2017 Conference Staff - Maranatha Christian Writers' Conference | Maranatha Christian Writers' Conference

2017 Conference Staff

Past staff photo

Staff-0067The Maranatha Christian Writers’ Conference would not be possible without many dedicated volunteers who work behind the scenes. These volunteers work throughout the year promoting the conference, and contacting speakers, editors, and authors. During the conference  they are always busy. They shuttle our faculty and registrants to and from airports, set out a wonderful table of goodies for our breaks, host our session rooms, and make sure the book store runs without a glitch. They are dedicated to making sure your conference experience exceeds your expectations.

We want to say thank you to our volunteers, and look forward to what God will do in the lives of our writers this year.

2017 Staff – Alphabetically

Doug Albright, Volunteer

Doug retired from the State of Michigan, Military Affairs. He now volunteers for his church and community. His interests are hardware stores, sports, American history, music and travel.   He has been married to Yvonne for 55 years. They enjoy their seven grandchildren. This year he is assisting conference transportation and the bookstore.

Yvonne Albright, Prayer Team Coordinator

Yvonne graduated from Western Michigan University with a BA degree in elementary education. She was director of her church nursery school for 15 years, church librarian, and helped with the church newsletter. Yvonne has published in Offspring, Sages Pages, Secret Place, and Upper Room. She attends a writing/critique group and book reviews for librarians at the local bookstore. Other interests are teas, cooking with herbs, traveling with her husband, books on prayer and reading. After attending several Maranatha conferences, she is now part of the volunteer staff and coordinating the prayer team.

Lieza Bates, Social Media & Marketing Director

Lieza loves Jesus, braids, make up, photography, design, shoes, and her family. (Not necessarily in that order.) She is the daughter of a King, a sister, a mom to three beautiful littles, and wife to an amazing husband. She is passionate about connection, both with the Lord and others. She attended the Writers’ Conference for the first time in 2016, and immediately loved the experience.  She’s looking forward to helping to make this one of the predominant writers’ conferences in the country.

Bonnie Emmorey, Conference Administrator

Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 5.22.27 PMBonnie is the administrator of the conference, so you have probably already met her through email. While her degrees are in Speech & Education from Cornerstone University & Calvin College respectively, she is a problem solver, and loves to see things work smoothly. Bonnie is the director of the Speak Up Conference and has been on their teaching team since its beginning.  She also directs Speak Up For Hope, a non-profit ministry serving prisoners & their families. Bonnie & Ron have two grown sons, two awesome daughters-in-law and three delightful grands.   

Marge Faber, Bookstore Manager

Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 9.16.25 PMAfter teaching French at the high school level and at Hope College, Marge took a break to raise three children and later returned to the workforce producing printed and audio-visual training materials, first at Haworth (office furniture manufacturer) and later at Amway. She also taught Freshman English courses at Kellogg Community College. Since retiring in 2009, she has supported MCWC in a variety of ways.  Her current interests are family, travel, photography, and reading.

Judith Farnsworth, Hospitality & Snacks

Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 11.27.51 AMJudy received her Bachelor’s degree and teaching certificate from Eastern Michigan University and a Masters Degree in Elementary Administration from Central Michigan University. She enjoyed a career in education including both teaching 1st grade and as school principal.  Judy’s heart for children is shown in her desire to write children’s books. Currently, she is working on a daily devotional book. She credits attending MCWC for her writing success. Judy lives in Grand Ledge, MI. She has 2 children and 3 grandchildren.

Andrew Hamlet, Technician

Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 1.06.11 PMAndrew Hamlet lives in Grand Rapids with his wife and four children. He works at Apple Inc and in his spare time loves to write, sing and work on cars. He loves Jesus and Michigan football, in that order. Having grown up as the son of a youth pastor he has a passion for helping youth of today to find their hope in Jesus. He and Kate, his wife, dream of owning a small farm and expanding their family through adoption. He hopes to have his own book, a science fiction novel about creation and the fall of Satan, published in the near future.

Kate Hamlet, Prayer Team

Kate Hamlet has been a part of prayer ministry for five years and is excited to join the prayer team for the Maranatha Conference. Women’s groups have heard her powerful testimony, and Kate is now writing the story behind it. You can follow her on Facebook at Kate Hamlet – Author/Artist or on Instagram at MareVistaDesign. Kate and her husband are from the Grand Rapids area in Michigan and she is a stay-at-home mother of four. She enjoys writing, designing jewelry and creating chalkboard art.

Sherry Hoppen, Administrative Assistant

Sherry Hoppen is a Christian wife, mother, and grandmother and resides in Zeeland, MI.  Sherry is also a speaker and blogger about her journey through recovery and wants to empower others to surrender it to God and live in freedom from addiction.  She started attending the MCWC in 2015 and became a volunteer in 2016.  “I look forward to this event every year now as a participant and as a volunteer, truly one of the best writers’ conferences you can attend!”

Verna Kokmeyer, Advisor

Verna KokmeyerVerna Kokmeyer taught English, writing, and speech as a secondary education teacher. Her desire to effectively communicate Scripture led to writing object lessons and skits to introduce sermons in worship. Her published materials include object lessons, devotions, contributions to Vacation Bible School curriculum, and dramatic sketches for worship. Verna was the director for this conference for ten years, and now acts as advisor and mentor.

Rebecca Morehouse, Bookstore Assistant

FB_IMG_1437512871401~2Becky is a busy mom who wears many hats.  Although she is the office manager for her family’s business, she also enjoys literature and art. Dabbling in her hobby of shabby-chic furniture re-purposing, Becky likes to take cast-off furniture and remake it into something new and inspired. She is also a home school mom who is intentionally raising a twelve year old while cheering on three adult children from the side-lines. Happily neck-deep in family events-school, sports, youth group and a steady flow of teen-age friends, Becky finds herself simply satisfied with the life of “adventure” God has given to her.

Mary Morgan, Conference Hostess

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 3.49.25 PMMary is a busy woman.  She is a Pastor’s wife, church secretary, and children’s worker.  She and her husband, Randy, have two married adult children and two grandchildren.
Mary first attended Maranatha in 2008 and then used what she learned in her writing and marketing.  Mary has a passion to write, travel and do photography, so when the idea of writing a mystery series for children presented itself, she fell back on her personal experiences and began writing the National Park Mystery Book series set in places they had visited as a family.  Mary will probably be the one to greet you when you arrive.

Cynthia Wedge, Transportation Coordinator

With degrees in Bible and Education from Cornerstone and WMU, Cynthia loves to teach and serve.  She taught in a Christian school, then homeschooled her own children and is now helping with her 10 grandchildren. 
She is also a certified Tea Specialist and Christian Etiquette Instructor. In 2012 she started a part time home business, English Cottage Tea, serving tea parties in her home by appointment, which she sees as a way to provide a place of respite for others in our fast-paced lives. Besides her love for her Lord, family and tea, she also loves to share about God’s providence in the history of our country.