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This Week in Montreat – July 18, 2021

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This Week in Montreat is a weekly publication by Montreat Conference Center of events, activities, and notices in the Montreat Valley during the summer months (late May through early August).

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With Gratitude

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Gratitude is the word of the upcoming weekend. On Saturday evening, the conference center will host the annual Patrons Banquet to honor and express appreciation to those donors who generously supported our programs and operations over the previous fiscal year. This year’s casual evening will include food trucks, supper under a tent, and Amanda Anne Platt & the Honeycutters, Asheville-based musicians now drawing national attention. Any review of the previous year must include praise of decisions made by our Board of Directors just as the pandemic was dawning. As stated several times in this space and elsewhere, at the spring …

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This Week in Montreat – July 11, 2021

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This Week in Montreat is a weekly publication by Montreat Conference Center of events, activities, and notices in the Montreat Valley during the summer months (late May through early August).

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The Future of the Huck

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I don’t have a lot of childhood memories of The Huckleberry, Montreat’s snack bar at Moore Center right on Lake Susan. I do remember being in there once as a teenager with some friends, awaiting milkshakes on order, and the poor server being so distracted by all the chatter that the machine sprayed ice cream all over him and his work station. We feasted on the story far longer than we did the ice cream. Otherwise, I really hadn’t given The Huck much thought in recent years, and yet the pandemic has prompted a new focus on community spaces on …

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This Week in Montreat – July 4, 2021

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This Week in Montreat is a weekly publication by Montreat Conference Center of events, activities, and notices in the Montreat Valley during the summer months (late May through early August).

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On Calling and Remembrance (Guest Starring The Toe River Valley Boys)

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A few days ago, while sifting through a box of Montreat keepsakes, I came across an LP recording that I recognized instantly: “Square Dancing In The Blue Ridge Mountains” by the Toe River Valley Boys. The album, I believe, deserved its keepsake status because its bluegrass music had accompanied the square dances that my home church once hosted for local youth on Friday nights during my early teen years. My father, our church’s minister, organized these dances and invited the youth groups of other congregations to join us (the dancing congregations, at least). On those Friday nights, our fellowship hall …

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This Week in Montreat – June 27, 2021

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This Week in Montreat is a weekly publication by Montreat Conference Center of events, activities, and notices in the Montreat Valley during the summer months (late May through early August).

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Welcome Back, Presbyterian Friends in Ministry!

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With the summer conference season of 2021 about to conclude its third week, we have welcomed back this week a long-standing and valued conference partner. We began the season as we typically do, with two weeks of youth conferences, and are following with two weeks of Worship and Music conferences, planned and executed by the Presbyterian Association of Musicians, simply and widely known by their acronym, PAM. Founded in 1970, PAM is a national organization of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) for people who are involved in the areas of worship, music, and the arts. Its influence has been felt in …

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This Week in Montreat – June 20, 2021

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This Week in Montreat is a weekly publication by Montreat Conference Center of events, activities, and notices in the Montreat Valley during the summer months (late May through early August).

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Old Roads Made New Again

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To celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary this year, Jeannie and I decided that we will take a vacation bicycle trip toward the end of November. In an effort to prepare, I’ve taken to the streets over the past few months on the fine machine that once belonged to my father-in-law; the bike remains in great shape thanks to the maintenance expertise of the good folks at Epic Cycles in Black Mountain. I remember my first bicycle, a bright red little Western Flyer-style with conventional seat, handlebars, and bell. I remember my maiden voyage without training wheels courtesy of my father’s …

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This Week in Montreat – June 13, 2021

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This Week in Montreat is a weekly publication by Montreat Conference Center of events, activities, and notices in the Montreat Valley during the summer months (late May through early August).

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God’s Work Needs to be Done

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On Monday morning, I welcomed the first youth conference to Montreat for the summer of 2021. For years, I have told our youth the same four things: Whether you’re here for the first time or the tenth, you are welcome and you belong. While God’s voice is everywhere, Montreat is one of those places that people sometimes find it easier to tune in and hear it. Listen for God’s voice this week. God has a call on your life, and a call for Montreat, too. Lend your own voice this week, because it’s through your own voice, through your sharing, …

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This Week in Montreat – June 6, 2021

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This Week in Montreat is a weekly publication by Montreat Conference Center of events, activities, and notices in the Montreat Valley during the summer months (late May through early August).

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God Loves Through His People

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Did you catch the end of the Liverpool/West Bromwich soccer match a couple weeks ago? No? This particular game basically came down to the last play, when Liverpool won on a header from their own goalkeeper, Alisson Becker, a play so rare that…well, it’s the first goal ever scored in competition by a Liverpool goalkeeper. Liverpool has been playing soccer/football since 1892. Yet that wasn’t what I’ll remember most from that day. After the game, Alisson was interviewed, of course, and asked about the winning play. He gave all credit to God, as athletes often do. Then the interview shifted. …

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Summer Updates 2021

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A little over a year ago, in the early days of the pandemic, we were sorting through unprecedented challenges at the conference center on an almost daily basis. In the midst of the highest days of anxiety, I particularly remember some members of our staff chuckling over a strangely comforting thought: Someday, long after this is over, somebody is going to rush into your office one day in a panic and announce, “We have a BIG problem!” And you’ll remember the pandemic, and you’ll just look up and smile a little bit, and you’ll think to yourself: Oh yeah? I’ll …

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Thank You for Your Support of the Montreat Fund

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As you heard last week in this space, Montreat’s fiscal year ended on April 30. While the final mail is still being opened and every dollar counted, today we give thanks for the record number of donors who propelled the Montreat Fund to an early total of over one million dollars for the second year in a row, and just the second time in history! This is a monumental show of support, and allows the mission and ministry of this special place to adapt to the changing needs of the church and of all those who call this place sacred …

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End of Fiscal Year Update from MRA Board Chair

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As our fiscal year draws to a close, I’ve asked Burnet Tucker, chair of the MRA Board of Directors, to share an update with you. I have the privilege of serving as Chair of the Board of the Mountain Retreat Association (d.b.a. the Montreat Conference Center). Over the past several months, I’ve been asked about how the MRA is weathering COVID financially as well as how the proposed lodge fits into our bigger financial, hospitality, and programmatic picture. As the MRA prepares to close its books on April 30 (the end of our fiscal year), I thought it would be …

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Year End Thoughts and Thanks

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As we approach the end of our fiscal year on April 30th, we are as usual doing our best to reach out and remind everyone to make their Montreat Fund gift in time. Making some of those calls this week got me thinking about Dorothy Allen, a longtime Montreater who passed away in January at the age of 99. Dorothy was an original donor to Montreat’s Patrons Fund in 1962, though she pointed out to me once that she was not an original Patron per se. Dorothy told me that she and her husband, Kirk, just couldn’t find the funds …

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Plans for Summer 2021

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As we approach the middle of April this week, it feels like a good time to let you know of the conference center’s plans for this coming summer.