Festival of Wisdom and Grace

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Festival of Wisdom and Grace


August 13-16, 2018


Theme: The Wise Shall Shine

"Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever." - Daniel 12:3

About the Conference

Worship |  Workshops | Recreation | Entertainment | Learning

What is true wisdom? How do we receive it, cultivate it, and pass it on? You’ve led a full life. How do you continue to live into that fullness in retirement?  Join others in the second half of life for a time of inspiration and renewal in the North Carolina mountains.

New this year at the Festival of Wisdom and Grace

  • Learning Circles – Is there a subject or skill that you are passionate about that you would like to share with others? Whether you are a crafter, kayaker, photographer, dancer, birder, history buff, genealogist, or an “expert” in some other topic, we would like to offer you, as a conference attendee, an opportunity to share your wisdom with fellow participants. Participants will sign up for Learning Circles at check-in. Lake Junaluska will provide a room or outdoor space, tables and a projector (if necessary). Leaders will need to provide all other materials. Please return your application by July 13, 2018. We will notify selected leaders on or before July 16, 2018. CLICK HERE TO APPLY.


Mitzi Johnson, Director of Programming

Find Out More


  • Intergenerational Wisdom-Sharing Panel – Special guests of multiple ages will share generational wisdom on selected topics.
  • Fireside chat – Gather around an evening bonfire to hear and tell stories about the wisdom-keepers in your life.
  • Hymn Sing – “Wisdom for the Living of these Days: A Celebration in Song” Join in to sing your favorite hymns and talk about what makes them meaningful to you.

Conference Leadership

Heidi B Neumark at the Festival of Wisdom and Grace at Lake Junaluska

Rev. Heidi B. Neumark (Conference Preacher) 

Heidi is the pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Manhattan, a celebrated speaker and author of Breathing Space: A Spiritual Journey in the South Bronx, and Hidden Inheritance: Family Secrets, Memory, and Faith. Her work encourages readers and listeners to explore their own identity, vocation, and theology, and to ask new questions of their lives that can lead to transformation. She completed her undergraduate studies at Brown University and received her Master of Divinity from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. She is a regular contributor to The Christian Century and other journals.

Rev. Clayton Smith at Lake Junaluska's Festival of Wisdom and Grace

Rev. Dr. Clayton Smith: (Teaching Pastor) 

Clayton serves as the executive pastor of generosity at the Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas. He is the author of At the Crossroads: Leadership Lessons for the Second Half of Life. His passion is helping those in or near retirement to discover their purpose, passion and mission. He draws on more than forty years of experience as an ordained pastor to help others develop a personal mission statement, identify or reassess their priorities and share their end of life wishes with those they love in a way that brings peace to all involved.

Acts of Renewal (Entertainment)

Carol Anderson-Shores and Jim Shores offer outstanding Christian theatre that glorifies God and leads their audiences toward hope, goodness and a hunger for God in Christ. Their dramatic comedy draws on biblical foundations to explore growing older with humor, developing purpose as we age and navigating new milestones that emerge in retirement.

Acts of Renewal at the Festival of Wisdom and Grace at Lake Junaluska

Download Registration Form

Sponsored by the Lake Junaluska Programming Department

Note: The UMC Southeastern Jurisdiction Association for Older Adults (SEJAOA) will hold some meetings concurrent with this conference. These meetings are open to but not required of UMC attendees.

Top photo by Robert Ludlow