Back to All Events

Bible Conference


July 26 - August 1, 2020


Touch the Earth Lightly

April 22, 2020 will mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. There are movements across the country and around the world focused on caring for this one and precious planet. However, rising seas, raging fires, overflowing landfills, and a host of other problems remind us daily of how much work is left to do in caring for and restoring God’s wonderful creation. How can we better heed the poetry of Shriley Erena Murray’s hymn to, “Touch the earth lightly, use the earth gently, nourish the life of the world in our care?” How do we remember and honor the reminder of Psalm 24 that, “The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it?”

Through worship and workshops, sermons and singing, forums and fellowship, join us for the Bible and Church Music Conference July 26 - August 1, 2020, where we will explore how to better, “Touch the Earth Lightly.”

You are invited to this WONDERFUL event that features something for everyone. Excellent preachers and teachers provide a meaningful opportunity for continuing education to church professionals, while inspiring and challenging anyone who attends. There is also programming for the whole family.  With thoughtful Bible Study, inspiring preaching, informative forums, and hands-on workshops, the Bible Conference is a unique opportunity.

If your family or church group has a wide variety of interests, The Bible Conference is blessed with the Church Music Conference , and Camp Connections program running concurrentlyFrom young to young at heart, there’s truly something for everyone.


Union Presbyterian Seminary alumni are invited to attend the UPSem Luncheon during the Bible Conference! Please check ‘yes’ next to the Union Seminary Alumni Luncheon in your registration form to sign up.

Registration will become available this fall!

Bible Study

Bible Study Leader

Karoline Lewis CC.jpg

Rev. Dr. Karoline M. Lewis

Karoline M. Lewis is the Marbury E. Anderson Chair in Biblical Preaching at Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN, where she has taught since 2007.

Lewis is the author of SHE: Five Keys to Unlock the Power of Women in Ministry (including an accompanying facilitator guide, participant guide, and DVD) and John: Fortress Biblical Preaching Commentaries, as well as numerous articles and book chapters. She was one of the 100 religious scholars in the United States to contribute to the Values and Voices Campaign ( Her next two books are Embody: Five Steps to Leading With Integrity and A Lay Preacher’s Guide: Eight Steps Toward Crafting a Faithful Sermon (both in May 2020).

Ordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Lewis holds degrees from Northwestern University (B.A.), Luther Seminary (M.Div.), and Emory University (Ph.D., New Testament Studies and Homiletics). She has served as Treasurer of Academy of Homiletics and Regional Coordinator for the Upper Midwest Region of the Society of Biblical Literature. Lewis is the Program Director of the Festival of Homiletics and Chair-Elect of the Homiletics and Biblical Studies Section of the Society of Biblical Literature.

Lewis leads conferences, workshops, and retreats internationally on the Gospel of John, the New Testament, interpreting the Bible, preaching, leadership, and women in ministry. She is a contributing writer for Working Preacher, co-host of the site & weekly podcast, Sermon Brainwave, and authored the Dear Working Preacher column for five years. Visit for resources on preaching and being a woman in ministry.

Preachers and Worship Leaders


Speakman Chair of Preaching:

Preaching Wednesday and Thursday Evenings



John Bell is a preacher, hymnwriter, composer, lecturer and broadcaster. He is an ordained minister of the Church of Scotland and a member of the Iona Community. During his studies in Theology, he became the first (and last) student Rector of the University of Glasgow. After a period in the Netherlands and two posts in church youth work, he became employed in the areas of music and worship, founding during that time, with Graham Maule, the Wild Goose Worship Group and the Wild Goose Resource Group. He is a past convenor of the Church of Scotland’s Panel on Worship and the committee that produced the ground-breaking Church Hymnary 4. In 1999, he was honoured by the Presbyterian Church of Canada and the Royal School of Church Music which bestowed on him a Fellowship. He was awarded in 2002 an honorary doctorate by the University of Glasgow, and in 2013 the Community of Christ International Peace Award. John has produced many collections of liturgy, scripts, sermons and reflections, original hymns and songs (some in collaboration with Graham) and three collections of songs of the World Church, and is primarily concerned with the renewal of congregational worship at grass roots level. N.B. John Bell is neither Leader of the Iona Community nor its Musical Director. He is a Wild Goose Resource Worker.


For more on the Speakman Chair of Preaching Award, click on the Speakman Tab in the navigation on the left for this conference.



