Author Carol Howard Merritt to speak at Lake Junaluska’s Summer Worship Series July 8


LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. — Award-winning author and renowned public speaker Carol Howard Merritt will preach at Lake Junaluska on Sunday, July 8. The service starts with a prelude at 10:45 a.m. in Stuart Auditorium. The service is part of the Summer Worship Series at Lake Junaluska, which brings in internationally known preachers each Sunday during the summer. 

Howard Merritt will draw on her personal experiences, as well as her professional experiences. Her latest book, Healing Spiritual Wounds: Reconnecting with God after Experiencing a Hurtful Church, contends that many people leave the church because they have lost trust in the institution, not in God. The book gives suggestions and provides a way to restore personal faith and connection to God for those who have been hurt by established institutions of faith. The book has themes around healing, spiritual rebirth and community, all of which fit into the theme of the Summer Worship Series at Lake Junaluska.

“This summer we're highlighting stories of Jesus' ministry along the lakeshore of Galilee,” said Mitzi Johnson, director of programming at Lake Junaluska. “In one of these, Jesus returns to his hometown to teach his friends and family, and they begin to judge him and tear him down. This is perfect scriptural territory for Carol Howard Merritt. Her latest book addresses just such a situation pulled from her own journey of spiritual despair and rebirth.”

Howard Merritt began her spiritual journey as a conservative Baptist and later attended a fundamentalist Bible college. She became a Presbyterian minister when she graduated from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Texas. Her work since then has largely been focused on growing churches that work closely with the poor and disenfranchised.

“Time and time again Carol has answered questions of despair, confusion and poverty with sympathy, tenderness and hope,” said Johnson.
Another specialty of Merritt’s is ministering to the new generation. Her work as an adjunct faculty member at Dubuque Theological Seminary and a senior consultant at the Center for Progressive Renewal keeps her tuned into the needs of youth. She is a founder and host of UNCO, an open-space “unconference” that attracts church leaders across denominations and generations. 

Howard Merritt’s other books, Tribal Church: Ministering to the Missing Generation and Reframing Hope: Vital Ministry in a New Generation, speak to her passion for ministering to the young. She also co-hosts God Complex Radio, a thought-provoking podcast, and is a regular contributor for Christian Century. 

To learn more about the Summer Worship Series and Carol Howard Merritt, please visit

Lake Junaluska is a place of Christian hospitality where lives are transformed through renewal of soul, mind and body. For more information about Lake Junaluska programs and events, visit

Resources for Vital Congregations



Lewis Center for Church Leadership

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Books

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Serve Your Neighbor

GBHEM Leadership Resources


Living Faithfully: Human Sexuality and the United Methodist Church

Englewood Book Review

Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations

Ted Talks: The Golden Circle

Ted Talks: The Power of Vulnerability

Ted Talks: The Price of Invulnerability

Design Thinking

Meditations on the Ministry of All Christians


Be A Disciple

A Disciple’s Path; A Guide for United Methodist

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Adult Christian Studies from the Wesley Ministry Network

Traveling Together: A Guide for Disciple Forming Congregations


Living As United Methodist Christians

Methodist Doctrine: The Essentials

Reclaiming our Wesleyan Tradition: John Wesley’s Sermons for Today

John Wesley Sermons: Anthology


Get Their Name

Evangelism & Theology in the Wesleyan Spirit

Canoeing the Mountains

Fresh Expressions

Fresh Expressions: Dinner Church

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Reach New Disciples

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: 50 Ways to Reach People

Community: The Structure of Belonging


Institute for Emerging Issues

Congregations 4 Children


The Royce and Jane Reynolds Ministry Fund Grants

The Duke Endowment


The Appalachian District Church Vitality Team has been prayerfully seeking ways to help support you and the ministries of your local congregation during this COVID-19 pandemic. Together they have diligently researched and connected with others throughout the conference and our denomination to identify resources and offer them to you. We hope they will be helpful to you and bless you greatly in leading your churches and communities through this unprecedented time. We are very grateful to the District Vitality Team and other contributors for their great work on this resource.
This faithful team has created three documents, two of which you are receiving today. They include:

  • Family Home Worship – designed to help families establish a regular worship space within their homes as well as a time where they can worship together.
  • Tech Strategies – to help guide you in selecting effective tools and resources within your budget to best communicate in the digital world.

We believe these resources will be of great benefit to you. Also know that the District Vitality Team is available to answer any questions you might have in regards to the documents attached. If you have questions, you may email Rev. Howard Fleming at


  • Resources
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