Gadson among leaders for Hinton’s Rural Clergy Renewal Retreat

HAYESVILLE, N.C.—The last few years have been ones of stress, strain and struggle for pastors and others serving in vocational ministry. To support and encourage rural clergy, Hinton Rural Life Center is offering a second Rural Clergy Renewal Retreat in its setting on Lake Chatuge in the Appalachian Mountains.

The retreat is set for Monday to Wednesday, Sept. 11-13. 

Hinton is a retreat and mission outreach agency of the Southeastern Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church.

The South Carolina Conference’s Hartsville District Superintendent the Rev. Telley Gadson—a lifelong rural ministry enthusiast—is one of the resource leaders for the retreat. Others include singer/songwriter/guitarist and worship leader Tom Conlon from Virginia; rural ministry/Methodist studies scholar and Western North Carolina Conference local pastor Dr. Jonathan LeMaster-Smith; and the Rev. Laura Hamrick, clergy engagement coordinator for the Duke Clergy Health Initiative and WNC Conference elder.

Clergy serving rural churches and communities are invited to retreat, reflect and renew at this lightly scheduled gathering that offers opportunities for self-care, rich conversation with rural ministry resource leaders, soul-lifting scenic views, grace-filled worship and enjoyable time with colleagues who till similar soil.

The retreat begins Monday at 5 p.m. with a welcome gathering at Hinton’s Lakeside Pavilion. There will be tips for making the most of renewal time, followed by dinner and boat rides, with evening worship in the chapel.

Tuesday features free time and conversational times with the rural ministry and healthy living resource leaders, as well as options for Creative Dabbling (art fun) and therapeutic massage. There will be morning and evening worship times for centering and drawing closer to God, and meals prepared by Hinton’s head chef that retreat attendees will enjoy together. Although programming options are provided, this is a “do what you need to do for you” retreat, and participants are encouraged to do as much or as little as they want.

The retreat ends at noon on Wednesday.

Last year’s attendees met rural ministry colleagues from across the UMC connection. “I found myself longing for another full day,” said the Rev. Drew Nix. “I greatly appreciated the low-key schedule, as I was able to hike and read as I wished.”

The cost is $395 for individual clergy and $600 for clergy and spouse; this includes two nights lodging. Those who desire a longer renewal stay may add a night before and/or after at Hinton’s 10 percent clergy discount rate. (Contact Director of Operations Kelli Miller for rates and to reserve additional nights at 828-389-8336 or [email protected].)

Deadline to register is Sept. 1. For more details and for online and pdf registration forms, visit

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