Greetings and Blessings from Boone

by Becca Gummere
I count my blessings that my first call was to Epiphany. Moving from Columbus, where I’d just graduated from Trinity Lutheran Seminary, I began my call at Epiphany in August of 1993, and during the next seven years enjoyed serving alongside Pastor Larry Hoffsis, Pastor Josh Nelson, and later Pastor Fritz Wiese.
Since leaving Epiphany in April of 2000, I served three years as pastor of Circle of Grace, a mission development congregation in Cary, North Carolina, and four years at Grace Lutheran Church in Boone, North Carolina, where I split my time between associate pastor and campus pastor roles with students at Appalachian State University. When I moved to Boone in 2003, daughter Maggie Carey and son Liam Carey joined me here, falling in love as I had with these beautiful mountains.
In 2007 I left Grace Lutheran Church and ordained ministry to work for the next seven years as associate director for this area’s agency serving victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, OASIS, Inc. While at OASIS I scratched a lifelong “itch” and went back to school to get my MFA in Creative Writing in a low-residency program, graduating in 2009 from Queens University of Charlotte. I began writing in earnest, submitting my work and over the next years seeing some success in publication. In April of 2017 an essay appeared in O, The Oprah Magazine about my son Cooper, who died in 1982 at six weeks of age from complications following surgery for a heart defect.
In 2014 I left OASIS to pursue my writing projects and to get myself established as a writer. I also taught as adjunct faculty at Appalachian State University in the English Composition program, working with first-year students. There is more information about my writing life at and links to essays.
After my parents died, I did some overseas travel, but in 2016 I felt a strong urge to hit the road and take an extended trip. That fall I gave away most of my belongings, rented out my house, bought a small used RV, and took off on a nine-month solo cross-country trip with my two boxers, Connor and Beasley, traveling 12,000 miles through 18 states. I’m now working on a memoir about the trip, called Chasing Light. The travel blog I wrote while I was on the road can be found on my website.
In 2014 my daughter, Maggie Carey, married the love of her life and best friend, Jimmy Kerr, who is a woodworker and furniture maker. They live about three ridge tops away from me. Maggie gets to live out her dream of working with animals, as she is an assistant to a veterinarian who offers a mobile ultrasound service. They travel around this and neighboring counties bringing their diagnostic services to rural communities where more expensive equipment is not available.
Liam Carey lives just past a ridge top and over a small river. He has worked for the past ten years at Hawksnest, a snow-tubing and ziplining resort facility, managing operations and maintenance of equipment and grounds. He also has become quite adept at blacksmithing and welding, working from time to time with his brother-in-law, Jimmy, on custom furniture and construction jobs.
We all frequently get together with our pack of dogs (five big goofy mutts between us) and cook, hike, or camp, enjoying life in these amazing Blue Ridge Mountains.
I work 10 hours a week for the High Country Food Hub, an organization that is part of Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture. The Food Hub provides an online portal for local farmers to sell their products and is open year-round, so it helps support farmers seeking to make a living wage with organic, sustainable and humane agricultural practices. The Food Hub is also part of the local food network addressing food insecurity, since Watauga County has a high rate of poverty.

It’s like a fun job around amazing food and foodies that I get paid to do, so I keep forgetting to list it as work!
And in case you wonder, Boone is home to Appalachian State University, the school with the football team that stunned the world by beating Michigan in the Big House in September of 2007. That was a very good day to be a Buckeye in Boone!

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