The 2018 Mountaineer Christian Ashram was held August 2-5 at Parchment Valley Conference Center in Ripley, WV. Our Ashram has a wonderful mix of cultures, church affiliation, race, and social economic backgrounds. We have urban and rural, African-American and Caucasian, professions and blue-collar, Baptist and Methodist – all equal at the feet of Jesus. There is such love, fellowship, and acceptance in our Ashram that we clearly recognize that this is the Kingdom in miniature.
This year, we had tremendous leadership. Bishop Richard Looney was our evangelist, while Dr. Victor Hamilton was our Bible teacher. Those sessions were the clear favorite of the entire Ashram, based on our surveys. I had one attendee remark how quickly this year’s Ashram went, and I believe it was due to the incredible quality of the teaching and preaching.
Another highlight of this year’s Ashram was the healing time. Bishop Looney led us in a different way than previous years, and the response was extremely positive. It was also a highlight according to our surveys.
A third blessing was the presence of Tom Albin and Sarah Silas. They joined in seamlessly and just felt part of the family. Their Witness Hour testimonies were quite informative; it helped us see beyond our own Ashram to the world-wide movement.
Our Ashram continued our tradition of traveling to a local nursing home and spending about an hour singing hymns and sharing the message of the Gospel. The children created pictures with inspirational notes and hand delivered them to residents. It seemed this year was the biggest crowd in recent memory, both residents and Ashram participants.
Speaking of music, our Ashram was once again blessed with leadership that helped everyone worship. We are very fortunate to have Don Stephens in our Ashram family, who is an extremely gifted musician. Our worship time and his piano compositions played from memory were absolutely inspiring.
Participants shared how the Ashram brought them closer to God while surrounded by the beauty of our retreat setting. The Prayer Groups brought people together in special ways, even when they may not have known each other. This led even more to the deep feeling of family with our Ashram; through our diversity, we are united to one another through Christ.