District Roundup

District Roundup

News from your district

ABINGDON: Years ago, Bob and Helen Campbell stopped to help a couple experiencing car trouble, inviting them to their home and to Lebanon United Methodist Church the following morning. The car-trouble couple never forgot the Campbells’ kindness; when they died they left $55,000 from their estate to the church. Since then, Lebanon UMC has used the money for numerous missions, including Ishe Ashe in Zimbabwe and Special Sunday offerings in the United Methodist Church. In November, the congregation voted to give former Lebanon pastor and long-time Holston evangelist Marvin Howard a gift of $10,125 from the fund. The gift was awarded in appreciation for the Rev. Howard’s service to Lebanon and to Holston Conference, according to the Rev. Paul Griffith.

BIG STONE GAP: In the 1990s, the Rev. Rick Howard envisioned a child-care ministry for working parents who sped past his church along Highway 23 in Weber City, Va. Late last year, Holston View United Methodist Church named a portion of a new building “Howard Hall” after the man who first dreamed it. Howard Hall is a multi-purpose room adjoining a new child care, pre-school classrooms, and kitchen. Members of the Howard family came from Chattanooga, Tenn., to the dedication ceremony. Rick Howard died in May 2004 at the age of 47.

CHATTANOOGA: With 26 in average worship attendance, Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church was proud to collect 20 shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child in 2006, so they decided to make it a yearlong project in 2007. By Nov. 4, the day of their charge conference, church members had far surpassed the previous year’s collection with 123 boxes. The boxes were dedicated and “ready to go,” says Pastor Chris Dover, when Life Care Centers asked the congregation to pack an additional 50 boxes. “We purchased the necessary items, and on Nov. 18 packed the extra boxes in just 20 minutes,” Dover reports. “We want to challenge other small churches in our conference to find a similar yearlong project. If Pleasant Grove can do 173 boxes, imagine what hundreds of other smaller churches could do.”

CLEVELAND: Broad Street United Methodist Church entered a float in the Cleveland Christmas parade – “the only float with live music,” reports Peggy Johnson. The float had banners with the message, “Let Jesus Be Your Life Saver.” Church members ran alongside the float, handing out LifeSavers candy and bookmarks promoting a new informal worship service.

JOHNSON CITY: For 17 years, Dan Wolfe has served as a full-time clown evangelist with the name, “The Amazing Earl.” Two years ago, Wolfe moved to east Tennessee and became an active member of Gray United Methodist Church. In December, Wolfe represented the district during an eight-day tour of the Czech Republic, presenting his one-man show, “The Nativity,” 15 times in 12 cities.

KINGSPORT: In November, Fudges Chapel United Methodist Church, a 54-member congregation, raised enough money to buy 100 meals for families served by Lighthouse Ministries in Elkhorn City, Ky. Food Lion in Church Hill not only provided groceries at a discount, the store also pre-packed the food in boxes. “When our church members arrived at Food Lion at 9 a.m. on Nov. 17, the food boxes were skidded and ready to load into our borrowed truck,” reports Kristi Houston. After a noontime worship service in Elkhorn City, church members handed out boxed dinners that included turkey, pie, and rolls. “God gave us a vision of work to be done, and we were thankful to serve with these hardworking missionaries of the mountains,” said Houston.

KNOXVILLE: In the early 1880s, the Rev. Lewis Bookwalter visited the Inskip community of Knoxville and detected a need for a church. He put a notice in the newspaper, asking people to gather at the school if they were interested in forming a church. The gathering led to the creation of Bookwalter Church in 1882. In November, Bookwalter United Methodist Church celebrated its 125-year anniversary, honoring 45 members with 50 or more years or service to the church.

MARYVILLE: Vonore United Methodist Church
recently joined with the Hiwassee College Chorale and Christ Our Savior Lutheran choir to present a cantata. The group included a 20-piece orchestra with 60 singers, attracting a record attendance for Vonore at 186. The offering provided $2,080 for Good Shepherd and Good Samaritan Ministries, according to the Rev. Richard Rudesill. Vonore’s average worship attendance is 40.

MORRISTOWN: The New Market Circuit, which includes New Market United Methodist Church and Cedar Grove United Methodist Church, collected more than 300 T-shirts for Red Bird Mission in Kentucky. The shirt drive was led by the church’s Tuesday-morning prayer and Bible study group. “The group prayed over the shirts and asked God’s blessing for each person who would be wearing them,” reports the Rev. Diana Cornett

OAK RIDGE: After talking with the families served by Wesley House Community Center in Knoxville, the United Methodist Women of Oliver Springs United Methodist Church created a new ministry. “A lot of the children at Wesley House are either in single-parent homes or they’re being raised by grandmothers,” explains the Rev. John Justice. “These children typically have a lot of grandparental involvement in their lives.” To celebrate these grandmothers, the UMW of Oliver Springs invited them to a special meal. About 20 Wesley House grandmothers came for a lasagna luncheon with homemade desserts. After hymns and a prize-winning game of “Name That Tune,” each grandmother received a treat bag with necessities such as toothpaste, tissues, and lotion. “We hope to make this an annual event,” says Justice.

TAZEWELL: First Pearisburg United Methodist Church sent a team named “Eternal Flame” to the American Cancer Society’s local “Relay for Life.” The team raised $7,366 with the help of four wooden “lawn cow” decorations. For a donation, friends could have a cow delivered to a friend’s lawn.

WYTHEVILLE: Please send news and photos to The Call.

If you liked this, you might like reading “District Roundup” in previous editions of THE CALL:
Dec. 14, 2007
Nov. 16, 2007
Oct. 5, 2007