Storyteller Gary Carden was a featured speaker for a national conference at Lake Junaluska.

The week-long event, held Sept. 7-11, was in the 1,700-seat conference center. The theme for the conference, “Then Jesus Told a Story,” celebrated the art of storytelling as a vital means of bringing the teachings of Jesus to life in the modern world. The Church of the Brethen, a nationwide church with a worldwide mission of reducing poverty, war and suffering, has ministries in every major city.

Carden said that he was selected to speak because the church’s Director of Intergenerational Ministries initiated a search for a storyteller who told stories with “a personal mythology” and stressed the use of stories as a means of unifying people. He said that a DVD Carden recorded of his story “Blow the Tannery Whistle,” was instrumental in his selection.

“The experience frightened me a bit,” said Carden, who said he had never told stories to that many people at one time.

Still, he considered his speech a success.

“I guess you could say I got a standing ovation, but that is not entirely true,” he said. “This audience was elderly, so it was mostly a ‘sitting ovation.’”