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Bible Conference


July 21 - July 27, 2019


Download Digital Worship Bulletins
(Will be updated each day)

Threads from Daniel C. Damon’s hymn, “Together We Serve,” will be woven together to make our conference theme in 2019.  Damon, drawing upon Ephesians 4, uses rich imagery to paint a picture of a church united in Christ’s love for service to all.  We will explore what it means to follow God’s light into the dark corners of our world. Through preaching, worship, song, teaching, and much more we will reimagine what it might mean to strengthen Christ’s ministry through service as a community of faith in times and places of difficulty.

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.


*Logo Design by long-time attendee Zach Dishman*

Click HERE for a downloadable version of our BC/CMCMailer!

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

Bible Study

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Bible Study Leader Dr. John T. Carroll

John T. Carroll is Harriet Robertson Fitts Memorial Professor of New Testament and Director of the Program for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Union Presbyterian Seminary. Over the course of his career, Carroll has served in both congregational and academic settings. Professor Carroll’s primary research and teaching interests include the Gospels, the message and ministry of Jesus, theological interpretation of the Bible, the intersections between the Bible and contemporary culture and between the Bible and contemporary ethical concerns, and the role of mindfulness and contemplative practices in teaching and learning. Carroll has authored or co-authored several works including the 2018 Six Themes in Luke Everyone Should Know. Carrol is married to Maria Ramos, an English professor in Richmond, and has three children.

Bible Study: Hearing the Parables of Jesus Today

One of the signature features of Jesus’s teaching was his use of parables to communicate his message. What are the distinctive themes in Jesus’s parables? How does each Gospel focus central themes in its narrative through the telling of parables? What do the parables have to say to us today? How do they call us to decision and action? These five Bible Studies will explore questions such as these, and in so doing invite participants to deepen their understanding of the Gospels, and to gain fresh insight into the mission and message of Jesus—for both first and twenty-first centuries.

 Monday – Meet Jesus the Parabler—and Jesus the Parable 

Tuesday – From Tiny Seed to Expansive Dominion: Parables in Mark’s Gospel 

Wednesday – Just Mercy: Parables in Matthew’s Gospel 

Thursday – Turning the World Inside-Out: Boundary-challenging Parables in Luke’s Gospel 

Friday – Rich toward God: Parables of Reversal in Luke’s Gospel

Preachers and Worship Leaders

Worship Leader

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Rev. Whitney Wilkinson Arreche

Whitney is a teaching elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA). She received a B.S. from Texas A&M University and a M.Div. from Columbia Theological Seminary. A native Texan, she has served as a mission worker in Belfast, Northern Ireland twice, as a solo pastor in North Carolina, and is currently a Doctor of Theology (Th.D.) student at Duke Divinity School, exploring the theo-economic grammar of reconciliation. She serves on the governing board of Young Clergy Women International, and on the PCUSA General Assembly Committee for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations.


Speakman Chair of Preaching:

Preaching Sunday and Monday Evenings

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Dr. William Henry Willimon

A bishop in the United Methodist Church, Professor Willimon served as the dean of Duke Chapel and professor of Christian ministry at Duke University for 20 years. He returned to Duke after serving as the bishop of the North Alabama Conference from 2004 to 2012. Willimon is the author of 70 books. His Worship as Pastoral Care was selected as one of the 10 most useful books for pastors in 1979 by the Academy of Parish Clergy. More than a million copies of his books have been sold. His articles have appeared in many publications including Theology Today, Interpretation, Liturgy, and Christianity Today. He is editor-at-large for The Christian Century. His book Pastor: the Theology and Practice of Ordained Leadership is used in dozens of seminaries in the United States and Asia. His He has taught in Germany, Singapore, New Zealand, and Australia in various seminaries. He is a trustee of Wofford College, Emory University, and serves on the Dean’s Committee of Yale Divinity School. In early 2017 he will publish Who Lynched Willie Earle? Confronting Racism through Preaching.


