For more details on KCWC history, see these blog posts.
An Interview with Kate Thomas
Reprinted from Louisville Christian Writers newsletter, 2005. Each year, we recognize our founder, Kate Thomas. There's never time to elaborate on the history of KCWC during conference, so we're posting this article by one of our former coordinators to help you get to know Kate, KCWC, and how it all started.
Outside in the darkness, leaning against the corner of her parents' house, twelve-year-old Kate held a bargaining session with God. She promised to serve God all her days if He would only let her mother live. "I didn't know then that we should not try to bargain with God," she says, "but I never forgot my promise."
God was gracious, and gave Kate several more years with her mother, as well as many opportunities for Christian growth. Kate enjoyed writing, and her mother and teachers encouraged her.
At Western Kentucky University, she met Wallace Thomas--her future husband--a young man who had also surrendered his life to Christ. "I have been married to a United Methodist minister for 49 years!" Kate says. "We are still having a great life in ministry together." They have a son and daughter, both married, and four grandchildren. One granddaughter has autism, which has spurred Kate to much research and development of educational resources.
Kate didn't write to publish until she was in her forties, although the desire was there earlier. She began to search for opportunities that would help hone her writing skills. Finding Christian writing seminars and conferences was not easy, but something inside would not allow her to give up.
In 1996, Kate and a friend, Joyce Joines, planned to go to the American Christian Writers' Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. Three days before they were to leave for the conference, Kate injured her back. Joyce promised to help her walk and they went, even though Kate could barely push one foot in front of the other.
Kate says, "I am convinced that God willed for us to go, and equally convinced that Satan opposed our going." During the first night there, she remembers literally crawling to the bathroom. She stopped and prayed with tears running down her face, "Lord, if I am meant to be crippled for the remainder of my life, I am yours. Use me as you will."
The next day, Kate shared with one of the speakers how her heart longed to have a Christian writers' conference in Kentucky. She was assured of help. Again, God was gracious, and Kate's back healed. She was able to plan a conference for Kentucky with the help of her new mentor and local friends.
The first Kentucky Christian Writer's Conference was held June, 1997, in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. Kate laughs as she remembers the planning sessions. "We started from scratch...no money, no guidelines, no job descriptions, no mission statement." God encouraged them with 61 in attendance that first year.
And this year? "We will hold our ninth seminar this year and we are working very hard to make it the best one yet! It is truly a delight to see how God has led us this far, and to hear of many who are writing for the first time."
"Life has not always been easy," she says, " but God has always been faithful." Then she quotes one of her favorite scriptures: " 'His steadfast love never ends and His mercies are new every morning!' Lamentations 3:22, 23."