Events & Speaking

Melanie has a beautiful, unique, prophetic and convicting voice — and it needs to be heard. It needs to be heard by people whom it will make uncomfortable, and it needs to be heard by people who have walked some of the same paths as her…especially the painful ones…so they can know they aren’t alone.

–Erin Washington, MLS, Co-Founder, Embodied Labs

I am available for speaking requests, and I also offer my own prayer and poetry workshops, book clubs, and retreats. Please check out the “Speaking Requests” page to learn about possible event and retreat topics. To request me for a speaking event, please click here.

A seasoned preacher, teacher and published poet, I have a Master of Divinity degree from Wesley Theological Seminary, as well as a certificate for “Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups and Retreats” from the Shalem Institute. I am also currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in poetry from Spalding University. While I love speaking about poetry, I also lead on other topics, trusting that poetry informs any of my retreats, contemplative prayer groups, sermons, and/or workshops.

To get a feel for my speaking style, please check out this Youtube playlist, which has several sermons that I’ve preached in the past few years. The sermons range from casual and conversational to more formal and academic, and I’m happy to cater my style to the needs and purposes of the event. For preparing a talk, I follow the model of my friend Cary Umhau, who says:

“I never use the same talk entirely again. Every audience is different, and I want to hear your goals for your group. And also, as a person who’s always in process, I’m not the same speaker (or woman) I was the last time I gave a talk…My heart’s just not in it the same way as when I pray for fresh inspiration. So you can always know your talk will be yours uniquely.”

Here is a Partial List of Previous Speaking Venues:

  • Sojourners, Washington, DC
  • Project Transformation, online webinar
  • Van Buren United Methodist Church, Washington, DC
  • Fairlington Presbyterian Church, Alexandria, VA
  • University Christian Church, Hyattsville, MD
  • Shanghai Community Fellowship, Shanghai, China
  • St. Brendan’s in the City, Washington, DC
  • Western Presbyterian Church, Washington, DC
  • Catholic Volunteer Network, online webinar
  • Vita Poetica, Washington DC and online webinar
  • Grace United Methodist Church, Atlanta, GA
  • Hangzhou International Christian Fellowship, Hangzhou, China

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  • a personal reflection about where I’ve found poetry lately
  • a “poetry around town” section of broader news, updates, and events
  • “why poetry?” observations from a kaleidoscope of poets
  • an invitation to conversation

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