Carrie Newcomer Shares Songs and Stories at 2010 Ministry of Writing Colloquium

Carrie Newcomer delivered a keynote address filled with inspiration, humor and song at the Ministry of Writing Colloquium on October 15-16 at ESR. Over 100 attendees filled the ESR Center to hear Newcomer, who has been called a poet and folk singer, a warm spirit and prairie mystic. She spoke on "Spirituality and the Arts," which explored ways the artistic practice can be seen as a spiritual one as well. 

"There is a spiritual current in my life," she said, "and so there is a spiritual current in my work." She encouraged writers to "pay attention" because "when I am right here and present in my own life, I see miracles. I think artists are generally lucky people. We get to live twice. We live it, and then we make art from it. But you can't write about what you missed because you weren't paying attention." Interspersing her remarks with her songs, she illustrated what it means to offer an art "that embodies a certain kind of spirit" without presumption or persuasion.

Attendees participated in public readings and workshops led by writers and editors. Those conducting workshops included author Brent Bill, Lil Copan from Paraclete Press, Shirley Dodson from Pendle Hill publications, poet Norman Minnick, novelist and nonfiction writer Vinita Hampton Wright, and author and ESR Ministry of Writing Professor Susan Yanos.


During the event, Earlham School of Religion announced that AnneMarie Roderick is the recipient of this year's Mullen Writing Fellowship for her project A Guide to Growing in Faith for Young Adults. A young adult herself, Roderick is well aware of how painful the transition into adulthood can be, with its questions about purpose, identity, goals, and relationships. In her book, she hopes to provide, as she says, “clear and thoughtful insight into the social, emotional, and spiritual challenges that young people face” and offer “meaningful advice for how to transform those challenges into formative experiences." The fellowship, named after Tom Mullen, pas t dean and faculty member of the seminary, allows the writer to spend a semester in residence on campus in order to work on a significant writing project.




Next year’s Ministry of Writing Colloquium will occur November 4-5, with poet Scott Cairns as the keynote speaker.For more information, you can contact Mandy Ford, Director of External Relations, at (765) 973-2158 or