Lake Junaluska here we come. Mid morning and we load the car and set off. The journey takes us over the mountains and through some beautiful countryside, and we arrive at our destination. Ron and Alan register us and armed with our room keys we make our way to the Terrace Hotel.
We have a rest and then take our seats in the Stuart Auditorium for the opening service. We had been warned that the auditorium can get very hot and sticky, but extra air conditioning had been installed and we were close to an exit so it was fairly comfortable.
The preacher is Revd Dr Tyrone D Gordon who is Senior Pastor at St Luke “Community” UMC in Dallas Texas. We heard some good southern preaching on the subject of ‘So you want to be a Great Church’.
Monday 15th June
Ron has to attend a staff breakfast so Pat, Alan and I go to breakfast separately.
All the sessions of the conference are broadcast on CCTV so we can watch them in our room, if we want to.
Lunch for Pat and I is at Waynesville UMC. Every year at conference there is a lunch for Spouses of ministers and this year I was invited to attend. We had a lovely meal and it was good to meet up with old friends and met new people.
We made our way back to the conference centre to get ready for the evening service which was the annual ordination service. The preacher was retired Bishop Marion M Edwards whose subject was “Finishing the Race and Keeping the Faith”.
The ordination was different and similar to ordination services in the UK. There were sixteen ordinands, each going forward as they were called for the laying on of hands by Bishop Swanson. It was a very memorable and emotive service.
Tuesday 16th June
The same procedure for breakfast as yesterday, We didn’t feel like sitting in he auditorium for another service so we went back to our room to wait for Ron. He didn’t need to attend any meeting so as soon as he arrived we set off for Waynesville and had lunch in Bistro in the town and then had a look around a few of the shops.
Revd Adam Hamilton, Senior Pastor UMC of the Resurrection in Leawood Kansas City, was taking three sessions on Leading beyond the Walls. The sessions were on Tuesday afternoon and evening and then on Wednesday morning. We watched them on CCTV in our room. Very challenging and sensible ideas.
The Sending Forth Service was held at 11.00a.m in the Stuart Auditorium. This was a blessing for Boo and Phyllis Hankin as they were leaving for the Sudan. It also included the fixing of appointments of new pastors in the local churches.
The preacher was Bishop Swanson and his subject was “Leading fromWithin”.
We thoroughly enjoyed our time at Lake Junaluska and had our photograph taken by the cross, which is the last point on the sabbatical.
We have had three months of meeting fantastic people, seeing some awesome sights, and generally having a great time. We are now off to have two weeks holiday with our Yorkshire family and also our very dear Tennessee friends.