Smoky Mountain Jubilee Set for April 2017

Church of God USA Missions has announced the dates, speakers, and entertainers for the 27th annual Church of God National Senior Adult Retreat, the Smoky Mountain Jubilee, which will convene in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, April 25-27, 2017.

For the twenty-fifth consecutive year, the Jubilee will be conducted in the beautiful Gatlinburg Convention Center at the corner of Gatlinburg Parkway and Historic Scenic Nature Trail, in beautiful downtown Gatlinburg, Tennessee, America’s favorite Smoky Mountain vacation destination.

The Tuesday night concert will feature one of America’s favorite Southern Gospel family groups, the Talley’s—Roger, Debra, and Lauren. They will be joined on stage by harmonica player Larry Delawder from Branson, Missouri, who will also entertain throughout the entire retreat in his comedic role as Mayberry’s most famous “one-bullet” deputy, Barney P. Fife.

On Wednesday, the Church of God National Senior Adult Talent Competition gets underway at 8:30 a.m. and continues all day Wednesday, concluding on Thursday morning. Last year’s record number of more that 160 entries provided some of the finest musicians, singers, choirs, and ensembles from across the nation, as well as the many remarkable creative art and creative writing entries. Each respective state or regional office must certify entrants into the National Senior Adult Talent competition, and information is available from the Special Projects Office of U.S.A. Missions in Cleveland, or from those offices.

Wednesday night is worship night, and will feature special music by Larry Delawder and gospel performer Willis Canada. The message for Wednesday night will be from the world-renowned artist and pastor Mitchell Tolle, lead pastor at Man ‘O War Church of God in Lexington, Kentucky.

Because last year’s record talent competition required additional time leading all the way up to the start of the Wednesday night service, the 2017 retreat will set aside time early on Thursday morning to complete the competition, if necessary. The Thursday morning session will also be the time for distribution of award plaques to the talent winners, as well as Superlative awards for Senior Adult Ministerial Couple of the Year, Senior Adult Lay Couple of the Year, Senior Adult Single of the Year, as well as awards for the oldest person present, the couple present who has been married the longest, and the couple present who has been married the shortest length of time. Soon after the first of the year, every state or regional office and every local pastor in the Church of God will have nomination forms sent to them to nominate persons for the superlative awards. There will be cash door prizes and award gifts drawn for and distributed throughout the Jubilee, and the GRAND PRIZE of $500 in cash will be awarded just before adjournment, which is planned for sometime between eleven o’clock and noon on Thursday.

The Grand Finale of this year’s retreat will be a special tribute to all of the men and women who have served in the Armed Forces of the United States, with a special presentation of the colors, and patriotic music provided by Larry Delawder.

Registration for the 2017 Smoky Mountain Jubilee will open on January 3, 2017, but information can be secured now by calling the Special Projects Office of U.S.A Missions at 423-478-7103. Registration information will be available by mid –November online at For the eleventh year in a row, there is no increase in the pre-registration price of $69 per person (or $75 after the March 31, 2017 pre-registration deadline or at the door). The retreat is not open to the public, and paid registration is required to attend. Designated ages are 50 and older, however, a spouse who is under 50 or a personal caregiver who is under 50 may register and attend. Because the focus is senior adults, there are no provisions for child or infant care.

The Smoky Mountain Jubilee was begun 27 years ago by then Evangelism and Home Missions Department leader Bill F. Sheeks who felt the need to minister to a sometimes forgotten demographic of the church. Recognizing the coming “Graying of America,” as Baby Boomers age, and the fact that there were youth camps and children’s conferences for children and youth, but no such national event for seniors, the first National Senior Adult Retreat was conducted in Florida in 1990, but moved to Gatlinburg two years later and renamed the Smoky Mountain Jubilee Senior Adult Retreat.

Jubilee hosts for the fifth consecutive year will be Dr. James E. Cossey, special projects coordinator for U.S.A. Missions, and his wife, Myrlene. The conference coordinator is Judy Pyeatt, executive secretary to the Special Projects Office, and the worship leader and talent emcee is Phillip Looney, pastor of intergenerational ministries at Westmore Church in Cleveland.

For more information call U.S.A. Missions Special Projects at 423-478-7103.

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