If you have an elementary-aged child participating in the children’s program, a medical form is REQUIRED. Save yourself some time and download one now. (Form downloads as Microsoft Word file.) Bring it with you to registration or email it before you leave to MusicArtsWeek@UMFellowship.org.
For three generations my family has been coming to Music & Worship Arts Week at Lake Junaluska, and for three more I pray that future generations will continue to follow our tradition.
I started making my yearly trip when I was 6 years old with my mom and my brother. Over the next 11 years, I grew up with music as my guide through every choir from daycare to adult choir, finding a new sense of hope every time.
Watching the older people come down from the mountains to delight in our time of worship is a memory I’ll hold onto for the rest of my life.
Using photography as a way to bring a little bit of the experience back home with me every year … to a world that’s never seen something like this … brought me unspeakable joy. Closing my eyes and listening to all the voices from different states of people I’ll know for the rest of my life would make me want to sit down and sob.
I’m lucky to have met so many cultured and amazing people not just at Music & Worship Arts Week, but everywhere. The beauty of every different type of person in one place, the beauty of every voice, good or bad. My life has been absolutely crazy and every year the same people would be waiting for me there, like nothing had changed except for the way we appear in front of one another.
I got to work under Mark Miller in my second to last year that I attended and experience the magic he can create by throwing a bunch of misguided teenage voices together. Sometimes I still live vicariously through it by watching the recording of the final concert, which blows me away even more every time. Every piece we performed in that concert was published by Mark himself and each one was more exquisite than the next.
I miss my time at the lake; I miss seeing the people that loved to put their voices together just as much as I did; I miss running amongst dozens and dozens of roses at 6 a.m. before everyone got up; I miss staying in the historic Lambuth Inn and peering over the cliff by the cross and looking for hope in the distance.
Most of all, I miss being surrounded by so many people who barely knew me, who could only show love through the music in the air. I understand taking time off and relaxing, but this is something much different, something people are blessed to experience.
I believe that my life would be a catastrophic mess if I didn’t to learn to love what Music & Worship Arts Week at Lake Junaluska is. When my life in Virginia was hectic and rushed, I couldn’t wait to leave it all behind for a week and be somewhere where all I am is me. Not my mistakes, my pain, my grief, but a growing young adult who just liked to sing.
Deanna Heslep is an 11-year attendee of the magical Music & Worship Arts Week who loves to sing and loves becoming one with the music soaring through the air at Lake Junaluska. She currently resides in Richmond, VA, and is the hard-working mother of a sweet 11-month-old, Isabella Marie.
Our experiences at Music & Worship Arts Week can be transformative. For Ron Litten, a first-time attendee in 2017, it was an experience that not only changed him but his congregation as well.
Ron is the pastor of Fort Hill UMC in Lynchburg, VA. He came to Music & Worship Arts Week last year with Janet Hawkins, a Fellowship member and deacon, as well as seven other members of his church.
“I had never been and was wholly surprised and almost overwhelmed by what I experienced,” Ron said. “The worship services were exciting, engaging and spiritually transformative. But the workshops I attended gave emphasis to everything I was experiencing in worship.”
One of the best aspects of Music & Worship Arts Week is that even if you attend year after year, there’s still something unique to take home with you.
Take Ashley Danyew, for instance. She’s a church musician, music educator, writer, and creative entrepreneur in upstate New York who has attended Music & Worship Arts Week for nearly 10 years. She’s also been an accompanist for reading sessions and choral ensembles as well as a seminar leader.
But despite her familiarity with the event, every year she comes back with a new takeaway.
My name is Blaine Russell. I am the Director of Music at Fletcher United Methodist Church in Fletcher, NC, and I have been a member of The Fellowship for about three years.
I heard about Music & Worship Arts Week from some other music ministers that I knew, and so I decided to give it a shot and attended for the first time in 2015. I went by myself and had no idea who I would see and what I would be doing. I quickly crossed paths with friends and colleagues from various times in my life: musicians at churches I had attended as a child in Mississippi, people I had met in my college days at High Point University and Shenandoah Conservatory, and many others.
I understood at that point the greater community that is created by The Fellowship and why I felt that I needed to be a part of it.
NOTE: This article originally appeared in the March/April 2018 issue of WorshipArts magazine.
By Kathy Richie Toole, MWAW 2018 Design Team Chair
Each year, there is a migration into the heart of the mountains of North Carolina of church musicians, choir members, dancers, handbell ringers, visual artists, worship committee members, pastors and more. Cutting across generations, children, youth and adults all find a place to explore and grow at The Fellowship’s Music & Worship Arts Week, as they practice their particular passions in worship arts with others. New relationships with people and with nature are formed, others are renewed.
In this time, set aside, the Spirit moves – breaking through to our spirits in worship, rehearsal, and around the table, offering encouragement, new visions, and challenges.
This summer, we will set aside June 24-29 as our time together at Lake Junaluska as we Encounter Jesus through our worship, our rehearsing, and, of course, our fellowship together.