Recap of Respite 2023

Written by Amy Shores

On the weekend of January 13-15, young adults from around the state gathered for the inaugural “Respite” weekend. Held at Mount Eagle Conference Center and sponsored by the Mount Eagle Program Committee, with support from the ARUMC Culture of Calling office, the vision for this weekend was to be a time for college students and other young adults to gather before the new semester/work-year was totally underway. The hope is that this time and space would provide participants a chance to rest and recharge with their peers, allowing one more time of rest before what is often a hectic Spring for many young adults. 

The programming for the weekend was intentionally sparse, focusing on long stretches of time for reading by the fire, playing board games, hiking together around the beautiful grounds, or just enjoying good times of conversation. Worship was led by University of Central Arkansas student Keely Bounds, along with Rev. Samantha Meadors of Project Transformation on Friday night, Jules Anderson with Ozark Mission Project on Saturday night, and then the weekend concluded with a communion service led by Rev. Dennis Elzey with the Arkansas State University Wesley Foundation. 

Students joined from the University of Central Arkansas, Hendrix College, Arkansas State University, Henderson State University, the University of Arkansas, and Ouachita Baptist University. There were also a number of young professionals who participated, along with Wesley Foundation Directors and church staff members whose work focuses on college students. 

Many students commented on how restful the weekend was and how they enjoyed meeting new people and reconnecting with others that they hadn’t seen since the school year began. Destiny Elms, a young professional from Conway, commented, “This weekend of rest couldn’t have come at a more perfect time,” and Daniel Wheeler, a University of Central Arkansas student, remarked, “The rest I received was unreal.” 

It is the hope of the Mount Eagle Program Committee that this will become an annual event, providing even more opportunities for rest and connection with God and others. If you would like more information about Mount Eagle Conference Center, please contact Katelyn Hiatt at

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