Sunday Evening


Rev. Dr. Ed McLeod

Since 2004, Rev. Dr. Ed McLeod has been the pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Raleigh, NC. Prior to taking the call at FPC, he served three churces in South Carolina. Ed is active in the life of the larger church serving on vairous presbytery committees and the Board of Trustees of both Union Presbyterian Seminary and William Peace University. Ed is married to Jenny, and they have two adult children. Golf, triathlons, crossword puzzles and movies are some of the things that Ed enjoys in his free time.

Monday Evening


Rev. Dr. Kathryn Threadgill

Kathryn is the Coordinator for Vital Congregation for the Presbyterian Church (USA). She attended Montreat College, PC(USA) on a soccer scholarship. There she obtained her B.A. majoring in Bible and Religion with a concentration in Youth Ministry. Kathryn went on to study at Columbia Theological Seminary for both her Masters of Divinity and her Doctorate of Educational Ministries degrees. Her thesis explored why youth today are not experiencing the wonder of God in worship. As a minister of the Word and Sacraments, Kathryn has served churches in Greensboro, NC. and Mobile, AL. She is the beloved daughter of Ollie Rix and Dorothy Threadgill, and has twelve siblings from all over the world. Kathryn enjoys oil painting, wood working, kayaking, hiking, and spending time with the people she loves.

Wednesday and Thursday Evening

John L. Bell

John is our 2020 speakman Chair of Preaching. See full bio above.

Friday Evening


Rev. Alonzo Johnson

Alonzo is the Coordinator for the Self Development of People Office for the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA). Prior to joining SDOP, he was a Mission Associate for Peacemaking with the PCUSA. Alonzo has also served as pastor of Oak Lane Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, PA.


Conference Artist

Speakman Chair of Preaching

Frederick B. Speakman began coming to Massanetta Springs in 1953. Over a forty year period, he inspired young ministers and ministered to many while on the platform at the Bible Conference. Fred graduated from the University of Oklahoma, Harvard University (M.A.) and Princeton Theological Seminary (B.D.), and in 1950 he received the honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Washington and Jefferson College in Washington, PA. He served three churches: Central-Brick in East Orange, NJ, Third Church in Pittsburgh, PA, and Westminster Church in Dayton, OH. Fred was also an author and wrote three books of sermons: The Salty Tang, Love is Something You Do, and He Dwelt Among Us.

In 1957 Fred purchased a home in the Cottage Community, on the Massanetta Springs grounds, and in 1983, he and his wife, Zoe, retired and moved to the Cottage Community. With Fred in mind, a family in the Cottage Community began an endowment to which others have added, to ensure that the quality and name recognition of preachers for the Bible Conference will continue to be of the highest quality as has been in the past! This endowment supports the Fred Speakman Chair of Preaching. Each year one or more outstanding preachers are brought to Massanetta during the Bible Conference by the proceeds from the endowment.


Preachers receiving the Speakman Chair of Preaching award:

  • 2019 - Bishop William H. Willimon

  • 2018- The Rev. Drs. Kimberly Bracken Long and Thomas G Long.

  • 2017- The Rev. Dr. Luke Powery

  • 2016 – The Rev. Dr. Steve Eason

  • 2015- The Rev. Michael Lindvall

  • 2014- The Rev. Dr. Debra J. Mumford

  • 2013- The Rev. Dr. James C. Howell

  • 2012 – The Rev. Dr. Brian K. Blount

  • 2011 – The Rev. Dr. M. Craig Barnes

  • 2010 – The Rev. Dr. Joanna M. Adams

  • 2009 – The Rev. Dr. William J. Carl III

  • 2008 – The Rev. Dr. Anna Carter Florence

  • 2007 – The Rev. Thomas G. Long

  • 2006 – The Rev. Dr. Frances Taylor Gench

  • 2005 – Bishop William H. Willimon

  • 2004 – Dr. Stephen D. McConnell

  • 2003 – The Rev. Dr. William Powell Tuck

  • 2002 – Dr. Ben Lacy Rose

  • 2001 – Dr. Jerold D. Shetler

  • 2000 – Dr. Paul T. Eckel

  • 1999 – Dr. Myron Augsburger

  • 1998 – Dr. Thomas K. Tewell

  • 1997 – Dr. Ernest Campbell

  • 1997 – Dr. Ernest Campbell

Forums & Workshops

A Complete List of Forums and Workshops will be posted in the spring…

To get an idea of what we may offer, check out the forums and workshops from last year.


2019 Bible Conference Schedule

If you are new to the conference and want to get a feel for the flow of the conference you can look at the 2019 conference schedule by clicking below. We will post the 2020 schedule in the spring.

Bible Conference 2019 At A Glance Schedule

For Locals

Did you know that you can take advantage of excellent preaching and teaching right in your own backyard?

