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The Rev. Billy Michael Honor is a public scholar and community organizer whose progressive and compelling insights have made him a sought-after speaker, social commentator and writer. Currently, he is the founding scholar of Truth on the Loose LLC., a thought leadership company working at the intersection of faith, human rights, intellectual health, politics and civic organizing. Previously, he was the Director of Faith and Civic Organizing for the New Georgia Project. In this position, he organized non-partisan voter mobilization and social justice campaigns that have been widely celebrated and brought thousands of souls to the polls. He also travels extensively speaking in colleges, congregations, conferences and civic gatherings. The Center for American Progress named Billy one of the 15 Faith Leaders to watch in 2020 and the Atlanta Magazine listed him as one of the 500 most powerful people in Atlanta for 2021. He also was the Racial Justice and Religion fellow with Aspen Institute’s Inclusive America Project. His writings and work have been featured and published by numerous media outlets including the Huffington Post, USA Today, The Nation, Mother Jones, NPR and Sojourners.
Abbye West Pates is a worship leader from Memphis, Tennessee. Originally from south Mississippi, she spent her summers at Lake Junaluska with her youth group. She’s excited to be here leading others in worship, with her husband, Jeff. Abbye and Jeff live in community, where they grow their own food, cook lots of meals, and find joy in opening their home for their friends and neighbors. Learn more at abbyewestpates.com.
Known as “the funniest man in youth ministry,” the Rev. Andy Lambert is a native of Pfafftown, NC. He received a B.A. in sociology from Appalachian State University and a Master of Divinity from Duke Divinity School. Lambert has proclaimed the Gospel at comedy clubs, churches and colleges, traveling throughout the United States, Mexico, Wales and England. Andy is currently enjoying retirement in Winston-Salem, NC.
Nairobi O. Smith has been a musician all her life. From a very early age, she was harmonizing with the church choir and organ at the church her father pastored. She has spent time performing with The Young Americans, traveling across the World teaching kids about character building and music. Nairobi’s passion for worship ministry grew over her 20 years at Casowasco Camp Conference and Retreat Center planning and leading worship and music programming. When she is not making music professionally, she is doing it for fun in bands and with friends. Nairobi has mastered guitar, drums and vocals and loves collaborating with other musicians. She lives with her wife, Liz, and their dog Charlie in Auburn, NY.
Peacemaker. Clergyman. Entrepreneur. Missional Artist. D’Andre R. Ash serves as a community builder and part-time pastor at two congregations in Western North Carolina.
The Rev. Melissa Cooper is an ordained Deacon in the United Methodist Church. Prior to serving at St. Luke’s, Melissa served as Program Coordinator for the Life Enrichment Center and Warren Willis Camp. Before receiving her MTS in 2009, Melissa earned a B.A. in English from Middle Tennessee State University. She is originally from Tennessee, but began her full-time ministry in the North Carolina Annual Conference at Camp Don Lee, where she served as the Faith Formation and Retreat Ministries Coordinator. From 2011 to 2017, Melissa built a ground-up program ministry at the Life Enrichment Center, at which she was the first program staff member. Building on her previous experience with intergenerational camps and retreats, she developed LECFamily, the intergenerational program ministry of the LEC. Melissa has spoken at various regional and national gatherings for the UMC, the UCC and the ELCA on the topic of intergenerational ministry and cross-generational communication. Since 2010, she has written youth and children’s curriculum for sparkhouse, an ecumenical publishing house. She also serves as an Associate with Vibrant Faith, an ecumenical organization providing coaching, training and consulting to churches seeking to go deeper with adaptive leadership and intergenerational ministry. In the Florida Conference, Melissa has served on the Board of Ordained Ministry, as a Multicultural Resource Facilitator for Cross-Cultural Communication, as a reserve delegate to the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference, and as co-chair of the Children’s Ministry Table. Melissa is married to Will, and they are the parents to the cutest poodle you’ll ever meet.
