LA MIRADA, CALIF. — In the face of the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner in New York, students at a California university are preparing for a weekend of racial reconciliation. For its 19th consecutive year, Biola University’s Student Congress on Racial Reconciliation (SCORR) will host their annual conference Feb. 20-21. The event, entitled, “His Beloved: The Bride of Christ,” is dedicated to celebrating and learning about diversity within the global church. Conference attendance has greatly increased in recent years.

Nearly 700 students, staff and faculty from 14 different colleges and universities will gather at Biola University to both celebrate and learn about the diversity within the body of Christ this weekend.

The Church, Christ’s Body and Bride, encompasses humanity from all walks of life,” said Glen Kinoshita, director of multi-ethnic programs and development at Biola University. “Societies throughout history from diverse cultures and social identities, make up the Bride of Christ. He is coming back for a Bride that is comprised of all ‘peoples, tribes, and nations.’”

The conference encourages attendees to engage in the act of sharing and listening to the personal narratives of people from a variety of cultures.

Efrem Smith, president and CEO of World Impact, is this year’s keynote speaker. Smith started World Impact as an urban ministries organization dedicated to serving the poor, and facilitating and empowering churches across the nation. Smith has traveled internationally consulting leaders on multi-ethnicity, leadership, community, and church development, and has used motivational speaking and preaching to equip people for a life of transformation.

Kinoshita expressed his support of the conference.

“Once again, we rejoice at the opportunity to welcome various Christian Colleges and Universities from across the country to celebrate the diversity of the Body of Christ,” said Kinoshita.

As the conference has grown since its inception in 1996, students and advisers continue to travel from across the nation to help increase awareness of intercultural competence. SCORR seeks to be a part of the solution to the global need for racial reconciliation as they address issues of identity, cultural consciousness and racial injustice facing the church and the world at large.

The conference will be held February 20-21, 2015 and will provide chapels, workshops, worship sessions, luncheons, and performances of music and poetry on Biola’s campus. Registration and more information on the conference can be found here.

For more information contact Jenna Bartlo, media relations specialist, at (562) 777-4061 or