The Tie that Binds: A reflection on The Assembly Daily newsletter
Lake Junaluska is a special place to those who have experienced the serenity of a dew covered walk on her rose path, worshipped with a standing room only crowd in Stuart Auditorium or experienced transformation at the foot of the cross. Summertime, more than any other time of year, brought United Methodists together from across the Southeast and beyond to attend conferences and vacation, to relax and renew.
For me spending time at The Lake was like stepping back into Mayberry where strangers greeted each other with a smile and shared a glass of lemonade in rockers on the front porch. You can point to a lot of different reasons for this deeply rooted sense of community, but the Assembly Daily newsletter truly set the tone for the “Junaluska Experinece.”
The Assembly Daily has taken many forms over the years, but a favorite among residents and guests was the daily printed version that served as a roadmap for all things Junaluska. It included details about conference activities and recreational activities, but its value went beyond the calendar.
“The Assembly Daily served as an important update of daily events for the entire Lake,” said Kimberly Davis Paradise of Lake Worth, Florida. “I was on the summer staff and served as the editor of the Assembly Daily in 1980. We always listed the daily events and did a highlight of the major Conference groups at the Lake for that particular week. I think since there were no cell phones or computers like we have today, it was an important vehicle to keep the community and visitors informed about Lake events.”
When you had a copy of The Assembly Daily you were connected to everyone and everything at Lake Junaluska. Jennifer Cooke Dino of Atlanta commented that for years The Assembly Daily connected her to people and activities. “I enjoyed walking down Liberty Road each day to grab a copy from the box. I scoured it for fun things to do at the Children’s Building and eventually the Paul B. Kern Youth Center.”
This newsletter was so popular among residents and visitors that boys and girls delivered the paper to homes, as well as to all the hotels and buildings at the Lake.
“Lynn Fields Proctor and I delivered them when we were kids in the 70s. We’d pick them up at the Assembly Office every morning around 9 a.m.,” said David Clyburn III of Spartanburg, South Carolina. “My route was on the South side of the lake. This was prior to the footbridge, so I’d ride my bike across the dam and deliver to all the houses on that side of the lake. It took me over an hour every day. We’d collect tips on Friday and split them equally between the delivery kids. We’d make $5-10 a week!”
Lake Junaluska is a special place to many people for a variety of reasons, but to many the true beauty of Junaluska is her ability to make a community out of strangers, and The Assembly Daily was the tie that binds.
I was the editor of the Assembly Daily in 1980. We had young boys and girls who were summer residents deliver the paper to homes and to all the hotels and buildings at the Lake. They even got tips from the residents.
The Daily served as an important update of events for the entire Lake. I enjoyed every minute of my summer as editor of The Assembly Daily.