This Week in Montreat Summer Post # 9 | 07/31/2020

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Scroll to the bottom for an upcoming weekly rundown of events.

I have been asked over the last couple of weeks about Congressman John Lewis and his relationship to the Montreat Conference Center. 

I crossed paths with Congressman Lewis a few times during my years in Atlanta, though I cannot claim to have known him well. My connection – and Montreat’s in recent years – both trace through my cousin, Wade Burns, whose friendship with Lewis spanned more than four decades. On the conference center’s behalf, Wade encouraged Lewis to appear at our College Conference in 2009. In 2015, Wade asked him again to come to Montreat, this time to give a keynote address at “Dr. King’s Unfinished Agenda” (now remembered simply as the “MLK Conference”).

Renowned photographer Steve Schapiro was also present for the MLK conference. This past Sunday, Fox News interviewed Mr. Schapiro, who offered poignant reflections on Congressman Lewis’s life and legacy. Viewing that clip, Montreaters will recognize the setting of one of the photographs featured in the interview, a shot of Lewis casting flower petals on Lake Susan to commemorate the passing of his friend, Julian Bond. Mr. Schapiro later gifted to the conference center his photo of Lewis and others, including Dr. King, taken in 1965 on the march from Selma to Montgomery; it hangs in our office.

The “Unfinished Agenda” conference featured a lineup of nationally known leaders and preachers and columnists, but no presentation that weekend was more uplifting than Lewis’s message, summarized here in Presbyterian Outlook. He urged the assembled to stand up for the oppressed, for the hurting. At the same time, he said, “Be hopeful, be optimistic, never become bitter, never hate.” Our time on this planet is too short to be mean.

I never saw Lewis in person again after that evening, but I carry my own lasting memory. At the conclusion of his remarks, people surged into the aisles in front of the stage, respectfully determined to meet, to thank, or perhaps just to get a photo with the congressman. He wanted to descend the steps to join the throng, but for a moment there was no room. As he stood there, bending down and reaching out with a smile and greetings, all eyes looked up to this wise, humble, and courageous servant – just as it should be. 

Preaching in this Sunday’s worship service will be the Reverend Shavon Starling-Louis, pastor of Meadowlake Church in Huntersville, North Carolina. Like last week, the service will be posted on our website on Sunday morning by 10:30 a.m. and will be available from that time forward. Hope you can join us! 

This week will bring the final edition of several other summer offerings, including Sunday night’s hymn sing and our Arts, Music, and Theology summer series, which concludes on Tuesday evening with Mark Achtemeier speaking on the topic, “Imagining The Triune God.” And a last-minute reminder to join Beth Bannerman Gunn and Lee Ann Bannerman, who are leading novelty dances tonight at 7:30 p.m. Check for details on these and other activities below. 

More to come!

Richard DuBose

The Weekly Rundown | Sunday, August 2 – Saturday, August 8

Sunday, August 2

Monday, August 3

  • Yoga at 8:30 a.m. at Moore Center Field. Bring your own mat and towel. $12, cash only, and no pre-registration required. Rain space is Upper Anderson. Visit our Summer in Montreat page for more information.

Tuesday, August 4

Wednesday, August 5

Thursday, August 6

  • Grab and Go – Heat and Eat pick-up day at Assembly Inn
  • Public Hike- Pinnacle. The final hike of the summer! Visit our public hike schedule to learn more.

Friday, August 7

  • Last day of the pool. See pool hours and cost on our website.
  • Last day of the boats. See boat hours and cost on our website.

Additional Information