Category: News

Jack Ewing to retire as executive director of Lake Junaluska

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. — Lake Junaluska Executive Director Jack Ewing announced today that he will retire on December 31, 2017.

Over the past seven years Ewing has led Lake Junaluska following four guiding principles: clarity of mission, focus on place, support of staff and development of a sustainable business model.

“Jack brought a vision to Lake Junaluska, and over the last seven years he has helped us live into that vision,” said Mike Warren, chairman of the Lake Junaluska Board of Trustees. “Lake Junaluska has thrived under his exceptional leadership, and the guiding principles he put in place will ensure that it continues to thrive well into the future.”

Anyone who has visited Lake Junaluska over the past seven years has likely heard the mission statement: to be a place of Christian hospitality where lives are transformed through renewal of soul, mind and body. Not only have the staff and community learned and owned the mission statement under Ewing’s leadership, it is also the foundation for everything the organization does.

Part of living into the mission statement is tied to place—Lake Junaluska is often referred to as “holy ground.” Ewing’s emphasis on the maintenance, care and appearance of the grounds has contributed to the success of Lake Junaluska and its popularity as a recreation destination.

Under Ewing’s leadership, Lake Junaluska developed a sustainable business model following the loss of operational support from The United Methodist Church. The organization not only focused on “living within our means” but also reinvested in facility improvements that added value to the community and guests who visited Lake Junaluska. Over the past seven years, $7,500,000 has been invested into improvements of the hotels, meeting spaces, dining hall and other facilities.

Ewing’s leadership is also marked by the development and nurturing of staff through motivation by encouragement, recognition and reward. The staff has shared in the financial success of the organization through profit sharing during Jack’s tenure.

“I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve Lake Junaluska these last seven years. I feel good about what we have achieved, but am most proud that we have always tried to do the right thing,” said Ewing. “We are looking forward to spending more time with our children and grandchildren as well as traveling.”

When Ewing started as executive director of Lake Junaluska in January 2011, he brought to the position 35 years of experience in higher education. He served as president of two United Methodist institutions of higher education—Dakota Wesleyan University and The University of Mount Union. Immediately prior to Lake Junaluska, he was the executive director of the Foundation for Evangelism, an organization focused on leadership development in The United Methodist Church.

Ewing comes from a family of United Methodist pastors, and he said serving in The United Methodist Church has always been an important part of his life. He first visited Lake Junaluska in 1973, and he and his wife Cynthia have owned a house at Lake Junaluska since 2006. The Ewings plan to continue to live at Lake Junaluska in retirement.

Ewing, who turned 65 in March, began conversations in June with Chairman Mike Warren of his plans to retire at the end of 2017 and informed the Board of Trustees of his plans today.

The Lake Junaluska Board of Trustees has identified a search committee to begin the process of looking for a new executive director. John Russell, former chairman of the Lake Junaluska Board of Trustees, will lead the search committee.

“During this interim period, we will rely on our strong, seasoned executive team to direct the important activities of Lake Junaluska,” said Warren. “I intend to be directly involved on a regular basis with the team to provide support for the organization during this transition.”

The community is invited to a celebration of Jack Ewing’s leadership at Lake Junaluska on December 29, 2017. More information will be announced soon.


Lake Junaluska is a place of Christian hospitality where lives are transformed through renewal of soul, mind and body. For more information about Lake Junaluska, visit

United Methodist Student Day is November 26th

On United Methodist Student Day Nov. 26, churches will come together to support students as they prepare for a life that unites faith and knowledge.

Our gifts on this Special Sunday go to scholarships for diligent United Methodist students in local congregations just like yours. Many of these young people plan to return to their churches after graduation to share their gifts, including a pastor’s son who is studying to be a church pianist, a religious studies major focused on interfaith relations, and a speech pathology student who hopes to run her church’s youth program one day.

You can read their stories and share them with your congregation to encourage generosity on  Nov. 26.

To make it easy for you to prepare for this Special Sunday, use our FREE, downloadable Student Day pastor’s kit.

It has everything needed to promote this celebration including:

  1. Social media images
  2. Short, engaging videos
  3. Worship presentation
  4. Handy infographics
  5. Free e-books (“How to Promote United Methodist Student Day” and “15 Ways to Welcome College Students”)

Church leaders can use these resources immediately to prepare for United Methodist Student Day on Nov. 26. It’s so easy!

Click here to explore the free Student Day pastor’s kit.

Now also is the best time to order supplies for your church’s celebration. Claim your FREE posters and bulletin inserts/offering envelopes before the rush!

Annual Conference offerings already assisting seminary students

By Rev. Laura Alexander Elliott,
Ministry Education Funds (MEF) Coordinator
WNCC Board of Ordained Ministry

Just like education costs in general, tuition expenditures for attending seminary are ever on the increase for those pursuing ordained ministry as their vocation.  Yet this fall, our WNCC certified clergy candidates enrolled in seminaries across the connection, received a little extra funding thanks to everyone who gave to the Special Offering designated for Ministry Education Funds (MEF) during Annual Conference last June.

