Wendell Berry wrote, “Community, I am beginning to understand, is made through a skill I have never learned or valued: the ability to pass time with people you do not and will not know well, talking about nothing in particular, with no end in mind, just to build trust, just to be sure of each other, just to be neighborly. A community is not something that you have, like a camcorder or a breakfast nook. No, it is something you do. And you have to do it all the time.”

The Gathering began in 1985 with a simple purpose. A few of us were interested in Christian philanthropy and needed a safe, neutral place to relax, talk, teach, listen and learn. We wanted to serve as educators and encouragers  – and be a sounding board of peers. As much as anything, we wanted to build trust.

We met originally over dinner and have now grown to a sprawling community of a few hundred men, women, children and grandchildren across multiple generations. Learning what it means to honor God (and each other) has come from the tradition of wisdom being passed along through generations of real people knitted together over a long time, as well as welcoming the new faces and new perspectives who come each year.

To be worthy of honor is to accept the responsibility of teaching and living in a way that matters. It has not been a sudden revelation. It has been absorbed from grandparents, parents and children listening to each other’s lives. As you might guess, we are in this for the long haul.

It is our privilege to spend this time with you. Please let us know if we can help you in any way.

Our Team


Fred Smith

Fred Smith



Hannah Carter
GenNext Director


Joel Ghrist

Joel Ghrist
Finance Director


Maggie Lechner
Event Director

Board of Directors

Bob and Sarah Caldwell
Spartanburg, SC

Raymond and Joan Conn
Cincinnati, TN

Todd and Karen Hendricks
Harleysville, PA

Greg and Marybeth Lernihan
Naperville, IL

Todd and Susan Peterson
Peachtree Corners, GA