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Pastors, Professors and Pioneers to Speak at Lake Junaluska Summer Worship Series


All are invited to attend the Summer Worship Series at Lake Junaluska from June 9 to Aug. 4. The series includes spirited traditional worship services led by inspirational preachers on Sunday mornings.

Services take place on Sundays in Stuart Auditorium at 11 a.m., with a prelude by the Lake Junaluska Singers at 10:45 a.m., except for the June 9 kick-off event, which takes place in Memorial Chapel at 7 p.m. The kick-off and final services of the series will offer Holy Communion.

The theme for this year’s Summer Worship Series is “Psalms of Our Times.”

“Most scripture is God’s word to us, but the Psalms are our words to God," said the Rev. Mitzi Johnson, Lake Junaluska director of programming. "They’re powerful because they convey the entire scope of the human emotional experience. The series will embody the richness of Psalms through our speakers, music and liturgy."

Nine guest speakers will come to Lake Junaluska to preach this summer. The lineup of pastors, professors and pioneers include the following speakers:

  • Bishop Kenneth H. Carter Jr., resident bishop of the Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church. Carter, an authority on church formation and development, is the author of 10 books, most recently "Fresh Expressions: A New Kind of Methodist Church for People Not in Church" (with Audrey Warren) and "Embracing the Wideness: The Shared Convictions of The United Methodist Church."
  • Rev. Dr. Priscilla Pope-Levison, associate dean for external programs and professor of ministerial studies at Perkins School of Theology. Pope-Levison is known for her passion for women’s studies and for her work on the role of women in the pulpit. Her interdisciplinary publications combine theology, gender studies, church history, mission and evangelism.
  • Rev. Kevin Wright, a pioneer for the voice of young people. Wright is the chief program officer at Urban Arts Partnership, a dynamic nonprofit organization that uses art to improve academic outcomes, graduation rates, artistic growth and social-emotional learning for underserved students.

The 2019 Summer Worship Series begins with a special kick-off service held in Memorial Chapel on June 9 at 7 p.m. Starting this year, the kick-off service will feature a young preacher whose gifts of proclamation show great promise, said Johnson. The Rev. Josh Kurtz will lead this “Young Voices” service. He serves as the pastor of Jordan Memorial United Methodist Church in Ramseur, North Carolina.

Students from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., are writing select liturgies throughout the summer and also serving in worship leadership roles at two services. According to Johnson, who partnered with the seminarians, their inclusion provides an opportunity for a "fresh, energetic point of view that will help worshippers connect to God in new ways."

"This summer, our pastors, professors and pioneers will guide us through the Psalms in a way that reflects the tumultuous encounters most people have with God along our journeys of faith," said Johnson. "Together, we'll move from childlike trust to chaos and doubt, and back to solid ground."

As is tradition, music will be a mainstay of the worship series. The Lake Junaluska Singers will provide a rich offering of worship music at all services. The Aug. 4 service led by the Rev. Dr. Charley Reeb will draw on Appalachian culture for its music and liturgy, with the Lake Junaluska Singers paying homage to local culture and a service of Holy Communion incorporating colloquial forms of expression.

The Summer Worship Series also includes Taizé services of prayer and song on Monday evenings at 7 p.m. in Memorial Chapel from June 17 to Aug. 5 (excluding July 1). The service, modeled after the Taizé Community in France, has a casual atmosphere encouraging participants to slow down in the midst of their fast-paced lives. Simple meditative songs, scripture, candlelight and silence are characteristic of this service.



All services are held at 11 a.m. in Stuart Auditorium unless otherwise noted, with a prelude by the Lake Junaluska Singers beginning at 10:45 a.m.

June 9 – Rev. Josh Kurtz, special kick-off event at Memorial Chapel at 7 p.m.

June 16 – Bishop Kenneth H. Carter Jr.

June 23 – Bishop Paul Leeland, 10:30 a.m.

June 30 – Rev. Dr. Connie Shelton

July 7 – Rev. Dr. Priscilla Pope-Levison

July 14 – Rev. Kevin Wright

July 21 – Rev. Dr. Jerusha Neal

July 28 – Rev. Dr. Mark Ralls

Aug. 4 – Rev. Dr. Charley Reeb

To learn more about the Summer Worship Series and speakers, visit


Mary Bates
Lake Junaluska
PO Box 67, Lake Junaluska, NC 28745