National Conference on Faith-Based Service

Hosted by Catholic Volunteer Network
Each fall, over 150 staff members of faith-based volunteer programs, campus personnel, and other partners gather for our National Conference. 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.
Each year we feature a series of keynote speakers and offer participants the opportunity to attend valuable workshops on all aspects of program management and operation.

Justice Matters: Bringing Good News to Light

2016 Conference
November 10 - 13, 2016
Marriott LAX Hotel - Los Angeles, CA


We are thankful to the following sponsors for their support:


  • $330 per registration
  • CVN Members with more than one staff person in attendance can receive a $50 discount for each additional registration. Please contact Sarah Hammel at to process this discount before making your payment. 
  • $345 

Travel & Lodging

The Catholic Volunteer Network National Conference will be held at the Los Angeles Airport Marriott, 5855 West Century Blvd. Los Angeles CA, 90045. Special rates are available for the conference for the nights of November 5 – 16, 2016. Double/Double and Executive King rooms are $144/night (plus tax). Complimentary shuttle service is provided between the hotel and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), less than 1.5 miles away. 
Reservations may be made by clicking here, or by calling the hotel at 1-800-228-9290. When calling, please refer to “Catholic Volunteer Network Conference” to receive the discounted rate. Book by Monday, October 17th to secure the group rate.
Complimentary wireless internet is available in all guest rooms and meeting spaces. Your stay includes access to a fitness center, heated outdoor pool, business center, a Starbucks coffee bar and three restaurants. Self-parking is discounted to $15/day to conference attendees. The Ocean Express Beach Trolley stops at the hotel every 30 minutes to transport guests to Manhattan Beach, just four miles away.

Conference Schedule

November 10-13, 2016
Thursday, Nov.10thFriday, Nov. 11thSaturday, Nov. 12thSunday, Nov. 13th
9:00am - Pre-conference Workshop:
Volunteers & Vocations 
3:00pm - Conference Check-in Open
4:00pm – Exhibits Open
7:00pm - Opening of Conference
7:30pm - Keynote Speaker:
S. Simone Campbell
9:00pm - Reception & Book Signing
7:30am - Breakfast
8:45am - Morning Prayer
9:00am - Workshop Session I
10:45am - Interfaith Scholars Panel
12:00pm - Lunch &
CVN Membership Meeting
1:45pm - Workshop Session II
3:30pm - Roundtable Discussion
5:00pm - Free Evening
7:30am - Breakfast
8:45am - Morning Prayer
9:00am - Best Practices in
Campus Recruitment
10:30am - Workshop Session III
12:00pm - Lunch (on your own)
2:15pm - Keynote Speaker
4:45pm - Eucharist at LMU
6:30pm - Banquet and Mader Award 
8:00am - Breakfast
9:00am - Morning Prayer
9:15am - Keynote Speaker:
Susan Burton
10:45am - Closing Ritual

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Keynote Speakers and Workshops

Keynote speakers include:

Sr. Simone Campbell, Executive Director of NETWORK and author of "A Nun on the Bus: How All of Us Can Create Hope, Change, and Community"

"Stepping into the Light—Public Engagement for Immigration Reform" - This talk will explore the issues in immigration reform and why people of faith need to step into the conversation. It will include practical advice for engaging this complex issue and how to mobilize our community to make change in 2017

Rev. Rebecca Stelle, Director of Becoming Church, Washington, D.C. 

When Rebecca Stelle was ordained as a Lutheran pastor, she was pierced by questions of discipleship and the nature of the Church, and eventually left conventional parish ministry. Under the mentorship of Rev. Gordon Cosby, founder of Church of the Saviour in Washington, DC, Becca founded Becoming Church, Church of Christ, Right Now and Reunion.  With her community, Becca re-imagines church structures, and nurtures those with first-hand, existential experiences of death and resurrection, raw injustice, and redemptive love and forgiveness-- especially recovering addicts, prisoners, the disinherited and the poor in spirit-- as essential and inevitable leadership for Jesus’ Church.

Susan Burton, Founder of A New Way of Life Reentry Project

"Justice Matters: Finding My Voice" - Following the tragic accidental death of her five-year-old son, Susan’s world collapsed.  Her loss snapped the final tether of resilience burdened by a past of pain and trauma.  She descended into an emotional abyss of darkness and despair, yet was not offered the treatment needed to heal.  Without support, she turned to drugs and alcohol which led to nearly 20 years revolving through cycles of incarceration. This keynote presentation takes you on Susan’s journey of redemption, exposing you to the trials and victories associated with committing her life's work to helping others through offering them a new way of life.


