Divine Rhythm inspires
comeback participants — and even a wedding

By Annette Spence

It may be hard to believe, but some people in Holston Conference still don't know about Divine Rhythm.

The retreat for young adults just celebrated its seventh year, with 774 participants from all over the conference. And still, the occasional Holston member will crawl out from under a rock and ask, "Divine Rhythm? What's that?"

Held Jan. 19-21 at Country Tonite Theatre in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., Divine Rhythm is modeled after Resurrection, Holston's winter retreat for youth. A key difference is that Divine Rhythm is designed by young adults for young adults, ages 18 to 30.

Young adults who have attended Divine Rhythm often return with friends who haven't.

Hannah Kesler, age 19, was invited to attend for the first time with friends at Keith Memorial United Methodist Church in Cleveland District. Kesler admitted that she stopped attending church once she began attending the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

"You get caught up in doing other things. This was a good way to get back into the habit," Kesler said.

Wesley Dulaney, age 22, previously attended Divine Rhythm with his church, Eden UMC in Johnson City District. Now that he's a pharmacy student at Campbell University in Raleigh, N.C., Dulaney returned to Pigeon Forge with 21-year-old Kristina Tucker.

"I'm a Baptist so the whole Methodist thing - I didn't know what to expect," she said. "But the speaker is from Raleigh, so that's pretty cool."

This year's speaker was the Rev. Lisa Yebuah, associate pastor at Millbrook UMC in Raleigh. She celebrated her 30th birthday over the weekend.

For the first time since 2002, Wayne Kerr was not the worship leader, but Vicky Beeching was. A native of Canterbury, England, Beeching is 25.

One couple was apparently so enamored with the Divine Rhythm experience, they decided to get married over the weekend. Rosa Borntrager, 27, and Billy Bragenzer, 39, tied the knot on Saturday before attending the evening session. The couple celebrated in Pigeon Forge with fellow parishioners from Parrott UMC, Wytheville District. The Rev. Mike Duncan, Parrott pastor, officiated.

"We were so happy for them," said Lisa Marie Assad, who helped make flowers out of tissues within moments of learning about the nuptials.

DR participants donated 193 jars of peanut butter, which will be donated to food banks in Virginia. They gave 43 units of blood, $1,767 for Divine Rhythm scholarships, and $1,861 to buy supplies for the United Methodist compound in Sudan.


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