It’s called the Heart of America Conference and it is held in Kansas City at a beautiful and spacious Presbyterian Church. Continuing in our series of profiling conferences that we go to to help people planning conferences to attend, this is a good one held in mid-November. Co-Directors Mark and Jeanette Littleton were assisted by a dedicated board of directors that left no stone unturned to make the conference a success.

The weather was cool but quite pleasant. The church setting provided class room settings on two floors for the wide variety of workshops and the excellent faculty brought in to teach them. There were spiritually fulfilling sessions in the evening and Thursday, Friday and Saturday night Cindy Kinney, myself and Mark Littleton gave keynote talks to wrap up the day. I spoke on “Being a Christian Writer in a Changing World.”

I will admit I changed the content of my talk as I got up there because a conversation with a participant led me to believe God was telling me some different content was needed. It came as no surprise that God was right as a number of people came up after the session and the following day to say that it was exactly what they needed to hear and addressed a writing and faith concern they were dealing with. Getting that sort of response is exactly what keeps me on the conference trail trying to parcel out what little encouragement and assistance that I can.

There was a steady program of one-on-one appointements and quite a number of people took advantage of the paid evaluation of projects. I did my evaluations and emailed them to the participants in advance of the conference to allow them to chew on them and have different and better questions during our 20 minute interview time and some are doing some revision and I will also do a post-conference exchange with them so hopefully they will really feel they got their money’s worth.

Wrapping it up I would have to say this is not as much of a relaxing conference as some I have gone to as they schedule tightly and provide a lot of content. I would characterize it as a rather intense writing and faith related time and all that I talked to toward the end were very pleased and said they were going home with a new sense of purpose and new writing goals that they were determined to pursue. It’s a conference they have been putting on for many years, and one I would not hesitate to recommend.