This AC2017 Special Offering designated for MEF resulted in more than $15,000 being added to the WNCC coffers from which monies are distributed twice a year, in the Fall and Spring Semesters, to about 40 of our seminary students at nearly a dozen approved graduate institutions of higher learning.  The schools include Duke Divinity School, Candler School of Theology @Emory University, Asbury Theological Seminary, Hood Theological Seminary, Boston University School of Theology, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Union Presbyterian Seminary and Union’s Extension Location in Charlotte, and the Pfeiffer University, Wesley Theological Seminary and collaborative combination programs of Wesley-Pfeiffer.

The Special Offering collected provided an additional one-time supplement of $375 per seminary student for the current Fall semester; for full-time students, that was a nearly 20% increase over the normal funding provided, and for part-timers, a more than 35% increase.  On behalf of these certified clergy candidates, seminary students, and our future ministry leaders of the Western N.C. Annual Conference of the UMC, the Board of Ordained Ministry for the Conference would like to extend our deep appreciation for such generosity on the part of this year’s Annual Conference Laity and Clergy Delegates, as well as family members and visitors, who made this MEF expansion possible.


We strive to provide as much financial support to students in seminary as possible so that when the time comes for them to stand before the Bishop and the Annual Conference and respond to the Historic Wesley Questions, they can answer the query about personal debt with as much integrity as possible!

Hood Seminary hosts 1885 Society Dinner on November 3

Hood Theological Seminary (HTS) invites all alumni to the annual 1885 Society Dinner on Friday, November 3, 2017, at 7:00 p.m. in The Aymer Center on the seminary campus at 1810 Lutheran Synod Drive, Salisbury, NC. This special fund-raising event is sponsored by the HTS National Alumni Association and all alumni and friends are welcome! All proceeds from this event – 100% – go towards scholarships for seminary students awarded each year by the HTSNAA at the Honors Convocation in May.

Tickets are $50 per person ($30 tax deductible) and may be purchased by contacting Dr. Lamont Foster, HTSNAA President, at 828-782-4560 or Please RSVP by October 27th.

Global Migration Sunday is December 3rd


Brothers and Sisters of The United Methodist Church,

Grace and peace to you in the compassionate name of our Lord Christ Jesus.

I write to you in behalf of our Council of Bishops to invite you to observe Global Migration Sunday on December 3, 2017.  This is the first Sunday of the season of Advent, a time when we remember the coming birth of the Christ Child who was himself a migrant.

From Asia through Europe and Africa to the Americas, the plight of the over 65 million men, women and children forced to leave their homes and migrate to places unknown calls all Christians to remember what God requires of us.

Wars, natural disasters, persecution, economic hardships, and growing violence around the world are the major root causes of the unprecedented global migration we see today with grave concern.  As if these deadly forces were not enough, migrants also face myriad problems as they migrate including hazardous travel, cultural barriers and the physical and emotional costs of arriving in strange lands where they are not always welcome and often persecuted.

For most of these migrants, the decision to flee their homeland comes as a last resort effort to live.  We are reminded of Joseph and Mary as they sought to save their lives and especially the life of the Christ Child by fleeing to Africa to escape the wrath of King Herod who felt threatened by the birth of Jesus and ordered the massacre of the children (Matthew 2:13-14).

As United Methodists, we believe that the prayers of God’s people can cause the outpouring of God’s mercy and justice.  As your bishops, it is our fervent hope that on Global Migration Sunday on December 3, United Methodist congregations in all the places where we serve around the world would join our voices to pray for our brothers and sisters who are suffering on the journey of forced migration on the face of the earth.  In addition, as a people who pray and act upon those prayers, we ask that all our congregations also gather an offering to be dedicated to responding to the human suffering inflicted by forced migration.  Offerings collected should be sent to the Migration Advance No. 3022144.

We are grateful for our general agencies who have prepared excellent resources for Global Migration Sunday including the Prayer that we would ask we all pray on December 3rd.  These resources can be found in English, Arabic, French and Spanish at

Jesus said, “When you welcome the sojourner, you welcome me.” (Matthew 25:35).
Let us welcome our migrant brothers and sisters with compassionate care, pray for them without ceasing, and give generously that they too may have life.

Grace and peace,
Bishop Bruce R. Ough
President, Council of Bishops

Download Letter on Letterhead to Print




Appalachian Christmas at Lake Junaluska

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. — All are invited to Lake Junaluska December 7-10 for Appalachian Christmas, a special festive event including three concerts and a craft show.

The Lake Junaluska Singers will return, under the direction of Mary Huff and Associate Director Kathy Geyer McNeil, to perform Handel’s Messiah and a special Christmas concert during Appalachian Christmas. Handel’s Messiah is a baroque-era music composition by George Frideric Handel, composed in 1741-1742 and the Lake Junaluska Singers will perform the piece alongside a regional chorus and area musicians on Friday, December 8.

The Appalachian Christmas Craft Show will include more than 40 artisans exhibiting all hand-crafted items. The show is run by the Junaluska Woman’s Club and the profits go toward scholarships the Woman’s Club puts together for Lake Junaluska staff members every summer. All are welcome to attend the craft show on Saturday, December 9 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Harrell Center.