Wayne started in full-time music ministry in 1995. For the next 16 years, God allowed Wayne to travel and share His message at roughly 180-200 dates per year, all over the U.S. and abroad. He shares his heart through music and speaking, often with his band, often solo. Wayne has been featured at events like Resurrection with over 12,000 students, Student Life Camps, Youth15 National Event, and many more. Wayne will tell you that some of his favorite events were ones that had 12 kids in attendance. In 2012, Wayne took a 3/4-time position as Worship Pastor of Grace Fellowship UMC in Katy, Tx. For the last three years, he has led there as well as traveled 12 weekends per year, and do 5-6 weeks of summer camps. Wayne and his wife, Kelley, have two little girls and a Husky named Charlie.
Jimmy Atkins has a background in music and leading worship for over two decades. With his love of leading others in song, he strives to show people the Christ that gives him and others the freedom to live a God-centered life.
The Lake Junaluska landscaping team uses blooms from across the grounds when they create beautiful floral arrangements and bouquets for Lake Junaluska events.
Junaluska (Cherokee: Tsunu’lahun’ski) (c.1775 – October 20, 1868) was a Cherokee leader who resided in western North Carolina. Though few details are known about his early life, historians often refer to key moments of leadership in the early 1800s, including saving General Andrew Jackson’s life at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. Junaluska was known for his bravery and advocating for his beloved homeland. To learn more about Junaluska and the Cherokee people, visit cherokeehistorical.org.
The Rev. Dr. James A. Harnish (Jim) retired after 43 years of pastoral ministry in the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church. He was the founding pastor of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Orlando and served for 22 years as the Senior Pastor of Hyde Park United Methodist Church in Tampa.
Jim is the author of more than 20 books and Bible studies including “A Disciple’s Path” and “Extraordinary Ministry in Ordinary Time.” His most recent book is “Finding Your Bearings: How Words that Guided Jesus Through Crisis Can Guide Us.” He was a Consulting Editor for “The New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible” and a contributor to “The Wesley Study Bible.”
He served on the General Board of Discipleship and the General Commission on General Conference, and as a delegate to General and Jurisdictional Conferences and to World Methodist Conferences in England, Brazil, Kenya and South Africa. He is a facilitator for the Florida Conference Institute of Preaching and a member of the Board of Visitors at Duke Divinity School.
He and his wife, Martha, live in Longwood, Florida. They have two married daughters and five grandchildren in Florida and South Carolina. He blogs at www.jimharnish.org.
The Rev. Zack Christy pastors First United Methodist Church in Cherryville, N.C. He is married to Crystal, and they have two children.
The Reverend Dr. Sally Campbell-Evans was ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA) in 1988. She refers to herself as a “Meth-o-terian” because she has ‘dual-citizenship’ in the PC (USA) and the Florida Conference of the UMC, and has been dancing in both worlds for over 30 years.
During her ministry, she has served as a missionary, directed hurricane relief efforts after Hurricane Andrew, worked with the Young Adult Volunteer Program, and served local churches. For the past nine years, however, she has served as the Pastor for Congregational Care at Hyde Park United Methodist in Tampa and loves being there.
She is married to the Rev. Clarke Campbell-Evans, Director of Missional Engagement for the Florida Annual Conference. They have three children, one son-in-law and a grandbaby “on the way.”
1983 – BA, Presbyterian College, Clinton, SC
1988 – M.Div, Union Theological Seminary, Richmond, VA
2005 – D.Min, Florida Center for Theological Studies, Miami, FL
The Reverend Dr. Elaine’s vocational journey includes having served as Dean of the Divinity School at Duke University, and the McCreless Professor of Evangelism at Perkins School of Theology. She is a pioneer in new forms of theological education. In that capacity, Heath is co-founder and President of Neighborhood Seminary. The author of 12 books, Heath is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church and served in pastoral ministry prior to her academic ministry. She lives with her husband at Spring Forest, an intentional Christian Community and farm in rural North Carolina where she serves as Abbess.
An advocate for older adults, Missy Buchanan is an internationally-recognized author and speaker on issues of aging faithfully, drawing from her personal experience as a caregiver for her own aging parents. She has appeared twice on Good Morning America with co-anchor Robin Roberts who describes Missy as “the rare soul that understands, truly understands, older adults: their fears, struggles and hopes.”
