The Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center of Lake Junaluska, NC, will host the INCARNATE conference on the weekend of August 21-23, 2015. Through plenary sessions, experiential worship and hands-on workshops, conference participants will reach a better understanding of what it means to manifest the living Jesus in a world of need and opportunities for service. Speakers include Shane Claiborne, Rudy Rasmus, Brian Combs, and Lanecia Rouse Tinsley, with worship leader Fran McKendree.
INCARNATE offers talks and workshops from faith leaders who are embodying the Christian ministry. After working with Mother Teresa in Calcutta, keynote speaker Shane Claiborne returned to the states and soon founded The Simple Way, a Christian community in inner-city Philadelphia that practices the disciple of living small and serving large.
Through his books including The Irresistible Revolution and Jesus, Bombs and Ice Cream, Claiborne has emerged as what Publishers Weekly calls “an affable, intelligent, humorous prophet of his generation.”
Claiborne sees a poignancy to speaking at the conference this summer in light of current events. “Inclusion, immigration, mass incarceration. How do we land our faith on the ground in the midst of these?”
Rudy Rasmus, second keynote, pastors St. John’s United Methodist Church in downtown Houston, whose membership numbers above 9,000; thirty percent of those members were formerly homeless. Rasmus’ non-profit, Bread for Life, distributes 18 tons of fresh food weekly to local hungry families and the 50 residences of shelters on St. John’s campus. “We don’t go somewhere else to serve,” Rasmus explained. “We are called to be in community with those we serve. We are family.” Bread for Life is partly funded through the Skip-A-Meal initiative, for which church member and internationally acclaimed singer Beyonce Knowles is a spokesperson. Rasmus is the recipient of numerous humanitarian awards, including the Jefferson Award for Public Service.
Interactive workshops will be led by South Carolina native Lanecia Rouse Tinsley, whose art and activism are an intrinsic part of her faith walk. “We are children of a creative God, so we create. It’s in our DNA,” said Tinsley. “I try to help people see that they are creating . . . their spaces, their relationships, and their faith every day.”
Also leading workshops is Brian Combs, founder of The Haywood Street Congregation in Asheville, NC, which ministers to everyone “from junkies and prostitutes to the privileged,” explained Combs. “We cannot incarnate Jesus—we can’t be the hands and feet of Jesus, or even spend time with Jesus—unless we do all the things Jesus did: rubbing elbows with the world, with all of its love and brokenness.” To this end, the Downtown Welcome Table brings hundreds of widely divergent diners together to share a homestyle meal each Wednesday.
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 conference are $115 per person, including 1.0 CEU credit. Lodging and meals are $153 per person, double occupancy or $263 per person, single occupancy. For more information and to register for INCARNATE visit www.lakejunaluska.com/signature-series or contact Lake Junaluska Registrar at 828.454.6682 or firstname.lastname@example.org.