I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to visit Lake Junaluska last week. I’ve been United Methodist for over 20 years, yet this was my first visit to this Wesleyan hallowed ground. The lake was beautiful, adn the grounds were amazing. I was not disappointed. I was there to speak at the breakfast meeting of the Western North Carolina Conference Evangelical Movement (WNCCEM). The turnout was great, which impressed me, because it was a 7:30 am breakfast meeting. Now Junaluska is, of course, in the Eastern Time Zone, and I live in the Central Time Zone. So it felt like 6:30 am. I’m almost certain this was the first time I’ve delivered a speech that early in the morning. And I would do it again in a heartbeat! It was great fun. For a very kind review and reflection on the talk, head over to Talbot Davis’ blog, I’m grateful to Talbot for creating this opportunity and for his very gracious comments.
While at Junaluska, I was also interviewed for the Wesley Cast, a podcast devoted to theological dialogue in the Wesleyan/Methodist tradition. The podcast is hosted by Drew McIntyre, Steven Fife, and Evan Rohrs-Dodge who together operate the Via Media Methodists blog. Drew did the interview in which we discussed my then upcoming talk at the WNCCEM, the “A Way Forward” proposal, and the prospect of unity or schism in the United Methodist Church. It was a lot of fun and I’m grateful to Drew for the opportunity to discuss these important issues. Click through to listen to the interview (Released: 6/23/14), and be sure to subscribe to Wesley Cast so you can catch future episodes.
It was a whirlwind trip. I wasn’t even on site for 24 hours. But I did get the chance to attend one worship service at the meeting of the Western North Carolina Annual Conference and enjoyed hearing Bishop Jonathan Holston preach. I also made a quick visit to the World Methodist Museum where I saw John Wesley’s portable pulpit and one of four copies of his death mask. It was a remarkable experience to look at the exact contours of the face of a man who lived centuries ago and who has shaped my life in profound ways. It was great to visit the beautiful Lake Junaluska, make some new friends, and get a small sample of North Carolina Methodism. Next time I’ll have to stay a little longer.