ABINGDON: Sixty members of McCready UMC gathered for a July weekend at Camp Ahistadi. In addition to volleyball, basketball, swimming, and hiking, they participated in spiritual studies in the "beautiful outdoors," according to Pastor Bill Cahill. "Afterwards we proceeded to the old swimming hole where nine of our group were baptized."
BIG STONE GAP: On Aug. 30, Clintwood UMC hosted a "Rock the City Back to School Bash." Of 200 in attendance, only 15 percent were from the UMC. Youth from other churches provided music and drama, and the speaker was a Pentecostal preacher and former history teacher, Jeff Reynolds. Six teachers and four principals from area schools attended, and five youth and one adult accepted Jesus Christ, according to Clintwood UMC Pastor John Price.
CHATTANOOGA: For the third year, Grace UMC is selling pumpkins to raise money for missions. The Pumpkin Patch is open Oct. 4-31, with pumpkins from the Navajo Indian Reservation in New Mexico. The Fall Festival is Oct. 10. Last year, Grace sold 900 pumpkins for a profit of about $2,000, according to John Coniglio. Visit http://graceumcsd.org.
CLEVELAND: "Taste of Jubilation" is the district's mini version of the conference-wide senior adult retreat held in Kingsport each spring. The Cleveland version was held at Broad Street UMC on Sept. 21. A Margaret Loving grant enabled the event to be provided free, including breakfast and lunch. Speakers included the Rev. Bob Bostick, the Rev. Cliff Amos, and the Rev. Debbie Stokes. Jean Henderson led Bible study and the Cleveland Barbershop Group provided music. About 105 people from 13 churches attended, including a group from Faith UMC in Knoxville, according to organizer Jackie Johnson.
JOHNSON CITY: Twenty-seven adults, youth, and children from Unicoi UMC participated in a "missions day trip" at Good Samaritan Ministries in Johnson City on Aug. 29. In addition to donating cleaning supplies, toothbrushes, and paper goods to Good Sam, the group helped inventory school supplies, sorted clothes, picked up trash, and cleaned up a medical supply room. Short day trips offer missions experience to church members who can't go on long-distance trips, says Pastor Todd Kingrea. "It also heightens awareness of local ministries." Unicoi's next trip: Develop Africa in Johnson City.
KINGSPORT: Glen Alpine UMC designated its Vacation Bible School offering for Heifer International this summer. On the Sundays before and after VBS, the children stood at the church doors with cow-shaped banks. Fifty children raised $710 to buy a cow, three swarms of bees, and six flocks of chickens for underprivileged families. Visit heifer.org.
KNOXVILLE: St. Mark UMC was featured in the Knoxville News Sentinel for its timely five-week study on Adam Hamilton's "Enough: Discovering Joy Through Simplicity and Generosity." A retired bank executive, Larry Mauldin, led the study for about 30 people. "The material addresses a universal longing for a biblical perspective on money and our cultural pressures," Mauldin said. The KNS article noted that unlike Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University, "the 'Enough' study focuses more on attitude toward money and less on how to spend and save it."
MARYVILLE: The Bread of Life at First Gatlinburg UMC (featured by United Methodist News Service and The Call) has experienced food shortages and increased demands within the last month. If you can help with food or financial donations, send a check to First UMC, 742 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738-3206, or e-mail email@example.com.
MORRISTOWN: Talley's Chapel UMC reports that recent Change for Children grants have been put to good use. The Community Outreach Program for ages 3 to 16 has grown from two to 50 in attendance. "Our normal routine consists of upbeat music, supper, classses, and games," reports the Rev. Roy Dalton. The ministry runs year-round on Wednesday nights from 5:45 to 8 p.m. – with six-week cycles followed by two weeks off.
OAK RIDGE: Send news to firstname.lastname@example.org or to: The Call, P.O. Box 850, Alcoa, TN 37701-0850.
TAZEWELL: Midway UMC had "Tailgate Sunday" on Aug. 31. The congregation and community were invited to wear their favorite team colors to worship followed by a cookout in the parking lot. The Rev. Paul McNalley, a Green Bay Packers fan, wore his "cheesehead" throughout the sermon as he talked about new beginnings. Thirty faithful members attended, "and the cars that drove by saw a church having fun during worship," reports Kathy McNalley.
WYTHEVILLE: Instead of a long-distance mission trip, district youth pastors organized a week of mission work in their own communities. The goal was to keep the cost down, increase participation, encourage smaller churches to participate, and build relationships among youth. "With a cost of only $50, attendance maxed out at 85 youth," reports Chris Luper. Students worked at nursing homes, a children's home, a cemetery, and residential homes in Radford, Pulaski, Wytheville, Galax, and Hillsville. Volunteers from five churches provided meals, and St. Paul UMC provided housing. "It is amazing to see the connection that formed between so many of these students," says Luper.