With thousands of followers on Twitter and Facebook, Missy provides daily insight and encouragement for the journey of aging. Her first book, Living with Purpose in a Worn-Out Body, remains a top-seller in addition to nine other titles which are often found on beside tables in senior living communities and in church libraries. Her book Beach Calling: A Devotional Journal for the Middle Years and Beyond was launched in June 2019 and achieved #1 New Release Christian Devotional on Amazon. Missy’s newest book, Dry Bones to Living Hope, released in the fall of 2021 and was endorsed by the Rev. Adam Hamilton of UM Church of the Resurrection.
Missy has been a speaker at hundreds of churches, senior living communities and aging conferences including the National Boomer Ministry Conference, the Festival of Wisdom and Grace, and the Presbyterian Older Adult Ministries Network National Conference. She has delivered messages about caregiving and faithful aging to churches of many denominations, including the largest United Methodist Church in the United States– UM Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, KS. She has also been a featured speaker aboard cruises for Educational Opportunities Tours.
A resident of Rockwall, Texas, Missy enjoys regular visits to senior living communities in her area to see her older adult friends, being a greeter at her local church and basking in her favorite role of all: grandmother.
The Rev. David McEntire is a native of Atlanta, Ga. and has lived in Europe, the Far East and throughout the United States. David has pastored churches in the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church for more than 41 years having graduated from Florida State University and attended seminary at Duke University. He has been a delegate to both South East Jurisdictional and General Conferences. David has served on several Florida Conference Boards and agencies including the Board of Ordained Ministry, the Conference Council on Ministries, the Florida UM Children’s Home (chair), Florida Southern College Board of Trustees, The Florida Conference Board of Trustees (chair), and the Florida Conference Board of Camps and Retreat Ministries (chair). David is married to Nancy. They have three children; Katie, Andy and Molly, and 2 grandchildren, Crosley and Jude. David’s greatest joy is knowing that a person has come to know the love of Christ in a personal way.
Michael and Joy Mays, and their children Jacob, Natalie, Elena, and Caroline. Michael earned his master’s degree in vocal performance from Southwestern Seminary in 2004, and his bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 1995; Joy graduated from Tennessee Temple University in 1996 with a degree in piano performance. Like their parents, the Mays children have developed into talented singers and songwriters. Kingdom Come’s genre is eclectic in style, employing folk, adult contemporary, praise and worship, traditional hymns, and other styles in their own composed scores and lyrics. They currently reside in Chickamauga, Georgia, with their two younger children, Jonathan and Chloe.
Nathan Prisk, Bass Vocalist, has been a professional singer for over 20 years. He received a full performance scholarship for piano performance at Clayton State University. Nathan teaches voice and piano in the south metro Atlanta area and is the Fine Arts Director at Creekside Christian Academy, McDonough, Georgia. He wants to build singers and performers, worship leaders and worshipers. Nathan toured extensively for 15 years as a professional vocalist with many ensembles, including Poet Voices! He now travels as a soloist, vocal/choral clinician, pianist, vocal coach, piano teacher, and emcee. Nathan’s debut solo album was released on July 27, 2012.
Phil Cross began his songwriting journey in 1980 and is one of the most highly acclaimed songwriters in Gospel Music. His compositions are well known and well loved. Phil tours with Poet Voices and is also available for solo concerts, choir revivals, worship leading, and songwriting seminars. A few of Phil’s most known songs include Champion Of Love (Cathedral Quartet), When I Get Carried Away (Gold City), Saved To The Uttermost (The Speers), Miracle In Me (The Greenes), Yes I Am (The Hoppers), I Am Redeemed (Poet Voices), and Jesus Built A Bridge (Poet Voices).
