Even though guests regularly visited the Lake Junaluska Assembly for training schools and conferences, the Southern Assembly faced a financial crisis in the late 1920s. Accruing debt kept the Methodist Epsicopal Church, South from officially gaining ownership of the Assembly. As the Great Depression lingered on the horizon, the Assembly was forced to declare bankruptcy in 1932. Fortunately, financial woes did not force the burgeoning center of spiritual growth and renewal to close. Jerry Liner, who operated the Junaluska Supply Company near the dam, followed a year later by James Atkins Jr., Bishop Atkins’ son, were named as receivers. Their passion and influence helped hold the Assembly and its ministry together while raising the funds necessary to maintain it.
By 1936, the Bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South implemented a “Save Junaluska” campaign, which was designed to offset the Assembly’s financial debt. This successful campaign raised approximately $100,000. These funds enabled the Assembly to pay off its mortgage and set the stage for the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South to accept ownership of the Assembly in 1938.
After three Methodist denominations merged a year later, the Assembly became the property of the Methodist Church. The Methodist Church formally accepted the Assembly at its first General Conference in 1940, and ownership of the Assembly was transferred in 1948 to the Southeastern Jurisdiction of the church.
Now that the dream of those who inspired its creation had been fulfilled by the Church’s acceptance of ownership of Lake Junaluska, the area continued to grow and construction on several projects began, including Memorial Chapel, the Paul Kern Youth Center, the Jones Dining Hall, a new administration building, the Junaluska Amphitheater, and the Weldon Gym.