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Women's Retreat featuring Lauren Winner to be held at Lake Junaluska


 The Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center of Lake Junaluska, NC, will host a retreat for women on Thursday, September 17 through Saturday, September 19, 2015. Through worship, music, discussion, and free-time options such as massage, yoga, and spiritual counseling, conference participants will find a renewal and restoration of spirit. Dr. Lauren Winner, Professor at Duke Divinity School and renowned author of Girl Meets God and Still: Notes on a Mid-faith Crisis, will lead the retreat along with singer-song writer Martha Bassett.

“We live in a cultural moment where women tend to be caught in more specific stresses: care-giving and other responsibilities,” said Winner. While she sees women taking a few hours here or there for time alone or with friend, “many women find they cannot justify to themselves taking a day or more to literally get away to a beautiful place, a physical and spiritual place where something profound can happen.”

Winner is well-versed in profound moments of spiritual encounter. Raised in the Jewish faith, Winner experienced an intense dream as a young adult which led her to convert to Christianity. Since that time, her two faith traditions have informed her writing, teaching and, now as an Episcopal priest, her preaching. Those traditions, their similarities and conflicts, have recently turned Winner to the Bible with a renewed vigor and a hunger for authenticity.

“I am always looking for an authentic word,” Winner said, of both the sermons of others and her own speaking engagements.

Women’s Retreat worship leader Martha Bassett demands the same authenticity in her music as well as the secular songs she weaves into the Roots Revival service she leads every week at Centenary Methodist in Winston-Salem, NC. A well-known and accomplished singer-songwriter and recording artist in her own stead, Bassett nevertheless sees value in bringing familiar songs from popular culture—The Rolling Stones, Mumford and Sons, Leonard Cohen, U2, Bob Marley—into conversation with the scriptural basis for any worship service.

People often compartmentalize the sacred and the everyday, Bassett said, “when what we all need is to tear down that barrier, to see the spiritual in the things we already know and are a part of our lives.”

“Spiritual renewal is about encounters,” Dr. Winner affirmed, “and in this retreat, that’s what I’m trying to facilitate [for participants]: an encounter with self, and encounter with others, an encounter with God, and an encounter with scripture.”

Lake Junaluska is nestled in the Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina and is home to the World Headquarters of The United Methodist Church. Participants can stay at The Terrace, a centrally located and newly renovated hotel, and enjoy the numerous on site outdoor activities including swimming, canoeing, and golf. Registration fees for this non-denominational retreat include meals. Package rates including 1.0 CEU Credit and two nights lodging are $337 per person single occupancy, $273 per person double occupancy, and $140 commuter rate. Childcare is available. For more information and to register for the Women’s Retreat visit or contact the Lake Junaluska Registrar at 828.454.6682 or


Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center