Linda Clayman Lay grew up in Clayman Valley, a tiny community named after her family outside of Bristol, Tennessee. She grew up surrounded by music in a family that treasured tunes, from old-time and bluegrass to gospel and traditional country. Her father, mandolinist Jack Clayman, formed a family band with Linda and his family, taking them to the places where the local musicians gathered, jammed, and performed. Linda later founded and led Appalachian Trail, an innovative bluegrass band that performed for more than 20 years. In Appalachian Trail, Linda truly found her voice, becoming not just the band’s lead singer but one of the most beloved singers in bluegrass. During her years touring with Appalachian Trail, she met the gifted guitar player and singer—and her future husband—David Lay. David Lay grew up listening to his father sing and preach and was fortunate to be able to attend a lot of the all night singing conventions where he heard some of the greats in Southern Gospel. David played bass for a gospel group when he met Linda. He switched to guitar and after a brief courtship they married and he was performing in front of thousands of listeners. David is a very solid, versatile rhythm player and is able to adapt to the diverse styles of music with ease. David encouraged Linda to venture out to tour with other musicians, and today when she plays he is always beside her.
Jonathan D. Williams has previously served for three and half years as Organist/Accompanist at Ardmore Baptist Church – Winston-Salem, NC where he chaired Arts at Ardmore, a visual and performing arts series, and organized and performed in the biennial Keyboards at Christmas. Jonathan studied organ performance with Faythe Freese at the University of Alabama where he won the AFMC – Sarah Caldwell Lee Organ Competition at Samford University and the Clarence Dickinson Organ Festival Competition at William Carey University. Jonathan also works in the Forsyth County Tax Administration office and is married to Catherine (Cady) née King. They are blessed with a lovely and rambunctious 1.5-year-old son named Archibald James (Archie). FUN FACT: Archie’s namesake, Archibald Theodore King, was a Moravian Minister in the Virgin Islands during the early 20th century.
Justin Terry was born and raised in a musical family. He began his professional singing career in 2006 when he joined a touring gospel quartet, Cross4Crowns. He saw success with the quartet including several nationally charting radio singles, national award nominations, as well as being regarded as one of the top bass singers in gospel music. In 2012, Justin left Cross4Crowns to embark on a solo career. Even with a successful solo career in full swing, Justin made time to tour with some legendary artists, including The Blackwood Quartet, The Stamps Quartet, Aaron Tippin, and Gary Puckett and The Union Gap. Although performing in such venues as Silver Dollar City, Dollywood, and Anderson Music Hall, Justin still finds time to come back to his roots and lead worship at many churches across America. We are grateful to have Justin Terry worshipping with us on this, his first visit to The Lake Junaluska Assembly.
Christopher Plaas has entertained audiences throughout the United States and Europe. He earned his BM in Vocal Performance at East Tennessee State University and his MM in Vocal Performance at Appalachian State University. Christopher has been featured as a young artist with Indianapolis Opera, Opera on the James, and Teatro Nuovo and has had recent appearances with Knoxville Opera, Salt Marsh Opera, Barn Opera, and Asheville Lyric Opera. He is currently in his 4th year as an adjunct professor of voice at East Tennessee State University.
The Reverend Jennifer Forrester is associate pastor of First United Methodist Church Hickory.
The Reverend Paul Christy was born in Avery County and is the son of a United Methodist preacher. He grew up in a parsonage family and has one sister who is a United Methodist preacher and two brothers who likewise are United Methodist preachers. Paul holds degrees from Brevard College, Pfeiffer University and Duke University. Paul has been in the active United Methodist ministry since 1988 and has served appointments in Statesville, Providence and Cool Spring UMC, and North Morganton UMC in Morganton, NC, at First UMC Sylva, at Highlands UMC, and now is at First UMC in Hickory, and Reeps Grove and Macedonia.
He is married to Jamye Cartner Christy and they have two children: Zack is married to Crystal and they are the proud parents of Paul and Jamye’s grandchildren, Elijah and Ella Ann. Zack is a United Methodist Minister in Cherryville, N.C. at First United Methodist Church. Their other child. Caroline. was recently married and she and her husband reside outside Charlotte, N.C. Paul enjoys spending time with his family and fly fishing and playing golf. Paul is an avid runner who has run several half marathons. He will admit that he is not fast but enjoys running with others in the church. Paul has served the United Methodist Church in different capacities over the years, not only as a local church Pastor but in the Conference as well, as the Director of Lay Speaking Ministries for the Smoky Mountain District, on the District Board of Superintendents, and on the Conference Board for Equitable Salaries.
