A fittingly Scottish rainy morning greeted the annual gathering of Kirkin’ o’ the Tartan Worship Service in Anderson Auditorium on Sunday morning. Summer staff are landing and settling into lodging arrangements, adjusting to new work responsibilities, and making new and renewed connections with each other. Memorial Day has been observed, and despite the chill in the air, the green flag of summer is waving everywhere. Summer in Montreat is here.
As always, the conference center’s programming portends much of the familiar. The conference schedule remains very much the same, highlighted by a Women’s Connection in early August that promises to set new standards for interest and attendance. The staff numbers will once again grow from their annual numbers of around 75 to around 200, and a team of volunteers will make everything run much better than it would without their essential efforts.
I do want to underscore my encouragement for you to attend worship services in Anderson Auditorium on Sunday morning. The conference center’s worship teams have composed a wonderful series, beginning this week with the leadership of Dr. Robert Gamble, Presbyterian pastor and the director of This Child Here, a validated ministry of Western North Carolina Presbytery working “on the ground” right now in Ukraine to alleviate the human tragedy playing out since Russia’s invasion of that country in February of 2022.
While the war has focused the world’s attentions over the past year, Dr. Gamble has been working in Ukraine with vulnerable children and families since 2005. His ministry is a testimony to a commitment of faith, and also to what can be done when we embrace our call to live justly and with mercy in our hearts, to despise injustice as Jesus despises injustice, and to work for a just world. Morning worship, which begins at 10:30 a.m., will be preceded by an address from Dr. Gamble in Upper Anderson on Sunday morning at 9:30 a.m.
Staying in the same lane – recognizing long contributions of service – I also encourage you to stop by the Currie Craft Center this summer and, if the opportunity presents itself, thank Ann Laird Jones, who this week begins her 30th summer at Sally Jones Pottery. Ann’s ministry, first working for her mother, Marilyn, and later as director, has meant so much to so many of us. Thank you, Ann.
Stay tuned for other details and stories that illustrate the many ways Montreat impacts the world we share, the different ways that God is always doing a new thing in this special place, and the opportunity we all share to enhance the hospitality and experience in Montreat for everyone in our midst. With pleasure, it’s a privilege to thank you for whatever role you will play. The summer season is upon us. Thanks be to God!
P.S. A caveat: the conference center’s hospitality this summer doesn’t extend to geese. More on that to come. 😊
President, Montreat Conference Center