Hostutler, Anna 2

Photo submitted by Anna Hostutler

Whether you’re a spiritual seeker or fully confident in your beliefs, Lakeside Chautauqua is a safe haven for discovery and reassurance of your faith journey.

After all, as the Rev. Dr. Ned Dewire reminds us, “The foundation of Lakeside was a Methodist camp meeting. Today, Christian values are still just as integral to the Lakeside mission.”

Part of this mission includes our Preacher of the Week program, which provides new perspectives for some and deepens the faithful appreciation for others.

After delivering the sermon at the Hoover Community Worship Service on Sundays, the Preacher of the Week remains at Lakeside until Thursday for Faith for Living Hour sessions, a time when the preacher shares his or her faith journey.

Organizing 11 weeks of preachers takes a lot more planning and time than most Lakesiders might realize. With the help of the Religious Life Advisory Team, fellow Lakesiders and local clergy members, the Rev. Dr. Dewire searches for diverse perspectives to appeal to all faith backgrounds.

Lakeside has strong Methodist roots, but the Rev. Dr. Dewire understands the beauty of learning from others and the life-enriching opportunities they can bring. Being exposed to various preachers can prompt the congregation to think about their own faith journeys. Sometimes this is done by presenting challenging new ideas or by affirming the listener’s existing belief system.

After finding potential candidates for the Preacher of the Week series, sometimes two to three years in advance, the Rev. Dr. Dewire sends an invitation introducing them to Lakeside. From there, emails are exchanged as he works to secure a specific week for the preacher to visit. By the end of September, he has received official photos and titles from each preacher for the coming year.

“I enjoy bringing to Lakeside these amazing women and men to share their faith journey in the Faith for Living Hour sessions,” the Rev. Dr. Dewire said of his favorite part of the planning process.

The preachers enjoy Lakeside as well. They find it to be an amazing community offering a step back in time feeling with Christian hospitality.

“They greatly value the time they share with us,” he said.

Lakeside’s religious life programming stands out thanks to our wonderful Religious Life staff. We’re fortunate to have a director of ministry for each age group. The Rev. Dr. Dewire has a team of dedicated individuals that work hard to make the religious life experience at Lakeside special and meaningful.

“Community is built by affinity groups,” the Rev. Dr. Dewire explained.

He said that when people participate in Faith for Living Hour, God Squad, Middle Grade Madness, Family Picnics, Vespers by the Lake and other religious life programs, they’re able to build a group for the day, week or the summer, and these groups make all generations of Lakesiders feel part of a community.

Getting together with others at the worship programs allows people to build social networks, closer ties and, ultimately, more life satisfaction.

In their study of longevity around the world, brothers Tony and Dan Buettner of the Blue Zones discovered that belonging to a faith-based community could add 4-14 years of life expectancy.

Additionally, the Rev. Dr. Dewire explains that the translation of the word “salvation” in the first English version of the Bible was the word “wellness.”

“Wellness, at its best, is salvation and vice versa,” he said. “Salvation is being whole with God in mind, body and spirit. Both wellness and salvation are things we do as well as attitudes about life.”

When you visit Lakeside next summer, check out the religious programs the Rev. Dr. Dewire and his team have planned. For more information about the Religious Life Department, visit