BLACK MOUNTAIN, NC – Under the leadership of Bishop George E. Battle, Jr., Senior Bishop and Presiding Prelate of the Piedmont Episcopal District, Camp Dorothy Walls’ Board of Directors, Presiding Elders, Pastors and Laity of the Blue Ridge, West Central North Carolina and Western North Carolina Conferences sponsored an electric celebration on December 6 - 7, 2019 in the magnificent Blue Ridge Mountain range of western North Carolina, were Zionites of the Piedmont and their guest arrived ready to follow the “PARTY” commands of their Episcopal Leader. It was time to celebrate the blessing that Camp Dorothy Walls now belongs to Zion and NOT the bank!
Bishop Battle had always let it be known that there would be no debt left when he retires. Due to the sacrifices of the members of the entire Piedmont Episcopal District, there is no longer a mortgage on the property. He wanted the members to ’exhale’ and ‘rejoice’ as God has blessed the Piedmont to move from maintenance to ministry.
Several attendees who had made early reservations where on the scene to check into their rooms at the Bishop George W. C. Walker, Sr. and Mrs. Geraldine J. Walker Hotel located on the camp grounds. While others, due to the enormous turnout, were accomadated at several local hotels. The weekend began on December 6, 2019 in the Bishop Cecil Bishop Gymnatorium which was nearly unrecognizable as it was transformed from front to rear, ceiling to floor into a glamorous holiday venue.
Special guests in attendance included Bishop George W .C. Walker, Sr. Retired and Mrs. Geraldine J. Walker (Retired); Dr. Jimmie R. Jenkins, President of Livingstone College and his wife Dr. Clarice Jenkins; Dr. Vergel Lattimore, President of Hood Theological Seminary; and Mrs. Shirley McCoy, Retired Missionary Supervisor. Bishop Battle remarked on the purpose of the celebration, expressing his delight in the lifting of this financial burden from the members of the church. He then, directed the DJ to start the music and for the celebration to begin. And celebrating is what the Piedmont did indeed!
The never ending delicious menu was provided which consisted of jumbo shrimp, three carving stations (beef, pork, and ham), raw vegetables, cheese and fruit trays, hot vegetables, potato salad, rolls, a chocolate fountain and various cheesecakes.
Shortly after the celebration began, Bishop Battle danced with his wife, “Iris” Battle to a lovely ballard by Luther Vandross. They were rated a “10” by all assembled. At the end of this fabulous holiday evening and upon departing, each guest received a lovely boxed Christmas gift - an ornament commemorating the historic occasion.
On Saturday, December 7, 2019, The Camp Dorothy Walls Mortgage Ceremony began with all clergy present robed and in place in the Bishop Cecil Bishop Gymnatorium. With exuberance and thanksgiving, all present stood to honor Bishop Battle as he walked in the gymnatorium and up on the stage to take his rightful place on the stage! God still is in the healing business!! The sermon for this glorious event was preached by Bishop George W.C. Walker, Sr. Ret. His message was titled “Choosing Your Mountain” taken from Joshua 14:6-12. He gave a historical synopsis of the acquisition and development of the land and the improvements of the property. Walker exclaimed “Of all the mountains on earth, Bishop Walls chose the sixty plus (60+) acres of Black Mountain, NC to provide a safe environment for children to take retreats during the summer months. Bishop Walls chose this mountain and was followed by Bishops Jones, Smith, Speaks (gymnatorium), Bishop (liquidated a huge mortgage), Walker, and now Battle who liquidated the debt. Bishop Walker taught that in his message that when you choose your mountain, you need: 1. God’s Favor; 2. Fortitude; and 3. Faith.
Bishop Battle gave thanks to God for the gift of ridding the Piedmont Episcopal District of debt. He stated that his goal was for all of us to work together for the common good of liquidating the mortgage, thereby enabling the churches to carry out more ministries in their own communities. “To God Be the Glory for Great Things He Has Done.” He reminded us to “Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God!
At the conclusion of the worship service, the mortgage burning ritual was conducted. As the mortgage burned and the smoke arose from the container, the congregants erupted with praises to God, applause and tears of joy for what the Lord has done using this servant vessel, Bishop George E. Battle, Jr.