42nd Annual National Conference on Faith-Based Service


Each fall, more than 150 staff members of faith-based volunteer programs, campus personnel, and other partners gather for the National Conference on Faith-Based Service. Hosted in a different location each year, the National Conference is an opportunity for those involved in faith-based service to come together to learn new skills, share their experience and expertise, and network with their colleagues.

Many Rays, One Rising

Our Theme

Our 2019 conference theme, Many Rays, One Rising, shines a light on two vital and intertwined areas of focus for CVN and our community: expanding the community of people who serve in faith-based programs by incorporating diversity and equity into our work; and sharing a unified story of faith-based service with the world at large. The 2019 conference will contain two parts, each focusing on one of these areas and will be introduced by an inspirational keynote speaker who will set the stage for impactful discussion. Conversations will shape our strategies and collaborations for the coming year.

Thanks for your interest in our conference! The 2019 event has passed, but check back soon for more information about our 2020 conference in Orlando!


Service as an Allyship Partner

Whitney Parnell

Whitney Parnell

Whitney will unpack how service should be an Allyship posture, rather than a notion of saving. She will describe effective Allyship, and how service done correctly builds the strongest allies in four ways: People step out of their circles and experience diversity; People connect to the issue and evoke empathy and perspective; People are a part of innovative solutions by giving of themselves in a manner that is asked of them (rather than imposing their impression of effective solutions); People experience mutuality because they are transformed in the process (not just transform others).

Whitney Parnell is a Black millennial activist, singer, and the Founder and CEO of Service Never Sleeps, a nonprofit that empowers individuals and communities to catalyze social justice through service and Allyship. Her movement work involves equipping effective allies through truth-telling, bridge building, empathy, and action. She grew up between Latin America and West Africa as a Foreign Service child, and her passion for social justice brought her to Washington, DC after college to serve with City Year, and then work in homeless services, before founding Service Never Sleeps in 2015.

Abundant Life: A Spiritual Call to Service


Kerry Alys Robinson

Generosity is humankind’s birthright. There is no surer path to meaning, abundant life, gratitude and generosity than service to others. In a polarized world and church, how can service lessen the chasms we encounter between people and foster a culture of mercy, understanding, trust and hope? Kerry Alys Robinson will draw from her own life of service and those of the many women and men, ordained, religious and lay, she has encountered over the course of her life to inspire, challenge, motivate, and above all thank the members of Catholic Volunteer Network.

Kerry Alys Robinson is global ambassador of Leadership Roundtable and author of Imagining Abundance: Fundraising, Philanthropy and a Spiritual Call to Service. Kerry is a member of the Raskob Foundation for Catholic Activities and FADICA (Foundations and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities). She has served on many boards including Jesuit Volunteer Corps, Saint Thomas More Catholic Chapel & Center at Yale, and the International Festival of Arts and Ideas. She is a fierce advocate of young adults, women, service and faith. She and her husband, Dr. Michael Cappello, have two children, Christopher and Sophie.

Each year, our workshop facilitators help us delve into our Conference theme while sharing wisdom and experience that will help faith-based volunteer programs operate in areas such as Leadership, Volunteer Recruitment, Volunteer Support, Campus Partnerships, and Spiritual Growth.

Throughout the conference, attendees will have time to gather as leadership cohorts to explore specific topics more in depth. Facilitated discussion will help participants think creatively about new strategies, build professional networks and partnerships, and acquire the tools they need to strengthen the effectiveness of their work. During the registration process, attendees will have the opportunity to inform the topics and discussion questions that shape these cohort sessions. Potential topics include:

  • Developing new programming
  • Strategic marketing and recruitment
  • Collaboration and partnership building
  • Navigating transitions
  • Increasing program stability
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Volunteer development and support

Schedule At A Glance

4:00 - 7:00 PM - Conference Registration
7:00 PM - Opening of the National Conference
7:30 - 8:30 PM: "What Are We Doing Here? Some thoughts from old timers"
8:30 - 9:00 PM - Cohort Meeting #1
9:00 - 10:00 PM - Opening Reception (Hors D'Oeuvres & Cash Bar)
7:30 - 9:00 AM - Breakfast and Morning Prayer
9:00 - 10:15 AM - Keynote Speaker: Whitney Parnell (Service as an Allyship Partner)
10:45 AM - 12:15 PM - Plenary Session: Reaching New Audiences and Increasing Diversity
12:30 - 1:30 PM - Lunch
1:45 - 3:15 PM - Workshop Session #1
3:30 - 3:45 PM - Member Story
3:45 - 5:15 PM - Membership Meeting
5:15 - 5:45 PM - Cohort Meeting #2
Free Evening
7:30 - 9:00 AM - Breakfast and Morning Prayer
9:00 - 10:15 AM - Keynote Speaker: Kerry Alys Robinson (Abundant Life: A Spiritual Call to Service)
10:45 AM - 12:15 PM - Plenary Session: Telling the Story of Faith-Based Service
12:15 - 2:15 PM - Lunch On Your Own
12:15 - 2:15 PM - Affinity Space for People of Color (includes lunch)
2:15 - 3:45 PM - Workshop Session #2
4:00 - 4:15 PM - Member Story
4:15 - 4:45 PM - Cohort Meeting #3
5:15 - 7:00 PM - Mass (Offsite)
7:00 - 10:30 PM - Social (Cash Bar), Dinner/Awards Ceremony and Music/Dancing
8:00 - 9:15 AM - Breakfast and Morning Prayer
9:15 - 10:45 AM - "Strategies for Creating the Future"
10:45- 11:30 AM - Cohort Meeting #4
11:30 AM - 12:00 PM - Closing Ritual
12:00 PM - Conference Ends

Sponsors + Exhibitors


Our conference is an excellent way for organizations, service providers, and companies to connect with our community of faith-based service programs and support our work.

Questions about sponsoring a future conference? Contact Sarah Hammel,


Questions about the National Conference on Faith-Based Service? Contact Sarah Hammel at