ALCOA, Tenn. (March 21, 2018) -- There are a lot of reasons why people look forward to Jubilation, Holston Conference’s annual event for older adults. In addition to the workshops, speakers, meals and friendship time, Jim Dodson likes the simple pleasure of giving out door prizes.
“It doesn’t make a whole lot of difference what it is,” says Dodson, who solicits businesses and other groups for the door prizes each year. “It’s just that someone is getting something they had no idea they would be getting.”
This year, Jubilation promises to provide a few surprises (who will win the country ham? the Mayfield ice cream?) along with tried-and-true attractions that have made the event popular for 17 years.
Deb Miller, chair of the design team, says the theme is based on Hebrews 6:19: “We have this hope as an anchor for the Soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain.”
The theme and impetus behind Jubilation is a desire for older adults (age 50+) to keep moving and improving their relationships with God, according to Miller.
“We don’t want to be like our grandparents, who got older and just sat down,” says Miller, age 62, a member at Apison United Methodist Church. “We want to be active and keep serving our church.”
Miller and Dodson, a member at Keith Memorial United Methodist Church, are part of a dedicated dozen on the design team who read the previous year’s evaluations and then tweak the next Jubilation accordingly.
For example, this year organizers added a “fellowship dinner” on Monday night and more afternoon workshops in response to last year’s suggestions, Miller said. The seven workshop options include:
- Better balance
- Healing oils of the Bible
- Playing hand chimes
- Healthy living
- History of hymns
- Bible study
- Financial planning
FUN IN THE SMOKIES
Worship leader will be the Rev. Kim Goddard, superintendent of the New River District (formerly the Wytheville District) in the upper southwest Virginia part of Holston Conference. The Rev. Mike Sluder, Holston Conference connectional ministries director, will speak on Monday night. The Jonesborough Novelty Band will perform on Tuesday night.
The schedule begins on Monday afternoon with optional workshops and concludes on Wednesday morning with worship.
Other activities include Bingo and hiking.
In addition to the attractions offered in the schedule, participants frequently say they like the restaurants and shopping available in Pigeon Forge -- and of course, the fellowship time.
“We enjoy reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. It’s a part of our connectional system, after all,” said the Rev. Nancy Hobbs, age 73, a retired deacon in Duffield, Virginia. Hobbs said she and her husband, Larry, have attended Jubilation for about 14 years, including the years when Jubilation was hosted in Gatlinburg and Kingsport.
“There are always good speakers, interesting workshops and wonderful music. Since we have been meeting in Pigeon Forge, I know that in itself has been a feature for many folks who would not be in the Smokies otherwise.”
Dodson, age 84, said he attended Jubilation with his wife, Barbara, until she died in 2014. “I made up my mind that I wasn’t going to sit down and grieve, and Barbara would not want me to do that either.”
He realized that continuing to be involved in planning and attending Jubilation was a good thing.
“It’s something meaningful and worthwhile, and it’s not the same thing every time,” he said. “I have made new friends at Jubilation. I always look forward to it.”
If you have questions or need help with registration, contact Charlotte Riggins at (865) 690-4080 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Annette Spence at email@example.com.
For Jonesborough Novelty Band, music is about fun (H&T, 3/21/17)
Jubilation keeps blooming with big idea from pastor (The Call, 4/25/12)
Annette Spence is editor of The Call, the Holston Conference newspaper.