Festival of Faith & Writing Status and Coronavirus


March 19, 2020

We are responding individually to each person who has emailed us requesting a refund. We continue to be in daily conversation with our external payment processors in an effort to issue refunds as soon as possible; this process has been very slow, and has included new challenges now that all faculty and staff at Calvin University are operating remotely through the end of the spring semester (University updates are viewable here).

You have been gracious in your responses, and we appreciate your understanding. We will post any new developments here as soon as we are able.

March 10, 2020

We are in the process of initiating refunds and are making every effort to process payments by the original start date of Festival (April 16, 2020); however, we are dependent on external payment processors which is affecting our timeline and preventing us from knowing an exact date.

Since this is an unprecedented situation for Festival and a number of financial institutions are involved in the refund process, please know that we are working as hard as possible to refund you as quickly as possible, and we greatly appreciate your patience. 

Finally, we've heard from some registrants that they did not receive a personal email about the postponement. We did send every registrant an individual email (with the same text as the March 5 update below) but have no control over how it was handled by your email provider, whether that was filtering it out of your inbox completely, placing it in a spam folder, or otherwise rejecting it.

Please find more information about these and other questions on our 2020 Postponement FAQ.

March 5, 2020

Festival 2020 Postponement

Dear readers, writers, and Festival registrants,

Our aspiration with each Festival of Faith & Writing is to host a gathering that is welcoming, safe, and enjoyable for everyone involved. It is with this goal in mind that we’re writing with the unfortunate news that the 30th anniversary Festival of Faith & Writing will be postponed until April of 2021. Workshop Wednesday will be held on April 7, 2021, and the Festival will run from April 8-10, 2021.

The reasons for this decision are:

  • The vast majority of our attendees and speakers are not local, and they must travel from across the country (45+ states) and internationally (12+ countries) to get here. It is important to us to give as much advance notice as possible for changes to travel plans.
  • As you’ve likely seen in the news, Festival is just one of many conferences and events that is being affected by COVID-19. Like so many of those other events, we have been receiving cancellations from attendees, exhibitors, and speakers. Some of these cancellations are the result of business travel restrictions outside the participants’ control, while others are the result of health concerns. In addition, many speakers and exhibitors who are still able to travel without restrictions are now required to limit their interactions with attendees (e.g., canceling all book signings and face-to-face meetings).
  • We are mindful of inclusive & accessible safety for all attendees, speakers, and staffincluding those groups that are known to be the most vulnerable to COVID-19. We also recognize that many attendees, speakers, staff, and exhibitors may not fall into these at-risk groups, but they may come into frequent contact with those who do. 
  • We do not have the resources or staffing to be able to livestream or otherwise broadcast the Festival remotely.

It is important to note that no one at Calvin University or in the state of Michigan has currently tested positive for COVID-19. We act out of an abundance of caution, especially given the complex and unpredictable nature of preventing infection, and we want to underscore the recommendations of many healthcare professionals to prepare for the coronavirus and stay informed but to do so calmly. Calvin University also continues to plan and prepare according to the CDC’s recommendations for Institutions of Higher Education (IHE). Updates for the Calvin campus are viewable here, and general information is viewable on the CDC and WHO websites.

For registered attendees & exhibitors: your registration, fees, and scholarships will automatically be transferred, allowing you to attend Festival in 2021; we will, however, provide a full refund to anyone who would like to receive one. Please contact ffw@calvin.edu with this request, and know that we appreciate your patience as we work to respond to everyone over the coming weeks. We have a great deal of communication & logistics to undertake as we work to reschedule, rework, and rearrange the many elements that make up the Festival of Faith & Writing. While we do anticipate that the roster of speakers may shift somewhat, we are hopeful that many speakers may be able to move their dates of appearance to Festival 2021.

After two years of planning, we are so disappointed to be postponing. This is not what any of us thought April would bring, and certainly not what any of us wanted. We know you join us in our disappointment, but we are hopeful that the celebration in 2021 will be worth the wait.

March 2, 2020

The safety of Festival attendees & other participants is our priority as we monitor COVID-19 in the lead-up to Festival 2020 this April. Currently, no one has tested positive for COVID-19 in the state of Michigan. At this time, we do plan to host Festival Workshops (April 15) and the Festival itself (April 16-18) on the campus of Calvin University as planned; if that changes, we will post updates on this webpage. Please consult the following resources for the most recent updates about Coronavirus globally, nationally, and locally:

Rolling updates on Coronavirus from WHO
Virus information from the CDC
Status of Coronavirus in Michigan & Kent County
Calvin University's Coronavirus Information Page

Calvin University continues to plan and prepare according to the CDC’s recommendations for Institutions of Higher Education (IHE). If you have individual concerns, please contact us at ffw@calvin.edu. Thank you for your patience as our limited staff manages communication during our final event planning stages & continues to monitor the virus.