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SVU to focus on temples for 19th spiritual retreat June 12-13

Attendees listen to a speaker at Southern Virginia's 18th annual Education Conference. This year, the conference will focus on the theme, "A House Unto His Name."
Attendees listen to a speaker at Southern Virginia's 18th annual Education Conference. This year, the conference will focus on the theme, "A House Unto His Name."
Jordan Wunderlich, Southern Virginia University

The 19th annual Southern Virginia University Education Conference, a spiritual retreat, will be held in Buena Vista, Virginia, on Friday and Saturday, June 12-13. This year’s theme is “A House Unto His Name.”

The weekend will feature keynote speaker Elder William R. Walker, an emeritus Seventy and former executive director of the temple eepartment of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Entertainment will include a musical performance by Grammy-nominated violinist Jenny Oaks Baker and her children, a choral performance and a production of the musical “Bells Are Ringing.”

Kathleen Knight, who received an honorary doctorate from the university this month, has organized the conference since its beginnings and said this year’s topic struck her as she worked at the Washington D.C. Temple. She was also inspired by the work of photographer Robert Boyd, who will present and display his work at the conference.

“The theme is developed over a two-day period, and conference attendees remain together for the entire conference experience," Knight said. "It is a wonderful, spiritual retreat for adults, students, couples (and) friends.”

Knight said the university is “so blessed” to have Elder Walker as the keynote speaker. In addition to his 12 years as a general authority, Elder Walker brings experience from having worked in "executive positions with major firms in the securities and investment banking fields," according to lds.org. He has also served in a number of church capacities, including as a bishop, a stake president and a mission president of the Japan Tokyo South Mission. He also served as area president of the Asia North Area.

Other speakers at the conference will include Michael Enfield, who worked for the LDS Church's temple construction department for 24 years; Kent and Kathryn Colton, the current president and matron of the Washington D.C. Temple; and Anthony Sweat, assistant professor of LDS Church history and doctrine at Brigham Young University.

Madeleine Gail Rex is the writing and social media assistant at Southern Virginia University and a student majoring in English, theater and liberal arts. She currently resides in Buena Vista, Virginia.