SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (Nov. 7, 2017) -- Two “open house” events have been scheduled at The Connexion in anticipation of the vote on whether to purchase the property or not.
The public is invited to visit the Sevierville facility on Saturday, Nov. 11, and Saturday, Dec. 16, from 1 to 4 p.m.
“It’s an opportunity for everyone who is interested to see the facility and the property, because the Annual Conference will make a decision when we meet in Lake Junaluska in June,” said the Rev. Rusty Taylor, director of congregational development and revitalization.
The Congregational Development Ministry Team will present a report requesting the Annual Conference to buy the property during its June 10-13 meeting in Lake Junaluska, N.C., Taylor said. The Sevierville facility includes a 38,000-square-foot building and 49 acres near Dollywood amusement park.
Holston Conference leased the former church building and acreage in February 2016. The two-year, $300,000 lease was scheduled to expire on January 31, 2018. The lease was recently extended to June 30, 2018, Taylor said.
Taylor said more financial information will be provided in the annual “Book of Reports,” published in spring 2018. When the property now known as The Connexion was leased in February 2016, the price for the property was set at $5.3 million, not including maintenance and staffing.
In May 2017, the Rev. Jason Roe was appointed to The Connexion to help manage the property.
Taylor said the Open House will offer coffee, refreshments, and an opportunity to view how The Connexion serves the community. The building is currently the home for the Ministerio del Espiritu Santo congregation and has hosted the United Methodist Women, Sermon Academy, and Camp in the Community. In August 2017, a Celebrate Recovery program was started on Tuesday nights.
The property has served as a storage and work place for Holston’s partnership with Appalachian Service Project to help Sevier County wildfire survivors. In February 2018, the facility will host Rez Kidz.
Taylor said that invitations had been sent to Holston Conference members through email and district newsletters. Sevierville residents have been invited through a direct-mail campaign.
“This is an opportunity for a significant mission and ministry center in Sevier County, and it will fund itself,” Taylor said. “It is a major investment for us, but it’s the kind of project that Annual Conferences do.”
The Connexion is located at 1250 Middle Creek Road.
Lease signed for Sevierville facility with goal of reaching millions (The Call, 2/8/16)
'Vacation church' launches at Sevierville facility (The Call, 6/1/16)
The Connexion goes from 'shuttered to sharing' (Mountain Press, 7/9/17)
Annette Spence is editor of The Call, the Holston Conference newspaper.