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On Sept. 30, district youth held their first-ever Farmapalooza Festaroostock event, which loosely translates as “fun on a farm.” More than 160 youth and adults gathered on a farm in Jonesborough, Tenn., for an evening of fun and fellowship together. They cooked hotdogs, roasted s’mores for dinner, and played flag football, Frisbee, and cornhole. Laura McCoy, one of our Conference Council on Youth Ministries (CCYM) representatives, gave a wonderful devotion after some of the youth leaders led the group in worship around the camp fire.
The entire evening was a benefit for Buffalo Mountain Camp, and Johnson City District Youth raised more than $1,350 to benefit the camp’s flood-recovery effort. The evening was blessed, especially to see youth from so many different churches gathered together for fellowship and worship, all while raising money for the camp that is so close to their hearts.
-- Amanda Oaks, Youth Coordinator, Munsey Memorial UMC
Unicoi UMC is focusing on our denomination’s Call to Action by developing a more intentional missional presence locally, nationally, and internationally.
We are working toward developing six local mission projects that we "adopt" for two months at a time throughout the year. We started in May and June by adopting a local family. The husband/father is waiting for a heart transplant and the church assisted by collecting cleaning supplies, collecting games and activities for the children, and taking off their garbage.
In July and August we focused on our local Telamon Migrant Head Start. We hosted a nice meal for the staff and their families as a way of saying “thank you” for the work they do with children. We had people tell us that "no one had ever done anything like that" for them before. The director told me she had been there well over a dozen years and nobody had ever thought about them like this.
One day we provided the children their "Best Day Ever." We drew from the "what would it take" presentation at Annual Conference for the idea. Coordinating with the director and staff at Telamon, we arranged for a giant inflatable castle to be set up on their premises. We had different games with lots of prizes. We provided free snow cones, served pizza and drinks for lunch, and gave away helium balloons. (See photos on Facebook.)
Our youth took a mission trip to Kentucky this summer, thereby fulfilling our commitment to national missions. We are in the process of putting together a team to travel to Ghana, Africa, next year. In addition, we continue to support the African Outreach Orphanage in Ghana as part of our international commitment.
-- Rev. Todd Kingrea, pastor, Unicoi UMC
Sycamore Tree UMC celebrated its 10th birthday on Sunday, Oct. 21. Ten years ago the congregation began worshiping weekly at the West Chevrolet Mountain View Conference Center in Alcoa. Sycamore Tree received 14 new members on the 21st, and 10 the following week. The church will have four baptisms in the next few weeks as well.
In the past 10 years, Sycamore Tree has seen more than $154,000 in missions giving, beyond the apportionment "tithe" and renovation costs. What a generous congregation! There is no way we could be where we are today if we did not teach year-round about generosity. I asked Sunday, 'Who would not want to be a part of a church like ours?" One member said after the service, “I know who would not want to be a part of our church: Someone who is lazy or stingy.” As United Methodist Christians we are called to be generous and active, and that is a major reason Sycamore Tree has done so well.
-- Rev. Jeff Wadley, pastor, Sycamore Tree UMC
What is this tree? (See photo at top of page.) This is the symbol of Broadway UMC’s campaign to share God’s abundance.
During April and May our previous pastor, the Rev. Amy Probst, described to us how God has provided a world that brings forth enough food to feed every person living on our planet. She went on to show us how many people in the world and in our own neighborhoods are going to bed hungry while we as a nation waste tons of food each day.
Through our journey in understanding scripture we were challenged to share the abundance God has by dedicating at least 90 minutes over the next 90 days to projects to help the needy of the world.
The response was documented by placing a leaf on the “90 in 90” tree pictured above. As you can see, our tree bloomed out with leaves covering all its branches. We had at least 106 people who placed leaves to document service on this tree. Many placed multiple leaves showing different service tasks completed. We have easily exceeded 200 person hours of service.
Some of the projects we helped with include:
• Stocking and serving food from our Brown Food Pantry
• Community Food Connection food drive ( more than $16,000 raised)
• Helping distribute food at Community Food Connection
• Welcome Table help at New Providence Presbyterian and First Maryville UMC
• Society of St. Andrew sweet potato drop at Concord UMC
• Society of St. Andrew sweet Potato drop at Sycamore UMC
• Wounded Warriors
• Family Promise
• Food buckets for Liberia
• One Harvest distributions
The work is continuing with our new pastor, the Rev. Laura Rasor, as we seek to help our neighbors who are in need.
-- William Henry, Outreach Committee chair, Broadway UMC
The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is dedicated to alleviating human suffering at home and around the globe. UMCOR’s work reaches people in more than 80 countries, including the United States. Most of us cannot travel to the aid of families who are devastated when a natural disaster hits a community.
However, UMCOR offers many ways for people to help without leaving home. UMCOR collects relief-supplies that include health kits, sewing kits, school kits, bedding kits, birthing kits, and cleaning buckets that are sent to emergency supply depots. At UMCOR-Sager Brown Depot, more than 2,000 volunteers prepare about $4 million in supplies for shipment from the Baldwin, La., campus.
During the week of Sept. 24-29, a team of 15 from First Oak Ridge UMC responded to the call for UMCOR volunteers by traveling to Sager Brown to work alongside other volunteer teams from Ozark UMC of Missouri; the North Central Florida United Methodist Women; and Cherokee UMC of Johnson City, Tenn. The goal was to verify and pack kits to be sent to various locations throughout the United States and the world. Volunteers on hand delivered 280 “cleaning buckets” to the Hurricane Isaac-damaged area of Braithwaite, La., during this week. (See photos on Facebook.)
When asked what local churches should know about Sager Brown, Kathy Kraiza, executive director of UMCOR-Sager Brown, responded with the reminder that every single emergency kit sent to the depot counts, as it touches someone who is in need, whether in the United States or far from our shores. Let us remember the power of one and that we are all in this together.
--Linda Yarbrough, First Oak Ridge UMC