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



Preaching Monday Morning


Costella Forney

Costella Forney is a graduate of Harrisonburg High School, and a lifetime member of John Wesley United Methodist Church where she is currently serving as a Lay Supply Pastor. She is a very proud mother of four, grandmother, and great grandmother. She began a serious relationship with God in 2001, and earned an Associates Degree in Old Testament History from Amherst Theological Seminary, Madison Heights, VA in 2003. In 2010 Costella begin Discipleship Training, and an extensive study on Prayer, and the Minister In Training Program with Kingdom Business Ministries out of Washington DC, under Apostle Shelby Walker. Costella Forney was ordained a Minister of The Gospel of Jesus Christ in May, 2014. She is currently in the Candidacy process to becoming a Licensed Local Pastor in the United Methodist affiliation. “I owe it all to God who has picked me up, turned me around, and has placed my feet on solid ground.”

Preaching Tuesday Evening and Wednesday Morning

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Rev. Dr. Jerry Lytle Cannon

Jerry was born and raised in Kannapolis, North Carolina. Dr. Cannon received an undergraduate degree from Virginia State University, and a Master of Divinity Degree, Johnson C. Smith University Seminary. He also earned his Doctor of Ministry Degree from the United Theological. Since 1992, Dr. Cannon has served as Pastor/Head of Staff at C. N. Jenkins Memorial Presbyterian Church, Charlotte, North Carolina.

Preaching Tuesday Morning and Wednesday Evening

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Rev. Dr. J. Denise Honeycutt

Denise is a passionate and enthusiastic follower of Jesus Christ. She has a deep contemplative spirituality, which she weaves joyfully into her daily life and work as a person of justice. She has served as the lead pastor of small and large sized United Methodist congregations. She was the Director of Mission and Global Justice for the United Methodist Churches in Virginia. She and her husband served as missionaries in Nigeria, West Africa where Denise taught theology and biblical studies at Banyam Theological Seminary. Returning to the US she was the Mission Interpreter for Southeast Jurisdiction of the UMC.

Denise continued to lead the denomination as the Executive Director of UMCOR, (United Methodist Committee on Relief) and then as Executive Director for the Center for Mission Innovation.

Through Honeycutt’s ministry she continues to learn from the global community new ways of being invited into God’s good work in the world that moves us from a ‘transactional’ model to a ‘relational’ model of mission. As a frequent keynote speaker she often integrates humor and storytelling into her sermons and teaching.

She has degrees from Campbell University, University of Wales, UK, Southeastern Theological Seminary and Wesley Theological Seminary.

She and her recently retired husband, Rev. Pat Watkins live in a small passive solar home in Pittsboro NC. Denise is currently serving as pastor of Merritt’s Chapel UMC, in Chapel Hill NC.

Preaching Thursday Morning


Heather Woodworth Brannon

Heather Woodworth Brannon is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) at Emory University. She is a recent graduate of Union Presbyterian Seminary and previously studied at Johns Hopkins University. Her primary research interests include epistemology, theodicy, and the receptive history of Wisdom literature, especially Ecclesiastes and Job. Heather has a passion for connecting her scholarship to the church and the world through preaching, social justice advocacy, and teaching.

Preaching Friday Evening

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Rev. Cindy Kohlmann

Cindy is the Co-Moderator of the 223rd General Assembly for the Presbyterian Church (USA). She also serves as resource presbyter for two presbyteries: the Presbytery of Boston and the Presbytery of Northern New England. Prior to this call, she previously served as pastor of New Jersey Presbyterian Church in Carlisle, Ohio, and later at Clinton Presbyterian Church in Clinton, Massachusetts.


Conference Artist


Beverly George

Beverly George is a fabric artist and a ruling elder from Fountain Inn, South Carolina. Her love of fabrics and her passion for the church intersected when her two daughters and their husbands became ordained Presbyterian pastors, as she began designing and making clergy stoles and liturgical artwork for the congregations they serve. Beverly's stoles and paraments are sold worldwide through her Etsy shop, WholeLottaStitches, and she is glad to serve as the conference artist for the second year.

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

Forums & Workshops

A Complete List of Forums and Workshops will be posted soon…


Tentative 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.

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 95th Annual Bible Conference will be held at Massanetta Springs July 22-28.


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 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 are now accepting registrations for the 2018 Bible and Church Music Conferences.  Click on the link below for registration form.  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 on Thursday 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.

Earlier Event: July 21
Church Music Conference
Later Event: July 21
Camp Connections