The following is a reflection written by Lauren Rye who received a scholarship to attend the 2016 College Conference at Montreat Conference Center in January. This scholarship was provided by the office of Women’s Leadership Development & Young Women’s Ministries. The office of Women’s Leadership Development & Young Women’s Ministries awards several scholarships to young women throughout the year to attend events and conferences for faith and leadership development. To learn more about Women’s Leadership Development & Young Women’s Ministries go to:

I had the great pleasure of kicking off the New Year in Montreat, NC at this year’s College Conference! The four-day weekend was filled with challenges, friendship, exploration and growth.

The theme this year was “Faith in 3:16”- a reference to the ever-popular Bible verse John 3:16. The idea behind this theme was to break down the stereotypes and stigmas associated with this particular verse, revealing the real love and truth in it.

The conference hosted two very different, but equally compelling keynoters: former NFL center Jason Brown and Lutheran minister Nadia Bolz-Weber. Brown, former Baltimore Ravens player, walked away from his football career after God called him to begin farming! Today, Jason’s farm has donated over 46,000 pounds of sweet potatoes and 10,000 pounds of cucumbers to his local food pantries. Bolz-Weber, on the other hand, was called to a more traditional ministry (after years of feeling like one of “society’s outcasts”). Today, Nadia is the founding pastor of House for All Sinners and Saints, an ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) church in Denver, CO. Nadia’s church ministers wherever, to whomever, and whenever any member feels so inclined -- even if that means serving communion at the airport! The differences between Nadia’s and Jason’s ministries and theology only highlighted the breadth of God’s love and all the different ways that God calls people to action.  


Lauren Rye is a senior studying music education at Nazareth College in Rochester, NY. She enjoys yoga and spending time with friends, family, and her dog. Graduating this spring, Lauren is excited to see where God’s plan will lead her next!