Speakers & Artists

Plenary Session Speakers

Christin Ditchfield Lazo

Dr. Christin Ditchfield Lazo (DCMin) is the author of more than 80 books, including the best-selling A Family Guide to Narnia: Biblical Truths in C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia, and a contributor to Women and C.S. Lewis: What His Life and Literature Reveal for Today’s Culture. 

For thirty years, Christin has been speaking at conferences and retreats all over the country, calling believers to a deeper life of faith, a life of passion and purpose. 

She holds a bachelor’s degree in Christian Leadership, a master’s degree in Bible and Theology, and a doctorate in Spiritual Formation. Christin is a Certified Labyrinth Facilitator, trained to teach and lead others in the contemplative Christian practice of praying the labyrinth. 

Learn more about her ministry at www.ChristinDitchfield.com

Charlie W. Starr

Charlie W. Starr teaches English and Humanities at Alderson Broaddus University in West Virginia where he also writes books and essays as time allows. He has published several books including biblical studies, science-fiction novels, a children’s book entitled King Lesserlight’s Crown and books on C. S. Lewis as well as chapters in a number of book anthologies. His most recent book is The Faun’s Bookshelf, a study of C. S. Lewis’s theory of myth. Besides writing for print, Charlie has acted as a consultant, writer, actor and/or producer on over a dozen short film projects.

Charlie enjoys caving, writing, reading, watching bad television, and movies of every kind. His areas of expertise as a teacher include literature, film, all things C. S. Lewis and most things J.R.R. Tolkien.

His most recent book is The Lion’s Country, a comprehensive exploration of Lewis’s understanding of reality.

Retreat Pastor

Andrew Lazo

Andrew Lazo is a speaker and writer specializing on C.S. Lewis and the Inklings. He is a frequent speaker around the U.S. and U.K. and has written several articles on C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.

In 2009, Andrew published Mere Christians: Inspiring Encounters with C.S. Lewis. In 2014 he also was honored to transcribe, edit, and publish a previously unknown book of C.S. Lewis,’ “Early Prose Joy,” which was Lewis’s very first spiritual autobiography.

He is Candidate for Holy Orders in the Diocese of Texas, and currently attends Virginia Theological Seminary preparing for priestly ministry in the Episcopal Church.

He also serves as a Distinguished Lecturer while concurrently pursuing his doctorate in the Romantic Theology program at Northwind Seminary. Andrew lives in Alexandria, VA with his wife, author Christin Ditchfield.


Ad Deum Dance Company

Ad Deum Dance Company is a professional modern/contemporary dance company based in Houston, Texas. It is directed by its founder Randall Flinn, who established the company in January 2000.

Ad Deum has toured across the USA, Canada, Mexico, Europe, and Asia. Their work has been featured in Dance Spirit and Dance Magazine. Ad Deum has performed the works of many choreographers including Steve Rooks (former principal dancer with Martha Graham), Caleb Mitchell (former Houston Ballet dancer), Hope Boykin (Alvin Ailey), Stephen Wynne (Talk Dance Company), Bill Wade (Inlet Dance Theatre), Durell Comedy (Limon Dance Company), and Ryan Corriston (former dancer with Doug Varrone), as well as the works of Mr. Flinn and Ad Deum Company members.

Ad Deum’s purpose is to create and perform relevant and redemptive dance works that maintain a high standard of integrity, excellence and artistry, offering beauty, grace, and hope to those they serve.

Breakouts and Track Leaders

(in alphabetical order)

Lori Arnold

Lori is a professor of English at San Jacinto Community College in Houston, TX where her teaching focuses on critical literacy practices and discourse communities.

Her research focuses on the rhetorical practices of using personal narrative or life writing to join discourse communities.

Jason Smith (pen name J. Aleksandr Wootton)

Jason Smith serves on the board of An Unexpected Journal, as a strategist for the C.S. Lewis Foundation, and as the senior editor for acquisitions and development at Wootton Major Publishing.

In his spare time, he works a day job as a marketing director for a medical device engineering firm, where he writes about fun things like FDA regulations and embedded cybersecurity.

He is the pseudonymous author of the much-loved young adult fantasy series Fayborn and reviews every book he reads at www.goodreads.com/mrwootton.

Melanie Stiles

Melanie Stiles is a Christian Life Coach, author, and speaker. She has accumulated hundreds of freelance bylines, authored two books specifically for writers, and frequently speaks at conferences, churches, and groups on topics relating to the journeys of Christian women, discipleship, and writing.

Her award-winning book, The Heart of a Ready Scribe: 52 Reflections for Writers, continues to be well received by the writing community. She has recently completed the second book of an intended six-part series titled, Let’s Write Devotionals! 

Melanie offers services to other writers including editing, ghostwriting, book assessments and more. In addition, Melanie serves as a Life Coach with certifications through the American Association of Christian Counselors, and pairs with individuals or groups to assist in goal achievement. Her programs can be customized to fit individual or group needs.

Melanie spends her free time volunteering as a Lay Minister at Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas and as the Writers Workshop Coordinator of the C.S. Lewis Foundation.

* Program schedule, program elements, and speaker/artist lineup is subject to change.