One of Paul’s greatest joys is being a part of Foreign missions. He has been to Bolivia, Haiti, Jamaica, and Bosnia on several occasions teaching and building either churches or barns in these countries.
The Reverend Dr. Audrey Warren is the Senior Pastor of First UMC of Miami Florida appointed in July of 2015. A native Floridian, Audrey did not venture far from her hometown of Naples. Audrey holds degrees from Florida Southern College (BA), Duke Divinity School (MDiv), and Wesley Theological Seminary (Doctorate of Ministry). Audrey has a passion for outreach and mission and has used these gifts to lead Fresh Expressions movements in Florida. She has most recently co-authored “Fresh Expressions: A New Kind of Methodist Church for People Not in Church” and “People over Property: Scripture, Stories, and Strategies to Help People of Faith reimagine Their Space,” both authored with Bishop Kenneth Carter. Audrey is a dynamic preacher, educator, courageous leader and motivator while bringing diverse people together to carry out the work of Christ in the community.
The Reverend Dr. Mark Teasdale is the E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. Teasdale joined the faculty at Garrett-Evangelical in 2008 and served as the director of the doctor of ministry program from 2009-2018. Within the faculty, he has chaired multiple committees and been a part of redesigning courses and degree programs. In the classroom, Teasdale has excelled in traditional lecture formats and in creating innovative online classroom engagement.
Teasdale also is president of the Academy for Evangelism in Theological Education, associate editor of Missiology: An International Review, and served for six years as the editor of Witness: The Journal of the Academy for Evangelism in Theological Education. He was also named one of the first Fellows of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism. Teasdale has published many articles and book chapters, and is the author of Methodist Evangelism, American Salvation: The Home Missions of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 1860-1920 (Pickwick, 2014), Evangelism for Non-Evangelists: Sharing the Gospel Authentically (InterVarsity Press, 2016), and Go! How to Become A Great Commission Church (Wesley’s Foundry Books, 2017). Among his research interests, Teasdale hopes to expand on his signature “evangelism equation” by publishing on the intersection of salvation and working for the public good.
Active in the church, Teasdale is an ordained elder in the Baltimore-Washington Conference of The United Methodist Church. He is a highly sought keynote speaker and has led numerous workshops on evangelism. Teasdale has also been a consultant with several local churches and denominational bodies, including the cabinet of the Methodist Church (Lower Myanmar) and the Connectional Table of the UMC. For the past several years, Teasdale has offered a popular online “Evangelism for Non-Evangelists” course through Garrett-Evangelical’s Connectional Learning program, offering both clergy and laity the opportunity grow in their understanding and practice of evangelism within their local context. He is also a faculty member for the United Methodist Course of Study programs at Garrett-Evangelical and Wesley Theological Seminary.
Edgardo Colón-Emeric is dean of Duke Divinity School, Irene and William McCutchen Associate Professor of Reconciliation and Theology, and director of the Center for Reconciliation.
Colón-Emeric’s work explores the intersection of Methodist and Catholic theologies, and Wesleyan and Latin American experiences. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Colón-Emeric was the first Latino to be ordained as an elder in the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church and was founding pastor of Cristo Vive UMC in Durham, N.C. He became founding director of the Hispanic House of Studies at Duke Divinity School in 2007 and joined the Divinity School faculty in 2008. Since 2010, he has served as the director of Central American Methodist Course of Study, which trains Methodist pastors who have not earned a formal Master of Divinity degree in such places as El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama. He is also director of the Duke-Peru Theological Initiative, a partnership between the Methodist Church of Peru and Duke Divinity School.
He became director of the Center for Reconciliation in 2018. He serves on the United Methodist Committee on Faith and Order and on both national and international Methodist-Catholic dialogues. In October 2017, he met with Pope Francis as part of a delegation from the Methodist-Catholic Dialogue and presented the pope with a Spanish translation he created of the dialogue’s bilateral statement.
