Conference to address women’s identities

Students plan womens’ conference to reclaim lost sense of self.


Professor Dave Keehn and wife, Debbie. | Kalli Thommen/THE CHIMES

Grace Gibney, Writer

Six female students are adding the final touches in preparation for the “Stolen Identity” conference after five months in the making.

The conference, taking place this Saturday, aims to reclaim the identities of women back to Christ. The free conference includes two sessions featuring Dave Keehn, associate professor of Christian ministries and Shelly Cunningham, director of faculty development and associate professor of Christian education.

With the idea of describing a father’s heart for his children, Keehn will share his experience in adopting his son, Mfundo, from South Africa in 2009. Keehn will also describe his relationship with his daughter, Aimee Keehn, a junior nursing major at Biola.

“I think that too often we come to God thinking, ‘I have to prove myself to God. I have to be good enough to be loved by God,’ when in reality our relationship with God as children is just being loved by him just because,” Keehn said.

Cunningham will speak on what it means to be made in the image of God. Her session will include a brief “story-slam” event that features three narratives from different students and faculty. The conference will also include a time of testimonies, an hour-long dinner break, worship and prayer.


The idea for “Stolen Identity” resulted from the collaboration of three Christian ministries majors, sophomores Christina Feller and Nicole Comiskey, and junior Ashley Miller, sharing their experiences in finding their freedom and identity in Christ.

“We were all just hanging out and talking about the conference and it was just like ‘bam’ –– the world has stolen our identity, the enemy has stolen our identity, we’ve given our identity to so many different things. That’s what we’ve defined ourselves. But we want to return to who we really are,” Comiskey said.

Sophomores Christian ministries majors Sara Erb and Lydia Wildes, and sophomore business and intercultural studies major, Amber Koch, have worked to piece together the details behind the conference. Conference planning has been a collaborative effort among the six students. Comiskey and Miller met with resident directors and resident advisors to encourage female students to attend the conference, resulting in positive feedback from the dorms. Since then, numerous dorm floors and female students plan to attend the conference.

There are currently 26 volunteers working throughout the conference, according to Erb. Ruby Women will volunteer at the event, along with members of Spiritual Direction. Furthermore, the Biola Counseling Center will offer sign-ups for small groups for female students seeking guidance and will advertise their mentorship program.

“You can get on a spiritual high at conferences, so we want to make sure that we provide that opportunity to continue the truth,” Miller said.


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