For 21 years, Dr. Evelyn Laycock has been helping lead the Christian Ashram at Lake Junaluska. This year, Laycock will once again lead Bible studies at the 2012 Christian Ashram, “Faith As a Way of Life,” October 5–7.
“I ﬁrst entered the ashram movement when I was a young person still trying to ﬁ nd my way to a profession,” said Laycock. “I met with Dr. E. Stanley Jones at Lake Junaluska and spoke with him about how I could discern the will of God for me. Jones introduced me to the idea of ashram, which is Sanskrit for ‘time away.’”
Jones was a missionary in India for many years, Laycock explained. “The ashram is a spiritual life retreat for all. I became very interested in the ashram because it was balanced. It was not pushing a denomination. Instead, the emphasis is Christ.”
During Laycock’s time working on programming for the Southeastern Jurisdiction, she helped establish the Christian Ashram as an annual program at Lake Junaluska. Christian Ashram attendees have no trouble recalling the impact the retreat has had on their lives.“I attended my ﬁ rst Christian Ashram in 2006. I was very depressed after losing my husband of 49 years veryunexpectedly earlier that year,” explained Liz Ledbetter of Clarksville, TN. “My husband and I were regular attendees of retreats and conferences at Lake Junaluska over the years. It was a special place for us to go feel the presence of God and is still a special place for me.” The ashram, which Ledbetter knew little about, was a week before Associates’ weekend, which she planned to attend.
“I decided to stay a whole week and attend both events,” Ledbetter continued. “I did and will never be able to describe the feeling, both emotional and spiritual, that I felt that week. God was so near to me, comforting and loving, being with me through a tough grieving period. Ashram was a time to pray, listen, and share with others who were going through similar times in their lives.”
Rev. Bill Appleby, a retired minister from Mississippi, also recalls the power of Christian Ashram. “My spiritual life has been energized and enhanced by participating in the Junaluska ashrams! Through the Bible studies, preaching, singing, and small groups, my relationship to Jesus Christ was greatly enriched. The Holy Spirit moved in a mighty way through the fellowship with other participants and it has given me a ‘spiritual faith-lifting!’”
“I think the most important thing about Christian Ashram is that everyone is welcome,” concluded Laycock. “I’ve seen it make a difference in people, helping them make decisions for a more committed prayer life to put aside prejudice. I felt it was real and I’ve never been disappointed.”
For more information about the 2012 Christian Ashram with Rev. Jan Brittain, senior pastor of Williamson’s Chapel in Mooresville, NC, as well as Dr. Evelyn Laycock as the Bible teacher, visit www.lakejunaluska.com/christian-ashram.