Kanuga is an Episcopalian Conference center in Hendersonville, NC. It is a very special place to me for many reasons. My family started going to Parish Weekends there when I was three. I have a long history of experiencing Kanuga, but the true meaning started in third grade.
That was when I first knew there was something special about Kanuga. For about eight or nine years, Fran McKendree led the music. Through the singing at Kanuaga, I developed love for Christian music. Whenever I attended Kanuga, I also look forward to the singing. The songs that I remember the most are “Lord I Lift Your Name On High”, “Sanctuary”, “Servant Song”, and “Lean on Me”. In addition, I loved going on the various hikes and I always look forward to the view the most. When I was old enough, I started leading the hikes and also decided on which trail the group was going to do. I discovered through Kanuga that God does exist because I always had the strongest connection to him whenever my family went. Eventually there seemed to be a disconnect from God because the singing no longer was present, but at least the hiking still was.
During one Thanksgiving, my family went to Kanuga for Thanksgiving. That was a very different experience for me. That was when I made a hiking stick, which added more meaning to the hikes. During that experience, I got interested in signing up for Winterlight, a high school youth conference. My family has always listened to the Winterlight 24 CD and originally I did not know you could sign up individually.
It was through Winterlight where my spirituality truly grew. I went to Winterlight twice in 11th and 12th grade. Singing the songs was very different. It was a wonderful blend of youthful voices and our energy was very impressive. During high energy songs, everyone would clap along to the music and during slower songs, our arms would be wrapped around each other. On the last day, there was always a service project and a special banquet. After the banquet, we would go to Eucharist and later would attend a New Years’ Dance. We would be singing along to the songs. Winterlight was extra special for me because of the memories I made and it is fun spending a week around other high school kids. It is a nice way to spend the end of Christmas Break before going back to school. Everyone gets a nice break from the chaos of high school. I developed a bigger love of Christian music when I attended. I discovered new Christian songs and my favorite Winterlight songs was “Prince of Peace”.
If it wasn’t for Kanuga, I may not have learned that there is a God. It is a very special place because it is in the mountains. It has an incredible lake with a trail around it. It has a feeling of calm and it is especially incredible to stay in cottages. It was Kanuga where my spiritual journey truly began.