PENCON began in 2014 as a part of The Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network (the PEN). That first conference was planned to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the PEN. Cecil Murphey was the keynote speaker, and the small faculty included professionals in the industry. What a joy to come together for the first time as a group of Christian editors and learn from one another.
During that weekend in Yorba Linda, California, the small group began dreaming of an annual event. I offered to direct it, and we were excited to plan an official conference. The name PENCON was first kicked around during that time as a spin-off of the PEN with the addition of con to differentiate it as the PEN’s conference. The name stuck and branding began.
Our second conference, and the first official PENCON, was held in 2015 in Austin, Texas. Our first logo was a red quill tip. More editors gathered together to network, learn, and encourage one another. Frank Ball and Jeanne Marie Leach were our keynote speakers. What fun we had seeing more faces and hanging out together.
Our third PENCON was held in Colorado Springs in 2016. We kept the style of the simple logo but changed the color to green. Our keynote speaker was Allen Arnold. We had a large faculty of excellent professionals.
During that third annual conference, Kathy Ide, Christi McGuire, and I spent hours with several people discussing the options for forming a business. Almost a year of planning became a reality when the three of us established Christian Editor Network LLC in July 2016 as co-owners. The LLC became the parent company to four entities: The Christian PEN, the Christian Editor Connection, PENCON, and The PEN Institute. These divisions work together to equip and empower Christian editors.
As a new entity, PENCON needed a new and improved logo and a new website. We kept the green color and jazzed it up a bit. The conference was removed from the PEN’s site in the beginning of 2017. Don Catlett of Clearly See Media did an amazing job creating the look and functionality for our new site. What a blessing to work with him!
Our fourth annual conference was held in Atlanta, Georgia, in May 2017. Cecil Murphey returned to be our keynote speaker along with an exceptional faculty. We celebrated him with special Lifetime Achievement Award as he moves closer to retirement.
Grand Rapids, Michigan, was the location of our fifth annual conference in May 2018. Robert Hudson, author of The Christian Writer’s Manual of Style, encouraged us as our keynote speaker. We learned from our experienced faculty of industry professionals both in the workshops and Q&A sessions.
PENCON will continue to move to a new location around the country each year. Feel free to suggest a city near you. Our 2019 conference will be held in Nashville, Tennessee. As our mission statement says, we continue to strive to equip and encourage Christian editors in cooperative competition through networking.
I hope to see you at PENCON. Please find me and say hello. I’d love to hear from you. Thank you for being a part of us.
Christian Editor Network LLC Co-owner