Colón-Emeric is the author of Wesley, Aquinas, and Christian Perfection: An Ecumenical Dialogue (Baylor University Press, 2009) which received the 2008 “Aquinas Dissertation Prize Winner” from the Aquinas Center for Theological Renewal at Ave Maria University and Óscar Romero’s Theological Vision: Liberation and the Transfiguration of the Poor (Notre Dame University Press, 2018), which received first place in the 2019 Catholic Press Association award for books about newly canonized saints.
Reverend Moore is an ordained elder in the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church, a graduate of Greensboro College (BA Religion), Duke Divinity School (Master of Divinity), and Drew University (Doctor of Ministry Degree). Sam and his wife Marva have served numerous churches while Sam has also served on the Board of Ordained Ministry, Board of Trustees, Black Methodist for Church Renewal Committee of the WNCUMC, and has offered community service with the NAACP, and board memberships at Bennett College for Women, Pfeiffer University, and Greensboro College. Sam is from Reidsville and he and Marva share a blended family of five children, thirteen grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.
Matthew Sleeth, MD, a former emergency room physician and chief of the hospital medical staff, resigned from his position to teach, preach, and write about faith and health. Dr. Sleeth has spoken at more than 1,000 churches, campuses, and events, including serving as a monthly guest preacher at the Washington National Cathedral. Recognized by Newsweek as one of the nation’s most influential Christian leaders, Dr. Sleeth is the executive director of Blessed Earth and author of numerous articles and books, including Reforesting Faith and 24/6.
His most recent book, Hope Always: How to be a force for life in a culture of suicide, released in May 2021. Dr. Sleeth lives in Lexington, Kentucky, with Nancy, his wife of 40 years. Their grown children serve with their families in full-time ministry and as medical missionaries in Africa.
Dr. Sleeth will bring our Keynote Addresses and will speak on “10 Ways to Maintain Mental Health.”
Bishop Kenneth Carder was elected to the episcopacy in 1992 by the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference of the U.M. Church. At the time he was the pastor of the Church Street U.M.C. in Knoxville. He was assigned to the Nashville Episcopal Area, effective 1 September 1992. He was assigned to the Mississippi Area in 2000, where he served until retiring in 2004 and joining the faculty of Duke University Divinity School. Currently, Bishop Carder serves as the Ruth W. and A. Morris Williams, Jr. Distinguished Professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry Duke Divinity School, Durham, North Carolina. He is the author of five books and numerous articles.
Bishop Carder was with us in 2021 and is back in 2022 to be our Preacher for the Festival of Wisdom and Grace.
Rev. Dr. Hyung Jae Lee serves as the Smoky Mountain District Superintendent of the Western North Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church. Most recently, Jae has served as pastor of Calvary UMC in Charlotte since 2013. Previously, he was pastor of Wesley UMC and Thrift UMC, both in Charlotte, and associate pastor at First UMC in Brevard. Born and raised in South Korea, Jae completed his undergraduate and master’s degrees at Hanyang University in Seoul. Coming to the US in 1997, he earned a Master of Divinity and a Master of Theology from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University and a Doctor of Ministry at Duke Divinity School.
Jae is married to Kim, a registered pharmacist in North and South Carolinas, and they have three adult children. Jae loves Western North Carolina’s mountains and enjoys walking and hiking.
Amber (RYT – 500) is a Yoga & Mindfulness Mentor whose passion is helping women reconnect with themselves through movement, meditation, and the practice of setting sacred boundaries. She is driven by her own transformation that yoga and mindfulness helped unfold when she stepped onto her mat in 2013 after being diagnosed with an auto-immune disease.
When joining her for a Slow Flow or Restorative Yoga class, you’ll be invited to explore the infinite possibilities that good self-care can provide both on and off the mat. Amber is a 500 hour certified yoga instructor who brings her silly sense of humor, creative sequencing, and everyone-is-welcome attitude into her classes for a refreshing experience from head to toe.