Wayne Dickert


Wayner Dickert is the pastor for the River of Life and the Bryson City United Methodist Church. He has lived near the Nantahala River for over 25 years and considers this area home. He has spent time on the water as a raft guide, canoe and kayak instructor and trainer and has been connected in the paddling world for many years including competing in the 1996 Olympic competition on the Ocoee River in Tennessee. He feels blessed that the River of Life gives him an opportunity to combine two passions through service for others.

Trey & Cricket Barnett

Newlyweds Trey and Cricket Barnett  and the Marketing Director and River Manager respectively for Wildwater Adventures on the Nantahala. Cricket and Trey will be helping not only with Sunday services but are instrumental in establishing a Dine and Devo for river staff on Wednesday evenings. They enjoy traveling and have a heart for missions and offering hope to those in need, both near and far. Join them on a trip to see the River of Life wells in Haiti next winter! We know their photo isn’t very “outdoorsy” but it was just too cute not to use.

Taylor Smith

Taylor Smith from Abilene, Texas will be joining us this year as a ministry intern from Duke Divinity School. A recent graduate from McMurry University as a religion major Taylor recently became engaged to the lovely Katie May. He has a passion for outdoor activities including kayaking, biking and hiking. And the word on the street is that he’s a real angel.

Dwayne Parton

Dwayne “Jelly Bean” is back! After a 96-day hiatus to hike the Appalachian Trail our primary worship music leader has rejoined the river folks again through the end of the season just a few pounds lighter but grateful for his experiences along the trail.

Follow Dwayne’s incredible journey through his very well done video journal at

Philip Reed

We are happy to announce that Philip is our new paddling coordinator after the River of Life worship services. His easy going way, good nature and love of paddling make him the perfect choice for the position.

Paddling and spending time together as a fellowship of believers is one of the things that makes the River of Life special. We hope that everyone will introduce themselves to Philip (friend him on Facebook!) and let him know if you would like to paddle with the group on Sunday.

Although, most paddles will be on the Nantahala, due to ease of logistics, trips to other rivers are also a possibility.

Thanks Philip for helping us be about fun as a community!