Festival of Wisdom and Grace

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Festival of Wisdom and Grace


Co-sponsored by The Upper Room

August 3-6, 2020

  1. Download Registration Form

Theme: Living Abundantly in the Second Half of Life

I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. – John 10:10

About the Conference

Worship |  Workshops | Recreation | Entertainment | Learning

How do we flourish as we age? How do we navigate transitions, live into our talents and passions, cultivate our relationship with Christ, engage topics that matter with courage and conviction, and care for our loved ones struggling with memory loss? In this conference, we’ll hear world-class speakers and leaders address these topics and more as we seek to live abundantly in the second half of life.


Tammy McDowell, Assistant Director of Programming

Festival of Wisdom & Grace Package


Package Includes:

  • 3 Nights Lodging
  • 3 Dinners
  • 2 Lunches
  • 3 Breakfasts
  • Program, including worship, workshops, and entertainment

Call to inquire about program-only options. 

Looking for a roommate for the festival?

Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center does not arrange roommates for guests; however, as a courtesy, the volunteer planning team has offered to help interested guests make contact with someone else of the same gender looking for a roommate. To inquire, contact Rev. Sue Eaton, at 502-315-9394 or sueeaton@bellsouth.net prior to making your reservations. Persons sharing a room must register at the same time.

Lodging Options:

The Terrace:

  • Early bird pricing (available through June 7, 2020): $389/person 
  • Regular pricing: $403/person

Rates are based on double occupancy. Taxes apply.

Lambuth Inn:

  • Early bird pricing (available through June 7, 2020): $360/person 
  • Regular pricing: $375/person

Rates are based on double occupancy. Taxes apply.

Conference Leadership

Rev. Dr. Fred Allen at the Festival of Wisdom and Grace at Lake Junaluska

Will Willimon - Conference Preacher

Will Willimon is Professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry and Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program at the Divinity School, Duke University. He is the author of more than 70 books. His latest, Aging: Growing Old in Church, will be released in 2020. Willimon served eight years as Bishop of the North Alabama Conference of The United Methodist Church and twenty years as the Dean of the Chapel and Professor of Christian Ministry at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina.

Dr. Richard H Gentzler, Jr. at Lake Junaluska's Festival of Wisdom and Grace

Dr. Amy Hanson - Keynote Speaker

Dr. Amy Hanson is the author of Baby Boomers and Beyond: Tapping the Ministry Talents and Passions of Adults over 50. She is passionate about helping older adults discover a life of Christ-centered meaning and purpose. She has led older adult ministries in the local church, worked with a Christian continuing care retirement community, taught college-level courses on aging, and served on the Speakers Bureau for the Alzheimer’s Association. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Bible and Family Ministry from Manhattan Christian College, a Master’s degree in Gerontology from Abilene Christian University, and a Ph.D. in Human Sciences from the University of Nebraska. Amy and her husband, Jon, live in Council Bluffs, Iowa, with their three children, Ella, Eli and Elise.

Bishop Ken Carder

Bishop Ken Carder - Workshop Leader: Ministry with the Forgotten

Bishop Kenneth Carder is a retired Bishop of the United Methodist Church. His most recent book is Ministry with the Forgotten: Dementia through a Spiritual Lens. He is also the Ruth W. and A. Morris Williams Distinguished Professor Emeritus of The Practice of Christian Ministry at Duke Divinity School and Senior Visiting Professor at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary where he teaches on pastoral care and dementia.

Note: Conference participants may either enroll in the 4-part workshop "Ministry with the Forgotten" taught by Bishop Ken Carder OR select four different workshops taught by other workshop leaders.

Festival of Wisdom and Grace Workshop

Conference participants may choose to enroll in the 4-part workshop "Ministry with the Forgotten;" taught by Bishop Ken Carder OR select four workshops from the list below:.

Abundant Living – Rev. Betsy Hall, Author, Pastor for Spiritual Formation and Practice, Providence Church, Nashville, Tennessee

Beads of Healing: Prayer, Trauma, and Spiritual Wholeness – ‚ÄčKristen Vincent, Author and Speaker

Courageous Conversations – Rev. Scott Hughes, Director of Adult Discipleship; Executive Director of Congregational Vitality and Intentional Discipleship, Discipleship Ministries

Faithful Improvisations: Creative Responses to the Challenges of Aging – Susan Carol Scott

Flourishing in Transitions – Hilda Davis, Author, Integrative Health Therapist, Coach and Counselor

We are the Church. Let’s Act Like It: Bible Study on Book of Acts – Linda Pevey, Author, Pastor, Bethesda UMC, Preston, Maryland

What We Need is Here: Practicing the Heart of Christian Spirituality – L. Roger Owens, Associate Professor of Christian Spirituality and Ministry, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Visit the workshops page for more detailed descriptions.

4-Part Workshop: Ministry with the Forgotten

Note: This option is open only to those who enroll in all four sessions.

In this 4-part workshop, Ken Carder draws on his own experience as a caregiver, hospice chaplain, and pastoral practitioner to portray the gifts as well as the challenges accompanying dementia diseases. He confronts the deep personal and theological questions created by loving people with dementia diseases, demonstrating how living with dementia can be a means of growing in faith, wholeness, and ministry for the entire community of faith. 

Detailed workshp descriptions coming soon.


Lake Junaluska Singers

Monday, August 3 | 8 p.m.

The Lake Junaluska Singers, our 16-voice, award-winning ensemble led by Director Mary Huff, provides a rousing concert of favorite Broadway tunes.

Coffee Branch Bluegrass Band: Music of the Mountains

Wednesday, August 5 | 8 p.m.

The Smoky Mountains are famous for bluegrass and old time Gospel music. Lake Junaluska local favorite, The Coffee Branch Bluegrass band, will have your toes tapping, your hands clapping, and your voices singing along.

Optional Activities

Afternoon Tea

Tuesday, August 4 | Lambuth Inn, 3 p.m.

Make friends and enjoy live music while you take in the historic beauty of the Lambuth Inn over tea, tea sandwiches, scones and sweets.  $15, pre-registration required.

Historical Boat Tour on the Cherokee IV

Tuesday, August 4 | 2-3 or 3-4 p.m.

Take a pontoon boat ride on the Cherokee IV and learn about the history of Lake Junaluska. Departs from the Harrell Center dock. $5. Sign up upon check-in.

Service Project

Wednesday, August 5 | Harrell Center, 3:15-4:15 p.m.

Join us as we put together kits to help our neighbors in need.  Fee helps to cover cost of materials. $10, pre-registration required.

Learning Circles

Wednesday, August 5 | Harrell Center, 3:15-4:15 p.m.

Learning Circles are free small group “clinics” on a wide variety of topics led by qualified Festival participants on subjects about which they are passionate. Topics are announced at check-in. Participants may sign up upon arrival. 

Boat tour, chorus, service, Afternoon tea at Festival of Wisdom and Grace
The Festival of Wisdom and Grace at Lake Junaluska is co-sponsored by The Upper Room



The Festival of Wisdom and Grace is co-sponsored by the Lake Junaluska Programming Department and The Upper Room.

Top photo by Robert Ludlow