All are invited to attend the Summer Worship Series at Lake Junaluska from June 9 to Aug. 4. The series includes spirited traditional worship services led by inspirational preachers on Sunday mornings.
Services take place at 11 a.m. Sundays in Stuart Auditorium, with a prelude at 10:45 a.m. by the Lake Junaluska Singers, except for the June 9 kick-off event, which takes place at 7 p.m. in Memorial Chapel. The kick-off and final services of the series will offer Holy Communion.
The theme for this year’s Summer Worship Series is “Psalms of Our Times.”
“Most scripture is God’s word to us, but the Psalms are our words to God," said the Rev. Mitzi Johnson, Lake Junaluska director of programming. “They’re powerful because they convey the entire scope of the human emotional experience. The series will embody the richness of Psalms through our speakers, music and liturgy.”
Nine guest speakers will come to Lake Junaluska to preach this summer. The lineup of pastors, professors and pioneers include the following speakers:
• Bishop Kenneth H. Carter Jr., resident bishop of the Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church. Carter, an authority on church formation and development, is the author of 10 books, most recently “Fresh Expressions: A New Kind of Methodist Church for People Not in Church” (with Audrey Warren) and “Embracing the Wideness: The Shared Convictions of The United Methodist Church.”
• The Rev. Dr. Priscilla Pope-Levison, associate dean for external programs and professor of ministerial studies at Perkins School of Theology. Pope-Levison is known for her passion for women’s studies and for her work on the role of women in the pulpit. Her interdisciplinary publications combine theology, gender studies, church history, mission and evangelism.
• The Rev. Kevin Wright, a pioneer for the voice of young people. Wright is the chief program officer at Urban Arts Partnership, a dynamic nonprofit organization that uses art to improve academic outcomes, graduation rates, artistic growth and social-emotional learning for underserved students.
The 2019 Summer Worship Series begins with a special kick-off service held at 7 p.m. June 9 in Memorial Chapel. Starting this year, the kick-off service will feature a young preacher whose gifts of proclamation show great promise, Johnson said. The Rev. Josh Kurtz will lead this “Young Voices” service. He serves as the pastor of Jordan Memorial United Methodist Church in Ramseur.
Students from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., are writing select liturgies throughout the summer and also serving in worship leadership roles at two services. According to Johnson, who partnered with the seminarians, their inclusion provides an opportunity for a “fresh, energetic point of view that will help worshippers connect to God in new ways.”
“This summer, our pastors, professors and pioneers will guide us through the Psalms in a way that reflects the tumultuous encounters most people have with God along our journeys of faith,” said Johnson. “Together, we’ll move from childlike trust to chaos and doubt, and back to solid ground.”
As is tradition, music will be a mainstay of the worship series. The Lake Junaluska Singers will provide a rich offering of worship music at all services. The Aug. 4 service, led by the Rev. Dr. Charley Reeb, will draw on Appalachian culture for its music and liturgy, with the Lake Junaluska Singers paying homage to local culture and a service of Holy Communion incorporating colloquial forms of expression.
The Summer Worship Series also includes Taizé services of prayer and song at 7 p.m. Monday evenings in Memorial Chapel, from June 17 to Aug. 5 (excluding July 1). The service, modeled after the Taizé Community in France, has a casual atmosphere encouraging participants to slow down in the midst of their fast-paced lives. Simple meditative songs, scripture, candlelight and silence are characteristic of this service.
Schedule for summer worship:
All services are held at 11 a.m. in Stuart Auditorium unless otherwise noted, with a prelude at 10:45 a.m. by the Lake Junaluska Singers beginning
June 9 – The Rev. Josh Kurtz, special kick-off event at Memorial Chapel at 7 p.m.
June 16 – Bishop Kenneth H. Carter Jr.
June 23 – Bishop Paul Leeland, 10 a.m.
June 30 – The Rev. Dr. Connie Shelton
July 7 – The Rev. Dr. Priscilla Pope-Levison
July 14 – The Rev. Kevin Wright
July 21 – The Rev. Dr. Jerusha Neal
July 28 – The Rev. Dr. Mark Ralls
Aug. 4 – The Rev. Dr. Charley Reeb
To learn more about the Summer Worship Series and the speakers, visit www.lakejunaluska.com/summer-worship.
Lake Junaluska is a conference and retreat center and residential community that surround a 200-acre mountain lake in Western North Carolina. Lake Junaluska’s mission is to be a place of Christian hospitality where lives are transformed through renewal of soul, mind and body. For information, visit lakejunaluska.com.