From our May newspaper: News from your district
ABINGDON: The Rev. Barbara Clark raised awareness of children in poverty by taking off her shoes and standing in the church parking lot. She and Anderson Street UMC – along with the Rev. Joe-d DowlingSoka of First Bristol UMC – were featured in the Bristol Herald Courier for their "One Day Without Shoes" on April 8. The barefoot campaign was created by Toms Shoes, which gives away a new pair of shoes for every pair sold. "Wearing shoes and practicing basic hygiene can prevent infection and disease due to unsafe roads and contaminated soil," the Toms.com site says. Anderson Street also donated new shoes to Holston Home for Children and Anderson Elementary.
BIG STONE GAP: Winter weather delayed construction at Hiltons Memorial UMC, "but with the crocuses came brick and mortar," says church secretary Charlotte Price. The $1.72 million project will include a new multipurpose building and renovation of the education unit for a combined space of 10,000 square feet. Project complete date: September 2010.
CHATTANOOGA: The harsh winter also delayed Signal Mountain UMC's construction of a new sanctuary, fellowship hall, restrooms, and renovated classroom space. The 7,832-square-foot addition will cost $900,000 – financed with a $50,000 grant from Holston's congregational development committee as well as "significant loan support," said the Rev. J.N. Howard. The space will be ready by Thanksgiving.
CLEVELAND: Calhoun and Spring Creek UMC are teaming up to feed 60 families in the community, reports the Rev. Pat Bishop. The food pantry is open the second and fourth Thursday of each month for two hours. "The need is growing but the Lord always provides what is needed," she says.
JOHNSON CITY: In March, Buffalo Mountain Camp celebrated groundbreaking for a new pavillion, where Nancy Collins and her beloved campers will have a better place to boogie. Collins raised most of the $12,000 for the first phase. The total amount needed to finish the project is $75,000. If you haven't experienced a Buffalo Mountain afternoon with Dancing Nancy and a hundred footloose campers, you haven't lived.
KINGSPORT: The Rev. Nathan Flora was Milligan College's first full-time campus minister since the 1960s. After 11 years on the beat, Flora is leaving to accept a Holston appointment at Morrison Chapel UMC. Flora's ministry was praised by students and staff in The Stampede, Milligan's newspaper. "I've always loved the idea of serving a local church, so I've kept my eyes open for an opportunity," he said, explaining his departure.
KNOXVILLE: The week before Easter, 52 youth and adults from Church Street UMC and Concord UMC took a mission trip to Bahamas Methodist Habitat on the island of Eleuthra. Early in the week, a tornado struck the Grand Bahama. The mission group was asked to pick nine of their most skilled workers, and they were promptly flown to Freeport. "We were on the ground with our tools and equipment within 24 hours," says the Rev. Darryl Rasnake. "Although the scale of the disaster was not as big as anticipated, we were able to do some projects over the next 36 hours."
MARYVILLE: Eden Carnes is a kindergartener, but she's a veteran in charitable giving. Four of her five birthdays have been opportunities to give rather than get. On her second birthday she collected supplies for a low-cost spay/neuter clinic. At three, she gathered baby supplies for a pregnancy center. At four, she hosted a fire-safety party for 30 kids at the Blount County Fire Department. The Maryville Daily Times named Carnes an "Unsung Hero" and listed her many selfless acts. She is the daughter of Rich Carnes, lay pastor at Axley's Chapel UMC.
MORRISTOWN: on March 28 Parrottsville UMC dedicated a new elevator in hopes that the physically challenged will have a safer route to the sanctuary than the steep stairs leading up the front of the church. A Margaret Loving grant from the Holston Conference Foundation paid for part of the elevator; a donation from the community took care of the rest.
OAK RIDGE: When youth director Tyler Nease started chatting with youth director Mindy Hunley at Resurrection last January, he learned that half of Hunley's kids couldn't attend due to lack of funds. Nease spoke with his youth council at Kern Memorial UMC, who agreed to pay for 19 youth from Old Union UMC to attend next year's Resurrection. In April, Nease took nine youth from his church to worship with the Old Union youth in Church Hill. The Kern Memorial youth presented a check for $475.
TAZEWELL: A hospice approached Looney's Chapel UMC to ask for a weekly home-cooked meal for their patients and caregivers. Church members agreed and chose Thursday mornings to cook, says Pastor Sylvia Jones. Then they decided to include shut-ins and others who could use a good, hot meal. Now every Thursday for the last two months, three or four women have met in the church kitchen to prepare a deliverable feast for 15 to 20 people.
WYTHEVILLE: Superintendent Meg Taylor reports that 171 attended lay speaking school, including 42 youth from Out of the Box ministry at First Hillsville UMC. "The newly-certified youth planned and led a district youth rally on March 26," Taylor says. "Six of the youth shared their testimonies." Because it has several large circuits, Wytheville District is rich with preaching opportunities for lay speakers of all ages, Taylor says.
See also these past editions of "District Roundup," available in PDF files from The Call: