August 6, 2010
In the foothills of the Endless Mountains lies the small peaceful city of Montrose, Pennsylvania. The beautiful setting and the quaintness of the city are only part of what attracts me; my primary interest, Montrose Bible Conference, sits at the top of one of the many hills. For the past twenty-one years the Conference Center has hosted a Writers Conference where writers primarily from Pennsylvania and New York attend classes and workshops to hone their craft. A few others, including myself, come from farther away.
I live in Minnesota and I first learned about this conference in 1996 from a Sunday school periodical, “Power for Living,” which profiled Jill Renich Meyers, the founder of Montrose Christian Writers Conference. I was a new writer and the thought of attending such a conference both intrigued and terrified me. Several people, including my husband, encouraged me to step out and try something new. I prayed about it and felt God nudging me to go.
That first year was both exciting and terrifying as instructors and editors critiqued my writing and gave me feedback on my work. It was encouraging and disheartening at the same time. Since I had flown there, I couldn’t just pack up and go home like I was tempted to do by the second day. I’m grateful for that. By the end of the week I knew I would return another year and have done so many times.
Walking the hills of Montrose brought relief from my doubts and anxieties. One conferee remarked, “You sure walk a lot.” I told him, “I have to–it works the kinks out of my body, mind, and spirit. It’s what keeps me going.”
Part of what brings me back to this city is its beauty and charm. But mostly I return because of the people at the conference who share a common interest in writing and who write to bring a message of hope and healing to a hurting, troubled world. It’s a camaraderie I’ve never experienced anywhere else.