The 2013 event, with the theme, “Unto the Least of These,” based on Matthew 25:37-40, will focus on reaching out to those in need at home and abroad.
Keynote speakers for the event will be Dr. Charles Kyker, lead pastor of Christ United Methodist Church, Hickory, N.C., and the Rev. Harry Howe of Project Crossroads, Southwest Virginia.
Kyker has led Christ United Methodist Church to grow from 140 in worship attendance to now averaging 2,500. He was ordained as a deacon in the United Methodist Church in the Western North Carolina Annual Conference in 1987 and later as an elder, in 1991.
He is married to the former Julie Melissa White of Cleveland, Tenn. They have been married 23 years and have four children.
Howe is a church and community worker who was assigned to Project Crossroads, a Holston Conference project, by the General Board and has served as director since 1997. Project Crossroads addresses the housing needs of the low income and elderly in Southwest Virginia. Howe is married to Denise, and they have two children.
Other speakers during the weekend will be the Rev. Ken Sauer, East Ridge Cares, Chattanooga; the Rev. Allen Karnes, Jubilee Project, Sneedville, Tenn.; Trish Patterson and Jason Onks, Buffalo Mountain Camp; the Rev. John Ferree, Cherokee UMC, Cherokee, N.C.; South Sudan Mission Team; Taavet Taimla of Estonia; LeRae Collins with the Holston Conference’s “Imagine No Malaria” campaign; Steve Semlar of Costa Rica; and Lynette Johnson with Society of St. Andrews.
Events for children and youth also have been scheduled.
The children will be involved with the missionaries and speakers, with some providing craft opportunities as well as hands-on experiences. On Friday, the children will meet with Semlar from Costa Rica. On Saturday morning, they will spend time with Collins and Taimla. At 10 a.m., the fifth- and sixth-graders will meet with Johnson for the Potato Drop. Saturday afternoon, the children will play games with David Muwaya from Uganda, and will spend Saturday evening with Buffalo Mountain Camp leaders. Sunday morning, the children will have a chance to ask questions of the South Sudan Mission Team.
The youth will complete the “Imagine No Malaria” campaign and participate in other scheduled activities.
The celebration will begin Friday, March 15. Dinner will be served at 5:30 p.m., in the fellowship hall, followed by open remarks by the Rev. Mickey Rainwater, senior pastor, at First Broad Street UMC, and Danny Howe, director of missions, introducing the speakers and programs.
The celebration continues Saturday, March 16, at 8:30 a.m., with workshops starting at 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m., and 11:15 a.m. Lunch will be served at 12:15 p.m., with Sounds of Joy choir singing and Taimla speaking.
Dinner will begin at 6 p.m., with Art & Soul Children singing and Kyker presenting the keynote address.
The celebration concludes on Sunday, March 17, with Kyker speaking during the 8:30 a.m. traditional service and Howe speaking during the 8:30 a.m. contemporary service.
Various speakers will address the Sunday school classes at 9:40 a.m.
Howe will speak during the traditional services at 9:40 a.m. and 10:45 a.m.
Kyker will speak during the 10:45 a.m. contemporary service.
Lunch will follow at noon.
Reservations are required for all meals. The lunches on Saturday and Sunday and the dinner on Saturday are each $6 for those 12 and older, and $3 for children 5 to 11. Children younger than 5 eat free. There is a maximum charge of $18 per family.
The deadline for reservations is Monday. To make reservations, call 224-1502.
A nursery will be provided for children 4 and younger. The deadline for nursery reservations is Monday. To make reservations, call 224-1515.