Sunday worship services in Montreat are a highlight of the season, and Montreat Conference Center welcomes the Rev. Richard Ray as guest preacher on June 30 as part of its Summer Services for the Lord’s Day.

Ray is well known in the Montreat community, having retired here after a long career in church leadership as a pastor, most recently at First Presbyterian Church in Bristol, Tenn.; as a teacher at Stephens College and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary; and as managing director and senior editor of John Knox Press (now Westminster John Knox Press).

 He is general editor of Kerygma Bible Studies and currently involved with leadership and support of the Presbyterian Heritage Center and Montreat Presbyterian Church of the PC(USA).

“I have always felt a combination of academic and pastoral responsibilities,” Ray says.

One of his chief interests is the combination of Biblical, historical, and theological studies ― an interest which led him to try and weave together two texts from different Biblical settings in his sermon for June 30, titled “The Tearing Open of the Heavens.” From the Old Testament, he takes Isaiah’s promise of a coming Messiah (Isaiah 40:3-8) and from the New Testament, the opening passages of Mark’s Gospel which tell the story of Jesus’ baptism and temptation. 

Special music, led by conference musician Eric Wall and liturgy written and presented by Mel Bringle, professor of philosophy and religious studies and chair of the Humanities Division at Brevard College, Brevard, N.C., help expand the Isaiah and Mark passages and their relevance for today. The Rev. Ann Laird Jones and her summer liturgical artist, Johannah Garrity, present visual arts as part of the worship experience. 

Also, on the evening of June 30, at 7 pm, the community gathers for an old-fashioned hymn sing in the lobby of Assembly Inn. This continues a long-standing tradition at Montreat for families to harmonize to some of the old favorites, and to learn a few new ones as well. 

All Sunday worship services are held in Anderson Auditorium at 10:30 a.m., with child care available for children six months through completed kindergarten at the Updike Child Care Center on Texas Road. All are invited to attend. 

A buffet at Assembly Inn’s Galax Dining Room is served each Sunday from 11:45 AM to 1:30 p.m., with menu information in This Week in Montreat, the Conference Center’s summer publication.