Tag Archives: Behind The Scenes

Hold Your Event at The Cove — Top 10 Tips for Meeting Planners

Cove_Event_Coordinators_Blog_Header_Graphic_2016

Did you know that every year 140 – 150 different groups choose to hold their conference and ministry events at The Cove?

The groups come in all shapes and sizes: small groups, such as board meetings and church staff retreats, as well as large groups with up to 450 attendees.

No matter the size, groups come with one wish in common: To get away to a distraction-free atmosphere where they can seek the leading of the Holy Spirit through the application of God’s Word.

We’d love for you to bring your group to The Cove.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Call  1-800-950-2092 to discuss booking your event.
  2. Confirm your dates, and the number of rooms and meals you’ll need.  A contract will be drawn up at this point.
  3. You will be assigned an Event Coordinator to work with you through every little detail in order to make sure your event goes smooth.  This event coordinator will be your point of contact from the time you sign the contract until you arrive on The Cove property.
  4. Repeat year after year. :)

Maybe you’re the meeting planner at your church or Christian ministry?  (If you’re not, please forward this blog on to that special person).  To help in the planning process, we thought it would be helpful to provide some tips to help the planning process along.

Here they are:

Top 10 Tips for Meeting Planners
(For after you book your event at The Cove.)

1. Read Your Contract.

You would be surprised at how many people do not read what they are signing.  Many of your questions will be answered by reading this document.

2. Designate one person to communicate with your event coordinator.

Feel free to copy any correspondence with your team, but the old saying is really true, “too many cooks can spoil the stew.”  It’s much easier to deal one-on-one with your event coordinator.

3. There is no such thing as a bad or stupid question.

The more you ask, the better your event coordinator will know what you’d like to accomplish while you are here.  Ask away!

4. Be specific.

Let your event coordinator know your schedule with as much detail as you can.  Will you have workshops or breakout sessions in addition to main sessions?  How will your guests be arriving?  Will they be arriving individually, carpooling or on a charter bus?  Check-in will be handled differently based on arrival information.  What are your technical needs?  Will you be having praise and worship? Will you run a PowerPoint program, and will you need microphones?  How will you like to greet your guests and get program materials to them?

By being as specific as you can in advance of your event, the better we can serve you while you are here.

MeetingRoom2 women

MeetingRoom1

5. Do you want something special?

Many guests like to add communion, foot washing, or a chapel service to their schedule.  Think about this beforehand and discuss with your event coordinator.

6. Be timely.

Getting information to your event coordinator in a timely manner will allow them to serve you well.

7. We feed you very well while you’re here.

We serve three full gourmet buffet-style meals daily, along with night-time snacks and all the beverages and frozen yogurt you could wish for.  Come hungry!

DiningRoom1

8. Bring your walking shoes.

To enrich your retreat experience, we have miles of walking trails with scripture pillars along the way.  You may also enjoy strolling through Ruth’s Prayer Garden, or hike to the prayer alter where Billy and Ruth Graham first asked God if this mountain was the place He chose for them to build the Training Center.

Emanuel Romanian Church hiking October 2011

9. Do your guests have any special needs we should know about?

This will help in our room assignment process.  If there are specific dietary needs, let your event coordinator know about that ahead of time as well.

10. Don’t stress!

One of the first documents you will receive from us is an event planning guide.  It has many helpful tips, along with a time line of when things are due.  Out staff loves to take care of groups, it’s what we do!


Call  1-800-950-2092 to book your event today.

Interested in submitting an online request to hold your Christian conference or ministry event here at The Cove?  Click here for information.

Behind the scenes at The Cove…A Faithful Servant

By Corinne Holmquist
 
Garlene greeting guests upon entering the Training Center

Push past the double red doors of the Billy Graham Training Center into the lobby with the living-room feel, and you might catch a glimpse of petite five-foot-two-inch lead hostess Garlene Johnson.

