"A place in the wilderness for all generations"
For several decades, a couple called the Manleys lived on the property that Grace Point now calls home. The Manleys lived in the retreat house at the top of the hill, while the older structures in lower camp served as utility buildings. When Mrs. Jane Manley died, Mr. Bill Manley put the property up for sale, insisting that it not be divided. The asking price was $2 million, a donation he promised to make to Methodist Medical Center in Oak Ridge in gratitude for their care of Jane.
The dream of a diocesan place of rest came with the Rt. Rev. William Sanders, the first Bishop of East Tennessee. However, it wasn't until the election of Bishop Charles vonRosenberg that a task force was formed with the purpose of starting the camp. One of the principal members of the task force was Bo Lewis, who discovered the property on Watts Bar. He would then serve as Grace Point's first director.
So in the summer of 2002, Grace Point had its very first camp session. That first summer only 6-8 people spent the summer on staff, most of whom were 16-18 years old. Despite limited facilities and a small staff, early campers invented awesome games such as Berfer Ball and Gladiator (now a camp classic), and spent most days hiking, swimming in the pool, and riding across the lake in the old pontoon boat.
Prior to the building of the treehouses in 2006 and 2007, boy campers stayed in the upstairs of the Commons while the girls slept in the present day dining hall. Meals were served in the present day game room by the orginial cook, Frank. When campers asked what was being served for dinner, Frank would reply "It was foggy outside, so I'm not sure." However, he was known for his famous ribs.
Campfires were a major part of the daily routine at Grace Point. Campers would gather around the bonfire for morning prayer, evening reflection, and of course s'mores and singing. This is where camp legends such as Miss Manley's ghost and the Grace Point hobo were born.
Camp begin to transform in 2014 with the completion of the new Art Barn, shortly followed by the new pool and pavilion, and renovations to the Retreat House and Commons. With each new project, we seek to prserve the Manley's legacy as well as provide Grace Point with facilities for both camp and retreat use.
With over 250 acres of land, nearly two miles of shoreline along Watts Bar Lake, dozens of outdoor activities, and bunk-style accommodations in our cabins and retreat house; Grace Point is the ideal place to hold your meeting, retreat, or reunion! Located just outside Kingston, Tennessee with easy access to Interstates 40 and 75, Grace Point is perfectly situated to host groups from across the southeastern United States.
If you have any questions, or would like to come out and see all that Grace Point has to offer, please do not hesitate to contact the executive director Brad Jones at 865-803-8921.