Lake Junaluska, N.C. – Lake Junaluska will hold a memorial service for Rev. Dr. Jimmy Carr on Thursday, March 30 at 3 p.m. in Stuart Auditorium.
Jimmy Carr served as the executive director of the Southeastern Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church and Lake Junaluska for 11 years, retiring in 2010. The memorial service is an opportunity to remember the impact he had at Lake Junaluska and in the wider Haywood County community, as well as a chance to celebrate the legacy of inclusion and love he left behind.
During his time at Lake Junaluska, Carr dealt with a number of organizational changes. When he took the position at Lake Junaluska, he was serving as the executive director of both the Southeastern Jurisdictional Administrative Council and Lake Junaluska. In 2008, the jurisdiction restructured and asked all of the entities under its umbrella to work on becoming self-sufficient by 2013, including Lake Junaluska.
In addition to beginning this pivotal change in the structure of Lake Junaluska as an organization, Carr also raised funds and implemented a number of facility improvements during his time as executive director. More than $11 million of improvements took place, including renovations to Shackford Hall, the apartments and the golf course club house, and the construction of the Bethea Welcome Center.
Jack Ewing, current executive director of Lake Junaluska, worked with Jimmy as a colleague for many years before taking over the position in 2011.
“I think most people who knew Jimmy would say that his greatest legacy was his commitment to inclusiveness; to helping the church become more reflective of the diversity that exists within,” Ewing said.
This was evident in many projects and initiatives Carr began at Lake Junaluska. He made a priority of seeking diversity in the hiring of new staff and welcomed everyone who came to the lake.
Ken Howle, director of advancement at Lake Junaluska, worked with Carr for seven years and said he remembers Carr’s commitment to hospitality.
“The Bethea Welcome Center is a cornerstone of Jimmy’s legacy because it was intentionally created to model inclusivity and to welcome all of God’s children to Lake Junaluska,” Howle said.
The Bethea Welcome Center was named for the first African American bishop elected in the Southeastern Jurisdiction and his wife, and it became an important symbol for the inclusion Carr worked to maintain.
The building serves as a point of entry for most lodging visitors. As they check in, they are surrounded by stunning art work commissioned by Carr. A large art installation made from fabrics that represent cultures around the world hangs above the front desk. This piece, entitled “Song of Justice” and created by Sylvia Everett, helps realize Carr’s wish for a space where anyone from anyplace can walk in and feel welcome. The commission for this piece was one of the most challenging and fulfilling Everett ever received, but she speaks highly of her experience working with Carr.
“Obviously he was a good leader,” Everett said. “But he was also just a very congenial, approachable, and warm person to work with.”
As Lake Junaluska prepares to honor Jimmy Carr, Ewing said Carr and his wife, Joy Carr, had a presence within the community at and around Lake Junaluska.
“Jimmy and Joy together had a tremendous influence on Lake Junaluska,” Ewing said. “They really impacted everybody at the lake – our guests who came, our residents, the leaders in Haywood County and the staff. Having the opportunity for us who knew and loved Jimmy to remember him in this way is going to be significant.”
The mutual respect that Carr cultivated with everyone he met was a product of his genuine nature, natural leadership and willingness to support and be available for others. As he prepared to retire in 2010, Carr spoke with The Mountaineer about his time at Lake Junaluska coming to a close.
“It has been a real joy being at Lake Junaluska. I will always cherish the support and friendship of my co-workers, the United Methodist Church, and the local community,” Carr said.
Bishop William McAlilly from the Tennessee and Memphis Conferences of the United Methodist Church will be the eulogist for the memorial service. Rev. Karen Greenwaldt, former General Secretary of the General Board of Discipleship, will speak as well. Rev. Sandy Giles, pastor of First United Methodist Church in Waynesville, and Rev. Hardy Tippett, a resident at Lake Junaluska and retired United Methodist clergy will also participate in the service. Directly following the memorial, there will be a reception held in the Harrell Center Auditorium. All are welcome to join this for this special service.
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 programs and events, visit www.lakejunaluska.com.