Our caravan of vehicles got underway shortly after 7 am this morning after Pastor Brad led us in a prayer…
Well, not a caravan exactly… we were all following the same directions, at least theoretically [looking at you, Princess Tracy Lost… :-)], but we didn’t want to try to keep so many vehicles together. We headed south through the (rainy) mountains of West Virginia (our car stopped for lunch at an Arby’s near Princeton WV), then through western Virginia for a bit, on into Tennessee. We stayed on the interstates the whole way except, of course, for that Route 19 speed-trap cut-off through Summersville WV, and then a construction detour near Philadelphia and Cleveland TN. I was riding with John and Andie, and I really enjoyed getting to know them along the way, as I’d only been introduced to them briefly during our organizational meetings.
We arrived at our home-away-from-home around 6:00 pm…. Christ United Methodist Church in suburban Chattanooga. This is a HUGE church, with 4000-8000 members (we heard varying reports), and 4 Sunday services drawing about 1,500 each week. They had just put on a beautiful new addition – the first service in the new space had been only that morning!
It turned out that we were to stay in the Sunday School building… they gave us one large classroom in the Adult wing that we could leave all our stuff in all week, but we were permitted to spread out into the other classrooms as long as we cleared our belongings back into A-12 each morning (they apparently have activities and meetings going on fairly constantly all week). Those of us who had arrived helped unload our gear, including the kitchen items, and worked on figuring out how to arrange ourselves. I felt like we almost needed a GPS just to find our way around this church!
Dinner this night wasn’t really a planned event, so groups of us kind of did our own thing… I went with John, Andie, and Diane to Lupi’s a couple miles down the road – a really funky little artisanal pizza place. And then we went to Bruster’s right next door for a dessert of ice cream; I tried a “small” cone of Key Lime Pie ice cream… SO tasty, with the little bits of graham cracker “crust”!
After we all got back from dinner, we gathered for evening devotions, which included a prayer call from Tonya’s son Derek, who’s currently in Costa Rica for a year. Lights were out around 11, though the giggling in the women’s dorm room went on a while longer… 🙂