Kindling, Staff News, Stories of Ministry.

How do you measure the impact of 40 years of ministry? You could count Hymn Sings, piano and organ concerts, conferences and retreats, or any number of other activities that Dave has spear-headed in his time at Mount Hermon.

For me, I measure it in lunch dates, Thursday morning breakfasts, weddings, and constant laughter in the hallway. I have had the privilege of knowing Dave for seven years (which compared to many makes me a new-comer)! When I became an intern in 2010, it didn’t take long for Dave to find me. I quickly learned that while he is a virtuoso pianist and experienced programmer, his real passion
is relationships.

For years, Dave’s “unofficial” role at Mount Hermon has been to mentor the young men on staff, and over the last seven years I have seen him invest in and mentor countless interns, summer staff, and full-time staff.

Within the first few weeks of becoming interns at Mount Hermon, Dave invited a group of us to a regular Thursday morning breakfast at his house. Imagine five recent college grads dragging themselves out of bed at 6:15am and stumbling over to the Talbott residence. Each week as we entered his house in a sleepy, zombie-like trance, we were greeted by Dave, who had awoken far earlier than any of us had, and prepared a delicious spread for us to enjoy. I will never forget those mornings filled with great food and great company, real life and sage advice, and above all: deep and lasting friendships.

Since that time Dave and Carla have been staples in my life and in the lives of my friends. Over the years, I have seen Dave officiate the weddings of three of my closest friends, the fruit of an investment of time and energy that takes great intentionality. Carla even helped throw the bridal shower for my fiancé last month! I will never forget the many memories of time spent together sharing some of life’s most precious moments.

I will also never forget the morning this spring when Dave told all of us on the Advancement Team that this summer would be his last, and that he would be retiring in September. We all wept together, and I’m crying now remembering that moment. It was a time of mixed emotion: sadness that I won’t see him in the office every day, excitement that he and Carla will have more time for family and travel, but mostly gratitude for the impact this man has had on me, my friends, dozens of staff members, and thousands of guests over the last 40 years.

As I think about the legacy that I want to leave, I think of Dave. I think of selfless service, relentless pursuit, wisdom that comes from being really old, and a lifetime of working to build the Kingdom.

Dave, I love you, and I will miss seeing you every day. I am comforted to know that you will still be living around the corner, and I look forward to many more breakfasts in the years to come!

2017 Summer Concerts