Christians Engaged in Faith Formation

(Most recent updates are at the top.)

Additional Conference Handouts

"Grace-Full" Retreats

Thursday, Oct. 11

Workshop Update

John Roberto’s Friday Workshop
“Adult Faith Formation”
1:30 pm - Dubuque Room

Dessert Buffet + Comedy Xperiment Improv Show
7:00 PM Tonight
Dessert Buffet - Des Moines Room

7:30 PM Tonight
Comedy XPeriment is Des Moines' premier long-form improvisation team. Each show is unique, based on suggestions from the audience.

Wednesday, Oct. 10

Conference Hashtags: #cef2018 and #curiouschurch

Play the Curious.Church Game!

Pick one of the odd items on the theme screens. Take turns guessing what it has to do with faith formation (or just describe how you’ve used it in a faith formation setting.)

WIFI Instructions
  • Choose Marriott_CONFERENCE as the SSID (wifi network)
  • Scroll to the bottom of the pop-up or new browser tab
  • Type the passcode: faith
  • On some devices (Macs especially) you may need to open a new tab or a new browser before you’ll be able to get to a website.
CEF History Display

Be sure to stop DAILY to see the display! Each day some things are added or removed.

Lunchtime Table Conversations (Wednesday - Friday)

Pick a topic that interests you – see the signs on the tables and the next slide. Some tables are free for open conversation. We encourage you to stick with the same table for 3 days.


  • Any/all age level ministries (Don’t know which ones will be chosen)
  • Special Needs Ministry
  • Talking about Difficult Issues
  • Faith Formation in the Home
  • Partnering with Parents
  • Intergenerational Ministry: Joys and Challenges
  • Faith Formation and Digital Ministry
  • CEF Nooks & Neighborhoods
  • Faith formation in an over scheduled world
  • New in what?
  • Developing Discipleship Systems in Congregations
  • Identifying and Equipping Leaders for Faith Formation

CEF Member Meeting Tonight

Please join us at 8 PM for our member meeting (note the time change to give you more time at the Science Center). All CEF members & non-members are welcome!

  • Meet the new and current CEF Board members
  • Meet our new Coordinator of Nooks and Neighborhoods
  • Hear about plans for the future
  • And more!
  • Meeting should be done in 1 hour.

Are you from Illinois Great River Conference?

All Illinois Great Rivers participants are invited to meet at the hospitality table Wednesday at 5:15 PM to go to dinner together. For more info, find Beth Fender. 

Early Morning Options on Thursday:  7-8am

  • 5K Walk/Run- Meet at the Concierge Desk in the Lobby
  • Centering Prayer in the Sioux City Room

Early Morning Options on Friday:  7-8am

  • Introduction to Yoga and Meditation in the Dubuque Room
  • Coloring Mandalas in the Sioux City Room

Thursday Night Women at the Well Participants

Please meet at 5:45 in the Marriott Lobby if you are signed up to attend the worship service at the Iowa Correctional Facility for Women on Thursday night.

Friday Night Carrie Newcomer Concert Transportation

The concert is at First United Methodist Church (a six block walk) at 7:30 PM on Friday night.  If you would like a ride, meet in the Marriott Lobby as church vans will shuttle people there between 6:45 - 7:20.  Rides back to the Marriott will be offered from 9:20 - 10:00pm.

Can you help with Tear Down?

All are welcome to come to the plenary room on Friday night at 9:15 PM or after the Dessert Reception. All of our spaces must be torn down on Friday night. Thanks for your help!

Rides to the airport on Saturday

Please sign up with the Marriott Shuttle to catch your flight at the Des Moines airport.  

Spiritual Direction Offered

Fifty minute sessions are available for Spiritual Direction on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday afternoons in the Waterloo Room. Sign-up at the Hospitality Table. Cost is $60 and is payable by cash or check at the time of the session.

 Science Center Trip (Wednesday)

Meet in the lobby if you would like to catch a bus to the Science Center, or it is a short walk if you would like some exercise.  The bus will travel back and forth from 6:00 - 8:30 pm. (Note: the CEF Member meeting is now at 8 PM)

Prayer Chapel

All are welcome to walk through our prayer chapel to the right of the worship stage. This quiet space provides room for personal meditation and interactive stations for reflection.

Workshop Changes

Lynne Westfield’s workshop, “Instilling Purpose for Defiance: Congregational Strategies for Public Theology” will NOT be held Wednesday but will be held Thursday and Friday.

Sherry Bryant Johnson will offer "Leading Grace-Full Retreats" today (Wednesday) at 3:30 p.m. in the Council Bluffs Room.

Workshops which were scheduled to be held in the Waterloo Room will now be held in the Sioux City Room.

Karen Covey Moore & Brenda Buckwell’s "Sacred Song and Dancing Spirit" will be offered on Wednesday at 3:30-5:00 p.m. in the Des Moines Room (as the schedule states) and then again on Thursday in the Cedar Rapids Room from 1:30-3:00 p.m. It will NOT be offered on Friday at 3:30 p.m .as originally scheduled.

Looking for the Lactation Room?

Stop by the Hospitality Table.

Wednesday and Thursday Dinners

Sign up on the Ride Share sign-up at the Hospitality Table and organize a group/chapter to eat together. Dining guides & Downtown / Sky Walk maps are included in the Hospitality bags.

Older (but mostly still relevant) Announcements

Registration Information

After you arrive and get settled into your room, registration is on the 3rd floor near the escalators. Look for the CEF Hospitality Table.

By the way, the CEF office is also on the 3rd floor, right by the Hospitality Table.