Located just 3 miles of I-81 at exit 247A in Harrisonburg, Christian inspiration is just a stones throw away from you. 

The 97th Annual Bible Conference will be held at Massanetta Springs July 26 - August 1, 2020.


What happens at Bible Conference?

The short answer is, “A lot!”  There is a Bible study and worship service each morning, and  another worship service each evening.  In between there are workshops, fellowship opportunities, time to just enjoy the beauty of Massanetta’s campus, and much more.  You can find a summary of last year’s schedule here.


How much does Bible Conference cost?

There are several answers to that question depending on your desired level of participation.  Morning and Evening worship services are free and open to the public. There is an offering to support the ministry of Massanetta Springs taken at each evening’s worship service if you would like to contribute.

If you wish to participate in more than the worship service, there are several options to register for the conference.  See the Bible Conference Registration Form (link to come) for rates and options.


Can I enjoy a meal while I’m there?

Absolutely. You may purchase meals at the Front Desk of the Historic Hotel on the day(s) you wish to attend.  If you are bringing a group of 5 or more who wish to eat, we appreciate you calling at least 24 hours in advance to let us know you’ll be joining us.  It will help us know how much food to prepare.


Who will be speaking?

The conference schedule tells you who will be speaking when.  The conference webpage will give you more details about those who are leading the conference.


What if I have questions about the Massanetta Springs Bible Conference that aren’t answered here?

If you’ve read through this, and still have questions, please feel free to call us at 540-434-3829.  Ask to speak with Clayton Rascoe, Executive Director or Nola Avey, Registrar for Bible & Church Music Conference.  We will be happy to help you!



We will be accepting 2020 registrations for Bible and Church Music Conferences in the fall of 2019.  Click on the link below for registration form (link will be available in the fall of 2019).  Be on the look-out for more information in the coming months including speakers, workshops, and more!

Union Presbyterian Seminary alumni are invited to attend the UPSem Luncheon during the Bible Conference! Please check ‘yes’ next to the Union Seminary Alumni Luncheon in your registration form to sign up.


To complete the process you may mail your forms to

Massanetta Springs Camp and Conference Center
712 Massanetta Springs Road, Harrisonburg, VA 22801

OR you may EMAIL your completed forms to

PLEASE NOTE: All emailed forms MUST be returned as a PDF document.
JPG documents will not be accepted.

Children, Youth, and College

Camp Connections

July 26-August 1, 2020


There is something for the whole family during the Bible Conference and Church Music Conference.


Wee Connect: For infants- preschool age children.  Spend time with our loving caregivers in our updated nursery.  The day will include playtime, story time, rest time, and music time.

Kids Connect: For children in completed Kindergarten- 5th Grade. Children will spend the day doing a variety of Camp Activities including, water play, archery, swimming, canoes, Bible Study and lawn games.  All children will participate in choir.  Upper Elementary students will participate in handbells.

Youth Connect: For youth in completed 6th- 12th Grade.  The day will be anchored by Bible Study, Choir.  Middle School youth will participate in handbells.  High School youth have the option of signing up for Intermediate and advanced handbells (this requires pre-registration).  There is a lot of time to hang out, explore Massanetta,  do the Challenge Course/Zipline, and spend time with friends. 

Camp Connections for children and youth are led by HS Juniors/Seniors and College Students who have leadership experience working with Children and youth.  Many of them are children and youth of Massanetta programs and camp and love coming back each year to share Massanetta with a new generation.  

You Register for Camp Connections when your family registers for the Bible and Church Music Conference.  Your confirmation material will include an additional youth information form that will help us register your children/youth.  

Click HERE for a downloadable version of our Youth Mailer!


College Connections


So many of the youth who grew up coming to Bible Conference and Church Music Conference are now in College.  Many come back to experience the conference.  College Connections is for collegiates (completed freshman year- 23 years of age) to have an opportunity to reconnect and dig deeper. College students are invited to register normally for either Bible or Church Music conference and there will be opportunities just for college students planned throughout the day.


Camp Counselors


Interested in serving as a 2020 Camp Connections Counselor?

We are looking for youth (completed 11th/12th Grade) and college students who are excited about leading at Massanetta to help add numbers to our full time summer staff for this week of music and camp.
Dates of commitment are July 25-August 1, 2020.

Applications will be received on a rolling basis, dependent on room and availability. Camp Connection Counselors will be hired after Day Camp Counselors are hired.

Earlier Event: June 18
Middle School Conference
Later Event: July 26
Church Music Conference