Workshop topics include:

  • Show, Don’t Tell: Creating an Engaging Online Presence - Elizabeth MacNeal, Communication Specialist, Mercy Volunteer Corps
  • Helping to Mitigate Risk:  What You Need to Know About Volunteer Background Checks - Kim Chochon, Vice President of Partnerships, Verified Volunteers
  • Called to Live as Missionary Disciples - Monica Thom Konschnik, Assistant Director of Administration, Catholic Apostolate Center
  • Not Your Mama’s Volunteering: The Rise of Skills-Based Volunteering - Melanie Goodyear, Executive Director, Jericho Road
  • How to Build Relationships with Foundations - Kara Lemma, Program Officer, Catholic Sisters Initiative at the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
  • Transformative Power of Trauma - Bill and Mary Frances Jaster, Co-Directors, Colorado Vincentian Volunteers
  • Building the Fifth Pillar: Best Practices in Career and Professional Development Curriculum for Volunteer Programs - Kyle Greenberg, Alyssa Hufana, Christina Jeffords, and Tom King, Loyola Marymount University & Ignatian Service Corps
  • Service & Solidarity: Equipping volunteers with the value of kinship - Joycelin Raho, Assistant Director of Campus Ministry, St. Anselm College
  • Practicing God’s Justice with Volunteer Safety and Security - Shannon Curran, Director, Bon Secours Volunteer Ministry
  • Understanding Your Applicants: Interviewing Best Practices - Dr. Gerry Doran, Ph.D., Chair, Seminary Assessment Group, Catholic Psychotherapy Association
  • Preparing Volunteers for International Service - Vicky Medley, International Volunteer Coordinator, NPH USA
  • Supporting the transition from college student to community worker  - Anika Fernandez, Advisory Board Member, St. Joseph Worker Program and Program Manager, United Friends of the Children
  • Developing Emotional Intelligence through the Volunteer Experience - JC Montenegro, Volunteer Coordinator, Salesian Volunteer Program
  • Nonprofit Board Development for Catholic Organizations  - Brother Michael Quirk, FSC, Ed.D., President/CEO; and Brian Page, MBA, Director of Sales and Business Development; Christian Brothers Services
  • Maximizing Your Service/Immersion Experience with College Students - Fr. John Grace, Director of Campus Ministry, Siena Heights University

Special Events

Pre-Conference Workshop: Volunteers & Vocations
We’ve found that a year of service leaves a deep impression on the lives of our volunteers. In addition to shaping their lifelong commitment to service and social justice, volunteers also find that their faith is strengthened through prayer and discernment. 
Catholic Volunteer Network’s three-year From Service to Sisterhood initiative has explored the connections between volunteer service and vocational discernment. Through speakers, panel discussions, and small group sharing, this day-long pre-conference workshop will share the insights we’ve gained as a result of this initiative and equip participants with new strategies for fostering a culture of discernment within their volunteer program. Our workshop facilitators will be consultants Paul Henderson and Charlotte McCorquodale. Registration is free for full conference participants, and $30
for those attending this event only. 
Interfaith Panel: “Race, Faith & Violence: Learning from Three Religions”
The University of Southern California (USC) Caruso Catholic Center and the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies at USC have brought together three of the finest theological and historical minds working today to lead the USC community and beyond in a semester-long exploration of the impact of religions on world events, and the historic and contemporary theologies that underpin the three western religions. Rabbi Rueven Firestone, Pim Valkenberg, and Amir Hussain will spend the Fall 2016 semester at USC engaging students, artists, colleagues, writers, politicians and the larger community in a lively, thoughtful and thought-provoking series of conversations and presentations on the subjects of “Race, Faith & Violence” in the world today. We are excited that they will join us on Friday, November 11th for an engaging discussion.
Roundtable Discussion
Through facilitated conversation, the Roundtable Session will bring together participants working in similar areas to seek opportunities for networking and collaboration. When registering, please select your preferred group:
1. Executive Directors
2. Fundraising
3. Recruitment
4. Campus Personnel
5. Racial Justice Initiatives
6. Post-service Support
Banquet and Annual Mader Award
Join us for an evening of dinner and dancing as we honor a local agency for their commitment to volunteer service. Banquet attendance is included in the registration fee. 
Recruitment Opportunities
While in Los Angeles, take some time to connect with students at local universities. After the closing of this conference on November 13th, the USC Caruso Center is hosting a Service Fair from 6:30pm - 8:30pm. This is a great opportunity to connect with engaged, service-minded students. To register for this event, please email no later than August 28th. 

Campus Connections

For campus personnel, the National Conference is a unique opportunity to network with a wide variety of people working in the faith-based service field. Workshops focusing on short-term service trips will help you build richer alternative spring break experiences for your students, and connecting with staff members from post-graduate service programs will equip you with the connections and resources you need to support your students as they discern their next steps. In addition to engaging keynote speakers and enriching opportunities for shared prayer, we also have several session planned specifically for campus personnel:
  • Large group session - "Best Practices in Campus Recruitment" - How can campus personnel and volunteer program staff address the needs and interests of today’s college students? This collaborative session will incorporate a panel discussion and small group sharing. 
  • "Service & Solidarity: Equipping volunteers with the value of kinship" and "Maximizing Your Service/Immersion Experience with College Students" (Workshops C and P) will provide resources and tips to enhance your short-term service trips. 
  • On Friday, November 11th campus personnel will have the chance to tour several post-grad service placements in the Los Angeles area. This in-depth look at the volunteer experience will help you provide better support for students discerning their next steps. Participants will depart at noon, purchase lunch along the way, and return to the hotel by 3:30. To register for this outing, please sign up for Workshops K. 
  • Campus Personnel Roundtable - this session is an opportunity to share ideas and resources with staffers from campuses across the country. 

Sponsorship & Exhibitor Information

We are excited to welcome a variety of sponsors and exhibitors for this event. If you would like to learn more about these opportunities, please review our sponsorship brochure. Questions? Contact Alyssa Sickle at 

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