Daily Devotional

Watch your inbox each morning starting on Tuesday for a daily devotional. Three of them are written by our worship leader, Mary Scifres, and one is by Milt Rodgers III, Minister of Music and Organist at Grace United Methodist Church in Manassas, VA.

Daily Announcements

We'll be trying to post daily changes, updates, and announcements as we get them here. If you missed something on our screens, check here.

Program Book

Our program book is available here: Curious.Church Program Book.pdf. Download a copy to read on the trip, if you wish. If you did not opt out (in the past few days) of receiving a printed copy, one will be waiting for you at registration.

Will you have a roommate at the Marriott?

If you'll be sharing a room with someone, it's important that everyone in the room be listed on the reservation. If it's not, you cannot check in. Call the Marriott hotel if you need to add a name: (515) 245-5500.

Coming in early?

If your flight gets you in on Monday or early on Tuesday and you don't have any particular plans, feel free to stop by registration or the CEF office. We'll have plenty of work to do to set up the worship space, help with registration, and more.

Some things to bring

  • Curiosity, of course! 
  • Umbrella or rain coat. Unfortunately, rain is in the long-range forecast. Even though the skywalks are great for getting many places in the area, you still may want to head to dinner somewhere outside of the area downtown where there are skywalks.
  • Business cards. Yeah, they're so 20th century...but they're still awesome for quick exchanges of info and for vendor giveaways.
  • Your chargers, spare batteries, power banks, and cords. Seems like there's always been someone at the conference who came forgetting their phone, laptop, and other important cords. Don't be that person. 
  • Books you want to have signed. There will be plenty of opportunities to connect with our authors - Brian McLaren, John Roberto, Mary Scifres, and many of our workshop leaders. 
  • A water bottle and/or coffee mug. Live green and stay hydrated! (We will have bags for everyone, by the way.)
  • Comfortable clothes. Feel free to wear whatever you'd like - casual or business casual. You're among friends, and you may do a lot of walking at times. Don't forget workout attire, if you're anxious to use the exercise room or take part in one of our early morning exercise options.
  • Notebook/journal and pen. Paper or digital? We can't make that decision for you, but we're pretty sure you'll be taking notes!
  • Money or checkbook for the daily offerings. See the program book for more details.

Airport Travel Information

If you haven't signed up for our free airport shuttle, it's urgent that you do so soon here so we can ensure we have enough vehicles available.

If you are flying in to the Des Moines Airport on Tuesday, look for our Greeters (with CEF signs), who will direct you to transportation to the Marriott Hotel.

If you arrive on other dates or at a delayed time, please call the Marriott Hotel directly and ask for a shuttle to the airport. It is available on Monday thru Friday from 4:30 a.m. - noon every half hour; noon – 11 p.m. on the hour. Call the Marriott at 515.245.5500 when you have your luggage and the Marriott will note your name and let you know where to find the shuttle outside.

For flights going back home, all persons will bpe taking the Marriott Shuttle, so please sign up for your departure time at the hotel.

Parking information

If you'll have a car with you, valet parking is available at the hotel. It's $24 for the full day (come and go), or they have short-term rates as well. If you don't mind a short walk, there are several parking ramps within a few blocks from the hotel. Most charge about $10-15/day. Here's a link for lots more info. The ramp at 7th & Grand is the closest one.

Book Signings

Got a book you want signed? Bring it with you - our speakers will be happy to sign it for you!

Early Morning Options

A few new early morning options have been added, including the opportunity to run a 5K run, do yoga, and more. Be sure to check out the program book for the full list before you come!

Spiritual Direction

A spiritual director will be available throughout the conference. Sessions will be $60, and you can sign up at registration.

CEF Photos Needed

Do you have photos from previous conferences that you can share? Send them soon to Tim at If you have several photos and can upload them to a sharing site or zip them into a single file, that would be helpful.

Names for the Memorial Service Requested

If there is a Christian educator who had a significant impact on your life or the lives of others and who has died since the last CEF conference in 2016, please submit his or her name to Mary Scifres for inclusion in our memorial service. They do not have to have been CEF members. Please send them to as soon as possible.

Curiosity Classes (Breakouts) and Conference Schedule


At each of our times of worship, we'll have a special offering. Your gifts will support Women at the Well (UMC prison congregation in Iowa), the CEF Hipps Fund (which funds various CEF projects), and scholarships for future CEF events and conferences. Please plan to support these offerings as you are able. If you wish to bring a check with you, make it payable to "CEF."

Hotel Reservations and Info

Looking for info about the hotel? Find it here.

We released our unsold rooms on Sept. 21st, so if you haven't yet made your hotel reservation, it's very important that you do so soon!

To register, click here for online reservation or call reservations at 1-800-228-9290 and reference "Christians Engaged in Faith Formation." Please note that King rooms have now sold out.

Curiosity Shop & Sponsors

Did you know that at least one church has sponsored the conference? If your church has funds for special ministries and could help sponsor the event, we'd love to chat with you! Talk with Fred Lewis, the Design Team Chair,

Our vendor spots are full, and we'll be posting the list of them shortly. They're excited to meet you!

A small number of spots are still open for sponsors and advertisers. To sign up, email Stephen at and register online at

It's not too late to register someone else...

Send your friends to Remember, we offer a daily rate, the opportunity to attend just the Carrie Newcomer concert, and a discount ($50 off with code: Colleague50) for the 2nd, 3rd, 4th etc. person who attends from your congregation. Who could you reach out to today?

Copyright © 2017 Christians Engaged in Faith Formation

CEF is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. PO Box 546 South Beach, OR 97366

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