Thursday, March 27, 2014

On Sunday, March 9, Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries celebrated God’s work with a baptism in a water feature dug into the snow of Ober Gatlinburg’s ski slopes! 

The group that meets for worship on the slopes at 12:30 on Sundays includes Ober Gatlinburg visitors and members of the National Ski Patrol and employees of the Gatlinburg Snow Sports School.   Bill Black leads this worship group with help from members of Gatlinburg First Baptist Church and Pigeon Forge First Baptist Church.   Two instructors from the Gatlinburg Snow Sports School professed their faith in Christ and requested baptism ---in the snow at Ober Gatlinburg!

Ober Gatlinburg was hosting its Spring Fling on March 9.   Spring Fling activities include trying to ski or snowboard across a trench dug into the snow and filled with water and snow. Ober Gatlinburg’s owners gave permission for Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries to gather in worship before the mountain opened and celebrate the baptisms.   Thirty friends gathered to worship with Scripture readings, prayers, testimonies, and hymns.  The water was icy as Bill and his sisters in Christ waded in.  God’s joy and laughter joined everyone else’s as these baptisms were quickly done!

 Two other Ober Gatlinburg employees who participate in a second “Donut Devotional” group witnessed the baptism and also made professions of faith and have requested baptism.   Further, their witnesses into their families have led to two more decisions for Christ.  These baptisms are planned for slightly warmer weather and locations!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Story behind the Dollywood Piano

New Piano at the Dollywood Chapel

My church used to have a "Fifth Sunday Sing" on those odd months when you had five Sundays.  I always enjoyed those Sunday evenings even as kid.  I could choose any song I wanted and call it out.  The choir director would be forced to sing it, and the pianist would struggle through a rarely played hymn.

This past Sunday, we had our own "First Sunday Sing" as we celebrated through music the gift of a new piano.  Michael Stinnett of Antique Piano Shop in Friendsville, TN donated a completely restored 1901 Lester Piano for use in the Robert F. Thomas Chapel at Dollywood.

We had record breaking attendance with more than 300 guests participating in the worship service.  Our Dollywood Hosts were pulling benches out of the neighboring Wagon Shop so our guest could sit in the street and listen.

It was a wonderful service as we moved through Psalm 118 in songs of worship and praise!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Back at the Dollywood Chapel

The Festival of Nations kicks off another season at Dollywood, and so too, we begin another year of ministry among the Hosts and Guests.  In Chapel this first week we took a trip around the world-  opening with a children's choir from Uganda, I was wearing my short Kurta from India, and we closed the service with Scottish Bag Pipes.

We used our 5 senses to explore the Passion story: the SMELL of Mary's perfume as she anointed Jesus' feet, the TASTE of the Passover bread, the TOUCH of the nails, the SOUND of the 2 earthquakes (one at Jesus' death and the other when the stone was rolled away), and the SIGHT of the angel's glowing appearance!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Sunday, March 17 marked the end of the Ober Gatlinburg 50th Anniversary Ski Season!   The day was planned to be a fun one with many public race and jump competitions, Ski School versus Ski Patrol competitions, and a pond skimming competition.   A great time was had by all.

Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries was involved in assisting all the above actions to be fun and easy.
We also did our regular ministry by meeting all employees with a breakfast donut from The Donut Friar and a devotional sheet.  One lift attendant said, "This is the only way I get to go to church.  This is where I get to hold onto God."   At 12:30 we also had our regular worship service on the slopes.   Twelve of us gathered in an expression of Church to announce "Amen. Hallelujah" (Revelation 19:4) as a ending of the season.

The above pictures reveal the OTHER powerful event at Ober Gatlinburg yesterday.  Just after the slopes opened and before all the fun activities began, we celebrated two baptisms in the pond skimming pool!   30 people gathered to read Scripture, pray, hear the testimonies of these two ski /  snowboard instructors, and to witness their commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of their lives.   Bill was honored and excited to wade into the icy water with them as our friends stood on the snow and to baptize them.   Thanks be to God for a HOLY and REFRESHING ending to the ski season!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Ober Gatlinburg celebrates its 50th Anniversary this season!    And Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries has celebrated worship on Ober's slopes for 31 of those seasons!   Skiers and snowboarders gather each Sunday at the top of Castle Run at 12:30 for an outdoor, snow covered worship service.  The Church becomes beautiful in this setting as we read, sing, pray, and respond to God's inspiring presence.   It is a joy to worship at Ober Gatlinburg!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Advent: the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event

It is the season of Advent.  This is the first season of the Christian church year; the four weeks prior to and leading us into the Christmas celebration!  The air is fresh with new beginnings.  We eagerly anticipate celebrating the birth of Jesus with family and friends.  Our traditions are rich and significant- filled with foods... aromas... gifts... colors... music.

For many of us, we will travel to be with those we love to celebrate this season.  But there will be many others who will leave their family to travel around the world to find employment here in Smoky Mountain area.  Our staff and volunteers are eagerly awaiting the "advent" of students- to welcome them into our homes, to journey with them as they navigate life in the United States, and to share the hope and love that was sent by God at Christmastime.

From our home to yours, Merry Christmas!