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Charitable gift makes Harrell Center renovation possible


LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. — From craft fairs to corporate event workshops to worship services, the Harrell Center Auditorium at Lake Junaluska provides a space where people can connect, learn and grow.

Summit Church from upstate South Carolina was the first of more than 60 groups scheduled in 2017 to host their event in the newly renovated auditorium. The retreat focused on bringing lifegroup leaders from across their seven campuses together in one place.

Lifegroups are what Summit Church calls small groups, and they are a core value of the church’s ministry.

“One of the major benefits of being together at the lake was that we were able to interact with leaders from other campuses,” said Jim Geyer, Summit Church’s event coordinator. “Being at Lake Junaluska allowed us to have a unified time together, helped us celebrate what was going on within the church and our lifegroups, and gave us an opportunity for respite – an opportunity to get away. Lake Junaluska is a beautiful place to rest.”

Lake Junaluska renovated the Harrell Center Auditorium and lobby this winter, updating the carpet and paint as well as installing a new HVAC system. The first floor of Harrell Center also received a new water bottle filling fountain and portable stage units for use in the auditorium.

“We have come to Lake Junaluska for the past five years and used several of the facilities,” Geyer said. “We were pleased with the renovations of the Harrell Center Auditorium. Not only was it convenient for our purposes, but the view out of the auditorium was phenomenal.”

The renovations were made possible after Lake Junaluska received a charitable gift from the Elizabeth Hope Reed Estate. Mrs. Reed was a member of First united Methodist Church of Sylva, N.C., for many years and felt a strong connection to Lake Junaluska. She spent her life in service to others, teaching home economics and volunteering for the Red Cross and the American Cancer Society.

“Mrs. Reed’s gift to Lake Junaluska will impact the experience of thousands of people,” Jack Ewing, Lake Junaluska executive director, said. “On average more than 21,000 people gather annually in Harrell Center Auditorium for events, time of fellowship and worship. Because of Mrs. Reed’s gift, the space will be more functional as well as inviting for groups.”

The renovations this winter are the first phase of future renovations to the interior of the Harrell Center.

“We are thankful to Mrs. Reed and all those who support Lake Junaluska. We will continue to move forward with additional projects as soon as funds are available,” Ewing said.

For more information on charitable giving, visit or contact the Office of Development at

Lake Junaluska is a place of Christian hospitality where lives are transformed through renewal of soul, mind and body. For more information about Lake Junaluska, visit


Stephanie Drum
Lake Junaluska