MOUNT VERNON — Mount Vernon will soon play host to a four-day conference style worship event known as the Restored Conference.

Restored Conference, Thursday, Nov. 8 to Sunday Nov. 11 at the Knox County Memorial Theater Building in Mount Vernon at 112 E. High St., is aimed at giving attendees a deeper understanding of who they are in the world as a child of God, according to Kelli Highnam, Restored Conference committee chair. Beyond that mission, Highnam also hopes the conference will foster a sense of the commonalties between Knox County’s more than 150 churches and help bring the different faith communities together outside the walls of their individuals ministries.

The conference started as the brain child of Highnam, a member of First Presbyterian Church of Mount Vernon, three years ago after she had a breakthrough in her own life in which “God shared something incredibly different with me, different from anything I ever saw growing up in the church” that led her to see a “need for unity” in Knox County churches.

After several years of trying to coordinate an event, things began to come together for the Restored Conference in March, starting with Restored Conference featured speaker, Bill Vanderbush, a renowned speaker and pastor at Community Presbyterian Church in Celebration, Florida, saying he would come to Mount Vernon to speak. Members of First Presbyterian Church in Mount Vernon went to see Vanderbush speak at an event in Wooster and after, they spoke with him about the growing church community in Knox County as well as the drug epidemic facing the county.

Vanderbush told the News that he is looking forward to the conference because, in his years speaking at various conferences much like the Restored Conference, he has seen communities come together to make a lasting positive change, especially in communities gripped by drug addiction.

“I think the name of the conference — Restored — speaks to that,” Vanderbush said. “This is for anyone who feels they need a touch of restoration in their life. I use the example of the shattered pane of glass, you know that often we’ll pick it up and throw the pieces away, but God takes that shattered glass and makes a kaleidoscope more beautiful than it ever was in the first place. I want people to know that it is possible to be restored in Christ.”

From the time that Vanderbush agreed to speak, others interested in taking part in the event started reaching out, Highnam said, and the event “fell together.” First Presbyterian also joined forces with Journey Church in Howard to bring in speaker Scott Thompson, who serves on the Jesus Culture team out of California.

A total of 10 different speakers are scheduled to lead the conference including Vanderbush; Thompson; Leif Hetland with Global Mission Awareness and author of “Healing The Orphan Spirit,” who will join Vanderbush as a special guest speaker Friday evening; Keith Smith, pastor of from Gateway Church in Wooster; Chuck Ammons, author of the book “Life in the Overflow” and a pastor at South Brandon Worship Center in Valrico, Florida; Jeremy Lau, founder and apostolic leader of Ekballo Harvest and director of Mosaic House of Prayer in Bethlehem, PA; Chris Burns, a singer/songwriter and preacher based out of Nashville, TN and the founder of The Sound Movement; Brit Eaton, a Mount Vernon resident and co-author of the book “Reckless Grace,” which was inspired by and developed with Vanderbush; and author and a senior leader of the Zion Christian Fellowship in Powell and Pickerington, Jim Baker.

Between speakers, musicians from several area churches will lead musical worship and ministry teams from Vineyard Church of Knox County, Journey Church and First Presbyterian of Mount Vernon will be on hand between speakers for healing prayer, Highnam said.

The schedule will start Thursday evening with student night. There is a cost to attend each day, but high school and college students with a student ID can attend Thursday’s portion of the conference for free, according to Highnam. Thursday’s events will start at 7 p.m. Speakers are scheduled from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and a community-wide, free worship event will be held at 11 a.m. Sunday to conclude the conference.

For a complete schedule and additional information on each speaker, visit or Like “Restored Conference” on Facebook. All are welcome to attend. To register and purchase tickets for the event, visit the “register” tab of the Restored Conference website and follow the link. Tickets can be purchased daily or for the full conference based on attendee availability and preference.

Direct questions to Highnam at or at 502-689-3290.


Callan Pugh: 740-397-5333 or and on Twitter, @mountvernonnews



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