An announcement regarding
Music & Worship Arts Week 2020

The national Fellowship Board, in consultation with Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center, has made the very difficult decision that we will not hold Music & Worship Arts Week 2020 at Lake Junaluska this June. 

This decision comes after several weeks of consideration, the exploration of numerous options, and interviews with past attendees. We are extremely thankful for the understanding that the leadership of Lake Junaluska brought to this process and decision.

Why was this decision made?

After the cancellation of other summer events, the extension of the federal guidelines for distancing, and the extension of “stay at home” orders by states, it became clear that having the event could compromise the health of participants as well as the financial health and future viability of the event and The Fellowship itself.

  • The event includes members of vulnerable populations, and it is doubtful that by June, either those over 60 or the guardians of those under 18 will feel comfortable with large group gatherings, particularly if there are participants from various parts of the country.
  • With the decline of the stock market in March and a possible recession looming, any available funds should be applied to local ministry in your church and community where it can do the most immediate good.
  • With only 115 persons registered for the event as of March 30, it was uncertain if the budgeted number of attendees, 650, could be achieved. While problems with our new online registration system have prevented some groups from registering, interviews with past group leaders indicated that only half were comfortable or confident about bringing a group or themselves in June. 
  • With a 25% decrease in attendees, the event as planned would experience a $35,000 loss. Due to other financial considerations, this potential loss would have placed the future of the event and The Fellowship in serious jeopardy.
  • A smaller-scaled event was considered, and a draft budget prepared. This smaller event could only sustain one adult choir, one youth choir, one children’s choir, numerous concessions from Lake Junaluska regarding housing rates and other expenses, as well as additional reductions in programming. It was determined that such an event would not guarantee financial success and could negatively affect the appeal of future events.
  • Holding the event at a later date in 2020 was explored. Still, this concept did not yield security that attendance numbers could be maintained or that contracted leadership could attend. We are, however, hopeful that many of our 2020 leaders can join us in 2021.

What can I do to help?

There are several actions you can take to help at this time.

  • Pray for The Fellowship and Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center and the boards and staff that lead these important organizations. There is a symbiotic relationship between these entities; the secure future of one directly impacts the security of the other. 
  • Reach out to members of your group, especially youth, for whom Music & Worship Arts Week is a time of crucial spiritual nurture. Tend especially to the needs of those who depend on the inclusive, safe space created there as a lifeline. Continue to stand with them in addressing whatever needs arise related to the absence of this experience in 2020.
  • Donate to the Music & Worship Arts Week Advancement Fund and Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center. Your financial support during this time will make a difference in the future. 
  • Renew your membership today in The Fellowship. Early renewals will add one year from the current renewal date; if your renewal date is October 2020, it will be renewed to October 2021. This is an easy way to support The Fellowship in these uncertain days.
  • Consider a 2020 trip to Lake Junaluska. Call 800-222-4930 and plan a vacation trip to the beautiful North Carolina mountains for later in 2020. You can choose from the packages on this page or create your own trip. Lake Junaluska is open for families or group at any time, and a trip later in 2020 will be extra helpful.

What happens to my fees and deposits?

We have control over the following fees and deposits:

  1. Registration fees paid to The Fellowship
  2. Housing deposits for those with reservations in Lake Junaluska housing: The Terrace at Lake Junaluska, Lambuth Inn, Lakeside Lodge, Sunnyside and Mountainview Lodges, and Junaluska Apartments
  3. Deposits for cottages reserved through the Lake Junaluska Vacation Rentals office.

If you have made deposits for other housing not listed above (Airbnb, other vacation rental offices, etc.), you are encouraged to contact that entity to explore your options.

Please consider these options for proceeding:

  • Determine if you can donate all or some of the funds to The Fellowship or Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center. 
    • Your donation of any amount will help secure the future of Music & Worship Arts Week.
    • Consider a donation of 5-10% to cover the expenses that have already been incurred for staffing, credit card fees, and online reservation/registration processing. If you receive a credit card refund, a fee was paid for your original transaction, and an equal fee will be paid for the refund, doubling the cost of these transactions to The Fellowship and/or Lake Junaluska.
  • Roll your registration or reservation forward to the 2021 event or another vacation stay. 
    • The Fellowship will honor your 2020 registration pricing for the 2021 event.
    • Lake Junaluska will apply your reservation payments to the 2021 event or any vacation stay in 2020.
  • Request a refund following the instructions below. Refunds will be processed as soon as possible, but only as cash flow allows and based on the date of receipt
    • Please consider reducing your refund by 5-10% to cover the costs of making your original registration/reservation and processing your refund.
    • Event Registration: Complete the online MWAW 2020 Funds Distribution Form.
    • Lake Junaluska Housing: Call 800-222-4930 and request the refund of your deposit. 
    • Lake Junaluska Vacation Rentals: Call 800-222-4930 ext. 2 and request the refund of your deposit. 

Mark your calendar now for Music & Worship Arts Week next year, June 20-25, 2021. We will attempt to move much of the planning and structure of the 2020 event to 2021, as well as celebrate our 202ONE event as previously announced. It will be an important event in the life of The Fellowship and one of the largest Music & Worship Arts Weeks ever. We are resurrection people and know that when we gather in 2021, we will celebrate in ways that we can only now imagine, but that God most certainly already knows. Blessings on you and those in your care.

David Bone

David Bone
Executive Director,
The Fellowship

Leigh Anne Taylor

Leigh Anne Taylor
The Fellowship

Todd Wilson

Todd Wilson
Design Team Chair,
Music & Worship Arts Week 2020

The Fellowship exists to assist worship leaders in creating meaningful worship experiences that bring people into deeper relationships with God and each other.

Founded in 1955 as the National Fellowship of Methodist Musicians, The Fellowship has grown to include worship artists, clergy, and laity involved in all aspects of worship from a variety of denominations and experiences.

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