By Caroline Lamar
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – On Sunday, May 19, members of Vestal United Methodist Church hosted an open house to celebrate the new Beacon of Hope ministry now serving the South Knoxville community.
Beacon of Hope is a partnership between several area churches, including Vestal, Church Street United Methodist Church, and Mountain View United Methodist Church. The ministry is based at Vestal UMC and is serving the spiritual and physical needs of the people of South Knoxville by offering outreach ministries to help those struggling with issues of poverty.
Since mid-April, benevolence interviews through Beacon of Hope have been conducted with more than a dozen individuals, resulting in assistance with gas, utilities, and rent. In addition, volunteers at the Beacon of Hope Sharing Shop have already assisted more than 60 needy families by providing clothing and toiletry items.
On May 19, the Rev. Tim York, Vestal pastor, along with the Rev. Andy Ferguson, Church Street senior pastor, cut the ribbon to officially open the ministry. During the open house guests were able to tour the Sharing Shop and learn more about the services Beacon of Hope is providing in the South Knoxville area.
In the coming weeks, a food co-op is being launched at Beacon of Hope and Getting Ahead classes are scheduled to begin later this summer.
For more information on Beacon of Hope, including how churches can partner with this new ministry, contact program director Richard Ginn at (865) 599-5047.