District Roundup

District Roundup

Abingdon: Quarry United Methodist Church has an ongoing prison ministry, led by a woman who was recently incarcerated. "She tells the story of how a prison ministry during that time changed her life," says Pastor John Roe. Now that she is part of the church family at Quarry, the woman has engaged her fellow parishioners in baking cookies each spring and fall for inmates at Wallens Ridge State Prison in Big Stone Gap, Va., and sending cards and letters each month to inmates at Abingdon Regional Jail. According to Roe, about 10 to 12 women have previously baked 250 dozen cookies, allowing each inmate to have a dozen cookies as part of the Kairos Prison Ministry. When the women get out their rolling pins and baking pans again in March, Roe hopes to involve other area churches to multiply the sweet offerings. Quarry has 55 in average worship attendance.

BIG STONE GAP: The Rev. Will Shewey, pastor at Hiltons Memorial UMC, was recently touched by news reports showing Haitians eating mud to ease hunger. "For many years I lived and ministered in South Florida, which included the Haitian-American community. Brothers and sisters not far from our southern beaches are dying from starvation. It appears our world leaders are so busy slinging mud that they do not care that others are eating it." Shewey appealed by e-mail to clergy in his district to join him in taking a love offering -- even attaching a filled-out remittance form to send to the conference office. On Feb. 3, Hiltons Memorial gave $1,046 to ease Haitian hunger. Hiltons Memorial average worship attendance: 215.

CHATTANOOGA: Two youth from Red Bank UMC have received the top youth award from the Nashville-based General Commission on United Methodist Men. Carlton S.* and Lisa H.* each received Good Samaritan Awards on Scout Sunday, Feb. 9. Both were leaders on a July 2007 youth mission trip to Gulfport, Miss., where they helped repair homes damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

CLEVELAND: The United Methodist Women of Apison UMC hosted a "Ceremony of Remembrance" for 28 late members who were "instrumental in the ongoing work" of the church, reports Nelda Thompson. Almost 130 family members and friends attended. "As each name was read, a candle was lit, a rose was placed in a centerpiece, and a bell chimed," Thompson said. A plaque with the 28 names was placed in the fellowship hall.

JOHNSON CITY: Munsey Memorial UMC presented a $112,818 check to Holston Home for Children, bringing it closer to its goal of building two new residence halls and expanding its on-campus school. The Rev. Brian Taylor, Munsey pastor, said that his congregation had accepted a Holston Home appeal to "step up" their giving for the House of Hope, the home's name for the project, the largest in the 113-year-old ministry's history. "Holston Home will build the House of Hope with no indebtedness," Art Masker, Holston Home president, said on Jan. 30. "The Munsey Memorial gift raises to 56 percent the amount of money contributors have given toward the goal."

KINGSPORT: Every fourth Saturday, the men of Pactolus UMC and the youth of Rock Springs UMC prepare and serve a hot lunch for 100-120 people at the Kingsport Salvation Army. Pactolus has 42 in average worship attendance; Rock Springs has 89.

KNOXVILLE: A mother-and- daughter team at Washington Pike UMC are on a roll, making 60 denominational-themed lap robes for shut-ins since the Christmas break. Ann Kelley reports that, so far, Tina Kennedy and Tammy Valle are working their fingers to the bone on their own. "But they're hoping to get more church members involved. I was so proud of them, I wanted the conference to know about them." Done.

The Rev. Carol Wilson (district superintendent), the Rev. Jane Taylor (First Gatlinburg UMC pastor), and Gary and Sue Fowler (members at Fairview UMC) are departing Feb. 22 for Latvia, to meet with partners and outline goals for the district's three-year, in-mission partnership in that country. The Rev. Gita Mednis, Latvia district superintendent, will visit throughout the Maryville District April 8-15. "Be sure to hear the powerful testimony she brings and more about the Methodist Church in Latvia," says Cheryl Thompson, district administrative assistant.

MORRISTOWN: Nine members at First Bulls Gap UMC started a prayer quilt ministry in February. "We will be making lap-size quilts for people who need our prayers," reports Sharon Williams. "Some are sick members in our church; some do not belong to our church. But all of them need our prayers and encouragement." The group includes both men and women with varying levels of skill.

OAK RIDGE: When Bethel Presbyterian Church began preparing for a one-year building project late in 2007, church leaders asked the neighboring Kingston United Methodist Church if they could use their facilities when they weren't needed. Kingston UMC responded with an invitation for the Presbyterian congregation to share much more, including services. "During December, various meetings and phone calls took place to facilitate this venture," reports the Rev. Sue Lynn Johnson. "Clergy from the two churches are alternating sermons and liturgist responsibilities. Choirs have combined and Bethel's choir director and pianist/organist have joined with KUMC's organist to provide service music." The Rev. Marc Sherrod, Bethel pastor, wrote a message of gratitude for the KUMC newsletter: "It is no small matter to work the details enabling two congregations to come together, and we remain profoundly grateful for your response to our need for a home during this year-long construction project."

TAZEWELL: The United Methodist Women of First Bluefield UMC hosted a Christmas Party for the children and parents of the Head Start Program located at Camp Joy. The Head Start Program has an enrollment of 37 children and is sponsored by Clinch Valley Community Action in Tazewell, Va., reports Carolyn Quesenberry. "This is an annual project of the UMW that reaches out to the communities in the area." After the Christmas story as told by the Rev. Ray Amos, children and their families were treated to a meal, as well as a surprise visit and gifts from Santa.

WYTHEVILLE: On Joy Wood's 75th birthday, she didn't want birthday presents. She wanted her friends and family to bring a can of food or cash donation for the Agape Food Pantry. The long-time member of West End UMC hosted her birthday party in the fellowship hall, raising $310 and 175 cans for the pantry, reports Pastor Janet Richardson. Combined with the 74 cans of food gathered for admission to the church's seasonal drama, "Candy Cane Christmas," the congregation's gifts for Agape were over and above their annual $600 commitment.

* Some information on minors is withheld to protect their privacy.

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