In the heart of the Appalachian Mountains, where the waters of Lake Junaluska reflect the beauty of the land, I recently hosted a group ona Yoga & Silence retreat. As we began, we chose to honor the spirit of this special place, a sacred ground named after Chief Junaluska, a revered figure of the Cherokee tribe.
As we gathered on this hallowed ground, we acknowledged the deep history and significance of Lake Junaluska. Since the first Methodist assembly gathered there in 1913, this place has been a sanctuary for rejuvenating mind, soul, and body for many. It is a privilege to hold space for others in this way and to continue tradition for soul restoration at Lake Junaluska.
Her is Our Blessing:
We honor the ancient wisdom of the Cherokee people, the original inhabitants of this land. Chief Junaluska, a Cherokee leader who played a pivotal and vital role in history, lends his name to this lake. We acknowledge the deep reverence the Cherokee people had for the land, we thank them, and we seek their blessings for our time here.
Lake Junaluska's roots in the Methodist tradition run deep. The first assembly in 1913 was a gathering of Methodist leaders and faithful followers seeking spiritual renewal. This connection remains strong, and we honor the Methodist heritage among our ecumanical group and give thanks for for all who have and will come here, United Methodist and beyond. May the spirit of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, continue to inspire all who come here to seek a deeper connection with their faith and a commitment to making the world a better place.
We acknowledge the importance of family and tradition as generations of families have made Lake Junaluska their place of retreat. May the bonds of faith and fellowship grow stronger with each passing year, and may this place continue to be a source of spiritual growth and inspiration.
In this sacred moment, we offer our gratitude to the land, the water, and the spirits of both the Cherokee people and the Methodist tradition. May their combined blessings infuse our hearts and minds, guiding us on our journey of inner and outer exploration, no matter our roots.
May the energy and serenity of Lake Junaluska, steeped in the history of the Cherokee people, be a beacon of light and hope for all who come here, ourselves included. Let this land continue to be a source of inspiration, healing, and transformation for our time and for generations to come.
Blessed be the Cherokee people and the land of Lake Junaluska, a place where history, spirituality, and tradition converge, and may it forever be a sanctuary of peace, worship, and renewal for our body, minds, and spirits, with all thanks to our Creator.
Whitney R. Simpson
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Whitney R. Simpson
Exploring Peace Ministries, LLC