Festival of Wisdom and Grace

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Festival of Wisdom and Grace Workshops



1.Biblical Roots and Uses of Wisdom

Rev. George Fields, UMC, South Carolina

Using the conference theme verse (Daniel 12:3) as a starting point for discussion, we’ll delve into scriptural meanings of wisdom.  How are Old Testament concepts of wisdom broadened and applied in the New Testament? How are we, as disciples, meant to live into such ideals of character?


2. Blue Zones Revisited

Rev. Dr. George Shepherd, UMC, Oklahoma; Ph.D.,Gerontology

“Blue Zones,” coined by author Dan Buettner, refers to those communities where culture, faith, diet, and lifestyle have contributed to remarkable longevity. Together, we’ll examine the latest “Blue Zone” research and discuss ways to promote longevity.


3. Defining Your Purpose for the Second Half of Life 

Rev. Dr. Clayton Smith, UMC, Pastor of Generosity at the Church of the Resurrection, Kansas

God has created you and shaped you for a life of purpose and significance. This workshop will help you re-examine and refine your understanding of purposeful discipleship as you grow through the various stages of retirement.


4. Every Step a Prayer

Rev. Thomas R. HawkinsUMC, Author, Professor

Join the author of Every Step a Prayer and numerous other books to explore walking as a form of prayer and spiritual practice through Bible study, reflection and guided outdoor experiences in walking. Connect with Christian spirituality’s centuries-old understanding of walking as a means of bringing oneself into the presence of God.


5. Keeping Sharp: Cognitive Training for Senior Brain Health

Dr. Patrick Foo, Associate Professor of Psychology, UNC-Asheville

UNC-Asheville’s 2017 Teacher of the Year leads this talk on Senior Cognitive Health and how to keep your brain sharp so you can pass down wisdom to younger generations. 


6. Using Social Media for Good (Not Evil) 

Mary Bates, Lake Junaluska Marketing Manager

Learn how to use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to pass along wisdom, foster relationships and promote goodness in the world. Bringing your own smartphone or tablet to practice what you are learning is recommended but not required.


7. Wisdom to Share: Connecting Through Story 

Rev. Donna Gaither, UMC, Retired Discipleship Ministries Executive Director

This workshop will help us identify some of the important people, places, events and struggles that have helped shape us over the years. Using the inspiration of David Brooks’ The Road to Character, we will explore ways to tell our stories to other people and listen for their stories, as well. Topics will include what to tell, how to tell it, who might want to hear it and perhaps even when to keep it to ourselves!


8. The Wise Church: Communal Wisdom through Intergenerational Ministry

Rev. Sherrie SchorkUMC, Church Vitality Strategist, Western NCC
Rev. Mitzi Johnson, UMC, Lake Junaluska Director of Programming  

All generations working together are needed to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Come learn practical strategies you can take back to your congregation to receive, pass down and develop wisdom together. “For the body makes itself grow in that it builds itself up with love as each one does its part.”(Eph. 4:16).


Mitzi Johnson, Director of Programming