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Part II: “Today”

Even 100 years after its construction, Lee Hall continues to serve as the main focal point of the Assembly. The building, which still lacks central heating or air conditioning, remains open for lodging and meeting spaces only in the summer months. Currently Lee Hall, with a maximum capacity of 396 people, has 146 rooms: 57 rooms with two single beds and private bath, 17 rooms with four sets of bunk beds, and 72 dormitory-style rooms with two single beds and central bath on the hall.

In addition to rustic, seasonal lodging, Lee Hall also provides several office and meeting spaces. In the basement level are the “Paul Grist Room” and the “George Williams Room,” which can accommodate up to 125 people, while the first floor levels has the smaller “Founders Room” and “Clark Room.” However, the building’s largest and most popular gathering space is the expansive 4,400 square foot lobby, which is currently decorated with mission-style furniture from Tyson Furniture, a Black Mountain establishment since 1946. Several portraits of historical figures (including President Abraham Lincoln and Robert E. Lee, the buildings namesake) by the early 20th century artist Henry Kirke Bush-Brown hang on the lobby’s walls. Lastly, above the large stone fireplace is a painting of Jesus Christ, reminding visitors and staff of the Assembly’s strong Christian origin’s, commitment to religious values, and the overall beauty of God’s creation.

Today Lee Hall is the epicenter of the Assembly’s summer conferences. For eight weeks a year, Lee Hall accommodates large national youth conferences such as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and well known regional Y leadership conferences like the Blue Ridge Leaders School, Youth Conference on National Affairs, and the High School and Jr. High School Christian Values Conferences, all which the Assembly has been hosting for decades.

Blue Ridge Leaders School on the steps of Lee Hall, Summer 2010

Lastly, it is the famous green rocking chairs on the porch of Lee Hall that continue to be an icon of the Blue Ridge spirit and its peaceful mountain setting. Ask any summer guest his/her favorite spot at Blue Ridge, and the answer will surely include Lee Hall – either the majesty of the building itself or its inspiring view of the Blue Ridge mountains which continue to bring back memories, year after year.

Lee Hall rockers and the view of the Craggy Mountains

Coming soon…Lee Hall, Part III: “Tomorrow”

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Staff News

The 2009 holidays, already an exciting time of year, were particularly exciting for two Blue Ridge staff members:

Amanda Linsley, Guest Services Supervisor, became engaged just a few days before Christmas! Her boyfriend of 3 and a half years, Casey Duckworth, proposed at their family’s holiday gathering using Christmas lights spelling out the words “Marry Me”. Amanda is extremely excited about the engagement. Though they have not yet set a date for the wedding, she says, “We are looking forward to whatever God brings into our life.” Congratulations, Amanda!  We wish you and Casey a lifetime of love and  happiness together.

In other news, Chris Melton, an employee who has worked in Conferences Services since the spring of 2008,  recently left Blue Ridge and his parents home in Marion to begin his service in the U.S Navy.

We received a letter this week from him, postmarked on Christmas Day, from the Naval Training Center where he is stationed in Illinois. He writes:

Blue Ridge Family,

Hey, hope all of you there are doing great, and I hope all of you had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I’m not sure what the weather is like there, but it’s cold here, and it snows almost every day, which makes marching outside very unpleasant. I’m learning to adapt to military lifestyle, which is not easy in the slightest, but I’m doing pretty well.  It’s a lot to take in and a lot of information to learn, especially in the first weeks, but I’m doing a pretty good job of staying on top of things. Military life isn’t easy. I have no freedoms. The only communication I have is through letters, once a week on Sundays, that is the only  time we are allowed  to read them. There is no TV, or music, or computer – just physical training and studying. There are 88 guys in my division. I’m trying to get to know them but it’s hard because we are not allowed to talk, not even in the cafeteria. Meals are good though I can’t say  it beats Blue Ridge “Deli- Day”! Well I hope all of you are doing well and I hope to see you all again soon. I graduate February 12th.

-Chris

P.S. Please Write!

Chris has said that he plans to be a Criptologic Technician in the Computer Intelligence division of the Navy.  We wish him the best of luck at Basic Training and beyond!  He is in our thoughts and prayers, and we are so lucky and proud to have him serving our country. It was wonderful to hear from him and we have already sent a return letter of well-wishes from all of us at Blue Ridge. We look forward to seeing him upon his homecoming at the end of February.

For anyone wishing to send Chris a letter, his address is:

Sr Melton, Christopher
Ship 14, USS Arizona, Division 090
3410 Sailor Drive
Great Lakes, IL 60088

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