People have told her she resembles Norma Zimmer of the Lawrence Welk Show. “Not because I sing, but because of my big hair,” she teases.

But Garlene is more than her cute blonde bob. You’ll see her slender hands busy touching up and tidying around the place. Hands reaching out to greet and guide guests toward the dining room or auditorium. Hands clasped in prayer with someone over an illness or death. Or failing marriage. Or job loss.

Across from where she stands hangs a painting of her friend, Ruth Graham. “I like to look across the room at Mrs. Graham’s picture and think that as I greet guests…they feel they are entering the living room in her own home,” Garlene says, adding she always felt warm and comfortable there.

Garlene standing near Mrs. Graham's portrait

At 77, “and proud of every year”, Garlene is the longest-employed hostess at The Cove, logging in 20 years of service and memories.

“She’s the “quintessential Southern Belle” says Scott Holmquist, Cove executive director. “She’s known for her graciousness and warmth.”

Her touches, big or small, help people unwind so they can rewind with God in the seminars and surroundings ahead.

She’s lady-like, yes, (she doesn’t like to pump her own gas). But fragile, she is not. (She once owned a rifle thinking she could scare off an intruder, but gave it away). Blessed with energy, she’s presently planning 20 weddings for this year at Montreat College and Montreat Presbyterian Church. Through it all, Garlene’s compassion oozes from her life experiences knowing that God loves and leads you through the hard times. Being organized helps, too.

Born in Lincolnton, N.C. in 1935, Garlene was the oldest of three daughters. Her dad died in a car accident when she was 8; he was 39. Ironically, her grandfather also died at that age.

“Over the years I just accepted it as God’s will. Their faith (of her grandmother and mom) gave me the faith to go on,” she reflects.

Garlene moved to Montreat attending college, working, and later marrying Kay N. Stutts. They were blessed with two daughters, Joy and Becky. Garlene soon taught middle and high school English in nearby towns. She also taught Sunday school to two of Billy and Ruth Graham’s children: Anne and Ned.

When Kay suddenly died at age 49, Garlene clung to God, again remembering the faith of her grandmother and mother who were widowed early. Years later, Garlene found love a second time, marrying George L. Johnson, the widowed father of Karlene Shea, who is married to George Beverly Shea.

Sadness struck again when George, a “Christian gentleman of prayer and the Bible” (like her first husband), died after a long illness. “It was still a shock,” she says.

Garlene as a new Cove employee in 1991

In 1991, Garlene ventured into a seminar at the Cove. One of the managers, whom she knew from church, asked if she would like to volunteer as a hostess.
“Oh yes,” she said without hesitation. “I didn’t even have to pray about it. I’ve been there ever since.” She’s found inspiration from those who enter The Cove.

One couple she met several years ago had a daughter suffering with brain cancer for three years. “Each year as they returned, their spirits were uplifted as they waited for the Lord to call her home,” she recalls. “What an inspiration this couple was to me!”

“I also met a young boy in a wheelchair. He was born without legs and had stubs for arms. As he was leaving, he asked if he could give me a hug. What a precious hug that was—one of the best I have ever had!”

Says Garlene: “The years that I have worked at The Cove have been… rewarding. As I enter the property, I feel that I am on ‘holy ground’ where the property has been prayed over by so many, for so long. When I begin work, I am with my Cove family where we like to begin our day with prayer and devotions.

It’s fun to meet guests from all over the world. Some have been to the Cove numerous times; others for the first time. I hear exciting stories about how God has worked in their lives through speakers, worship, and through that ‘still small voice.’”

It’s a voice she’s heard before. And as guests walk through the doors of the Training Center carrying life’s loads, Garlene’s touches for the kingdom continue.

—————————

When Garlene prays with guests, she often uses these verses from the NIV:

Isaiah 41:10:
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Lamentations 3:23:
“They [compassions] are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”

Psalm 139:23-24:
“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

If you would like to learn more about The Cove and possibly meet Garlene in person, click here to visit our website.