Bethea Welcome Center opens at Junaluska


(SEJ) LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. - After less than a year of construction, a building of hospitality and reconciliation is completed. The new Bethea Welcome Center was consecrated on July 9.

The 12,000 square foot center will house cottage rentals, events registration, marketing, conference coordinators and hotel management. A visitor’s center and a store featuring local art work and Lake Junaluska merchandise will be housed in the building.

SEJ’s Executive Director Jimmy L. Carr said the building has the right name and mission.

“Bishop Joseph and Mrs. Shirley Bethea were beloved leaders on The United Methodist Church. They loved and supported Lake Junaluska and its ministries. Both of them gave significant leadership to issues of justice and reconciliation. This building was built as a place of Christian hospitality and as a symbol of reconciliation. It is more than appropriate that the building be named in memory of the ministry of these two persons,” Carr said.

Over $1.6 million was raised for the Welcome Center through donations from over 1,000 individuals, regional businesses and United Methodist groups, including the 15 annual conferences within the Southeastern Jurisdiction.

“All annual conferences of the Southeastern Jurisdiction have participated on the funding of this building. We hope that every conference is well represented at this celebration as we consecrate this important building,” said Jim Hanna, director of Foundation and Development.