Caraway dedicates ministers’ mountain retreat
    October 13 2011 by K. Allan Blume, BR Editor

    Don and Mary Ann Warren want to honor their parents and provide a place of respite for North Carolina’s ministers. As chairman of Caraway’s New Beginnings Capital Campaign, Don took note that the master plan included a “mountain retreat” for pastors who need a place to get away.

    Although the retreat house was not scheduled until the latter part of the campaign, Warren believes it is needed now. So he and his wife gave a gift in honor of their parents so the house would be built immediately. Construction began July 15 and was completed Sept. 26. The facility was dedicated Sept. 27. A plaque on the Powell/Warren Mountain House reads, “The purpose for the mountain house is to provide a clean, comfortable respite for North Carolina ministers to use for prayer, bible study, sermon preparation and rest.”

    “Today is a new beginning at Caraway,” said Director Jimmy Huffman at the dedication service. “We are at a point in our history of almost 50 years where we are starting to revisit who we are and our purpose and what we mean to North Carolina Baptists. One of the visions that we have always had is to have a place where N.C. Baptist ministers can get away and be refreshed. Today that is a reality.”

    Photo by Mike Creswell

    The Powell/Warren Mountain House was dedicated Sept. 27 at Caraway Conference Center. The mountain house is meant for a minister’s retreat and is part of a $7.5-million New Beginnings Capital Campaign, which is a three-phase building plan to expand and improve Caraway. Don and Mary Ann Warren named the cabin after their parents: Curtis Warren; Grace Warren; Bluford Powell; and Madie Powell. See photo gallery.

    The house rests atop a mountain, overlooking much of Caraway’s 1,100-acres of serene landscape. Steve Garner, Caraway’s operations manager, was both architect and builder for the project. Other Caraway staff, Tommy Thompson and Charles Bullard, assisted in the construction.

    Warren told about his wife’s parents, Bluford and Madie Powell of Tallassee, Ala. Bluford, a worker at the Yates Power Company, died in an auto accident when Mary Ann was 13. Her mother owned a florist, and struggled to survive after Bluford’s death.

    Don’s parents are Curtis and Grace Warren. “Curtis Warren had to drop out of school in ninth grade because his labor was needed on the farm,” he explained. “Later he joined the Navy, then worked for Tallassee Mills in Alabama as a weaver, supervisor and later a department manager.”

    Grace Warren was a weaver for 26 years. “Mother was an unusually talented piano player. She was the only pianist and organist that East Tallassee Baptist Church ever knew for 66 years,” Don said. “Daddy was a deacon and treasurer for the same period of time.”

    “Mother played for the silent movies as a girl. When she received the film canister at the show house, she opened it and took out the sheet music. At certain scenes, she played the appropriate music for the silent films.”

    Don Warren wants N.C. Baptists to know that, “60,000 boys have come on this property to the boys camp; 7,000 of those boys have made a profession of faith. That – I submit to you – is a good investment.”

    Warren and Huffman recognize that pastors are very busy and carry many responsibilities. They need times to be refreshed. One pastor asked Warren how to get his name on the list to stay in the new retreat home saying, “I have not had one day off in over a year, and I would like to have a place to rest.”

    Warren strongly encourages N.C. Baptists to give generously to the campaign. Individuals and churches have an opportunity to honor special people and to provide facilities where lives will be changed for generations.

    Executive Director-Treasurer Milton Hollifield led the prayer of dedication saying, “This facility will be used to bring great honor and glory to God.”

    Pastors who are interested in using the “mountain retreat” can call Caraway Conference Center at (336) 629-2374 or email You must be a N.C. Baptist minister. Your spouse may stay with you, but children may not come. The first three nights of your stay are free, and meals are free in the cafeteria when the cafeteria is serving. A pastor may stay two additional nights for $50 each night, with a total of five nights maximum stay. Reservations may be made up to one year in advance.

    New Beginnings Capital Campaign

    Various opportunies are available for individuals and groups to give to the Caraway Conference Center New Beginnings Capital Campaign.

    Visit or for more information. Call (336) 629-2374 or send donations to P.O. Box 36, Asheboro, NC 27204.

    Gifts of stocks, bonds, real estate or other items of value can be contributed through the N.C. Baptist Foundation, 205 Convention Dr., Cary, NC 27511. Call (800) 521-7334 for more information.
    10/13/2011 7:07:00 AM by K. Allan Blume, BR Editor | with 0 comments

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