The Cockman Family, will perform at 2 p.m. on December 9 in Stuart Auditorium. The group is known for their signature bluegrass-gospel sound, warm family atmosphere and an instrumental proficiency that will delight the audience.

Appalachian Christmas festivities wrap up with a Christmas concert by the Lake Junaluska Singers on Saturday, December 9. Members of the 16-voice ensemble will return from across the country to perform at Appalachian Christmas. Carols with audience participation, Appalachian Christmas songs, and poignant readings will round out the evening.

“We’ll be singing Christmas favorites like Ding, Dong, Merrily on High, The Holly and the Ivy, The Little Drummer Boy, O Holy Night, and Carol of the Bells,” said Mary Huff, director of the Lake Junaluska Singers.

A new kick-off event for those who purchase an Appalachian Christmas lodging package, Cookies & Carols, will take place on Thursday, December 7 at 7 p.m. in Lambuth Inn. Visitors will gather around the piano with noted Appalachian ballad singer Judy Rhodes, who will sing traditional Christmas carols with a “Celtic hillbilly” flare. Song sheets, hot tea, cider, cocoa and cookies will be provided.

“The heart of an authentic Appalachian Christmas is that moment when one family welcomes another to join them by the Christmas tree and share family-secret cookies and steaming mugs of cocoa,” said Mitzi Johnson, director of programming at Lake Junaluska. “That’s the experience I wanted to re-create for our guests. What says Christmas better than gathering for singing in an inn nestled in the mountains on beautiful Lake Junaluska?”

The Appalachian Christmas lodging package includes lodging, meals, tickets to all three concerts, the Cookies & Carols event and two tickets to Christmas at Biltmore. Individual concert tickets are available for $23 reserved, $18 general admission. Call 800-222-4930 to book or visit for additional information.

Lake Junaluska is a place of Christian hospitality where lives are transformed through renewal of soul, mind and body. For more information about Lake Junaluska, visit

Appalachian Christmas Events

*Cookies & Carols
Thursday, Dec. 7
7-8:30 p.m.
Lambuth Inn Lobby

Handel’s Messiah, featuring a local choir and orchestra
Friday, Dec. 8
7:30 p.m.

Appalachian Christmas Craft Show
Saturday, Dec. 9
9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Harrell Center Auditorium
The Cockman Family in Concert
Saturday, Dec. 9
2 p.m.

Lake Junaluska Singers in Concert
Saturday, Dec. 9
7:30 p.m.

All concerts are in Stuart Auditorium at Lake Junaluska.

*Event is only open to those on the Appalachian Christmas lodging package.

Disaster Response information in Western North Carolina

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The Hudson NC, area in Caldwell County, suffered two tornados at around 6:15PM on Sunday evening.

Initial damage assessment which is subject to change is over 100 homes damaged and Mount Hermon UMC lost their steeple and initial damage estimate at the church is over $200,000.00.

Mount Hermon UMC property was evacuated due to a failed rain water drainage pipe underneath the church parking lot.

Rev. Mike Duncan, Appalachian District Disaster Response Coordinator, is on-scene with me at the Mount Hermon UMC Parsonage. Mike will work with local emergency management officials over the next few hours to determine the extent of the damage in the Community.

Please keep the Hudson Community in your prayers and please remember that volunteers are not to cross District boundaries without an invitation extended by the District Superintendent.

Grace and Peace,
Ken Anderson
Western North Carolina Conference Disaster Response Coordinator
Cell phone (828) 260-3724

*If you have knowledge of other situations in the conference after Hurricane Nate passed through the area overnight, please be in touch with Ken Anderson.

Commission on General Conference looks toward 2019 and 2020

Gallant, Ala.: Meeting at Camp Sumatanga in Gallant, Ala. for their fall meeting, the Commission on General Conference announced the America’s Center Convention Complex will be the venue for the 2019 special session of the General Conference, to be held February 23-26 in downtown St. Louis, Missouri.

Sara Hotchkiss, General Conference business manager, reported that hospitality for the 2019 event will be provided by the two annual conferences in the surrounding Greater St. Louis area — the Missouri Annual Conference and the Illinois Great Rivers Annual Conference. The conferences will work in collaboration with Explore St. Louis (the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission), which will also provide a significant number of volunteers.

The Council of Bishops made the call for a special session this past April, which would be “limited to receiving and acting on a report from the Council of Bishops based on the recommendations of the Commission on a Way Forward.” The deadline for the petitions secretary to receive such report is 230 days in advance of the special session, which will be July 8, 2018.

According to the Constitution of The United Methodist Church, a special session “may be called by the Council of Bishops, or in such other manner as the General Conference may from time to time prescribe.” The last—and only—special session of the United Methodist General Conference was held in 1970, to complete the merger of the Evangelical United Brethren Church and The Methodist Church, both of whom previously had special sessions.

Delegates from the 2016 General Conference will remain as delegates for the 2019 session, unless an annual conference chooses to have a new election.

The Commission on General Conference is simultaneously planning for both the 2019 special session and the regular session of the General Conference, which is scheduled for May 5-15, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Commission met through Sunday, October 8.


GC Commission strives to bring new efficiencies to legislative event