Smoky Mountain Jubilee Set for April 24-26, 2018

The Special Projects Office in Church of God USA Missions has announced the dates, speakers, and performers for the 2018 National Senior Adult Retreat, the Smoky Mountain Jubilee. The 28th annual retreat will be conducted again at the Gatlinburg Convention Center in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. The dates are April 24-26, 2018.

Since its inception, the Smoky Mountain Jubilee has featured a Tuesday night concert, followed by a full day of talent competition on Wednesday, and a camp meeting style worship service on Wednesday night. An awards celebration recognizing senior adult superlatives and talent competition winners on Thursday morning concludes the retreat.

The Tuesday night feature this year will be a concert reunion of the Churchmen, a favorite Church of God trio from the 1970s along with an upcoming young Southern Gospel trio, Three Bridges.

“The uniqueness of the concert is in the fact that Harold Hudson, lead singer for the Churchmen is the father of Jeremie Hudson, the tenor for Three Bridges,” stated Dr. James E. Cossey, Special Projects Coordinator for USA Missions. “Father and son trios—one with a 1970s flavor, and another at 2018 flavor—will perform on stage back-to-back, and even together. Highlights of the night, no doubt, will be when the Churchmen perform their classic, Statue of Liberty, and Three Bridges shares their currently popular song, Not the Great I Was.”

On Wednesday, hundreds of senior adults from across America will compete in all categories of music, creative writing, and art. Conducted in a manner similar to the popular Teen Talent competition, those who compete in Gatlinburg will already have won in their category in their respective state or regional competition. Local church choirs and ensembles, state choirs, quartets, trios, and soloists will perform, along with all manners of musicians—brass, woodwind, keyboard, percussion, etc. Creative writing entries will include short stories, fiction, non-fiction, prose and poetry, etc. Various types of media will be presented in the creative art division.

Wednesday night’s worship service will feature the preaching ministry of Bishop Carl Hart, who, according to Cossey, is “at age 79, one of the Church of God’s most expressive senior adult communicators.” Hart recently came out of retirement to pastor a small congregation in Florida. Hart’s unique blend of compassion, passion for souls, and homespun humor will be a blessing to all who hear him. Before Hart takes the pulpit, delegates will experience the musical ministry of one of the Gaither Homecoming Series’ most endearing altos, Lynda Randle. Co-pastor with her husband of a local church in Kansas City, Cossey described Randle’s music as “a soulful blend of traditional, Southern Gospel, and Black Gospel music that is always a blessing!” Lynda will minister with several songs including her most popular, God on the Mountain, and I’m Free.

The culminating session of the Smoky Mountain Jubilee is the Thursday morning awards celebration and finale, where winners are announced in the talent competition, and where there is special recognition for the oldest man and woman, oldest couple, the couple married the longest time and the couple married the shortest time. Additionally, each state or regional leadership team is given an opportunity each year to recommend a candidate for senior adult ministerial couple of the year, senior adult lay couple of the year, and senior adult single of the year. The national winners in each of these categories are announced during the Thursday morning session. Also, thousands of dollars in donated cash door prizes are awarded throughout the Jubilee, with the Grand Prize drawing for $500 cash taking place at the end of the Thursday morning session.

Attendance at the Smoky Mountain Jubilee is for ages 50 and older (exceptions are made for persons under 50 who are married to one over 50, and for required caregivers for persons over 50). Services are not open to the public, and registration for the entire retreat is required. There are no accommodations for children or families, since this is an event specifically for senior adults.

Registration details are now available online at where delegates can register online and pay with a credit card, or download forms to be mailed with a check. Preregistration price is $69 per person until Friday, March 30, 2018. After that date or at the door, the price is $75 per person. Registration does not cover costs for food, transportation, or lodging. A list of Gatlinburg hotels is also available on the website (it is strongly recommended that all delegates stay in Gatlinburg, not in Pigeon Forge or Sevierville because of the retreat schedule and traffic issues).

For more information call Dr. Cossey’s office at 423-478-7103 or visit

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