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Youth at St. Elmo UMC entered the Resurrection T-shirt contest several times in recent years, but failed to win the opportunity to produce and sell the official shirt of the annual youth gathering each January in Gatlinburg. Last year, they were sure of victory – with the design created by an artistic member, Caitlin Dowell. They didn’t.
“They were so disappointed,” says Becky Myatt, a youth volunteer. “A lot of our youth are low-income and can’t afford to purchase a shirt, so we made shirts with Caitlin’s design for them to wear, anyway.”
This summer, Dowell came up with an even better design – and St. Elmo won! “They are over-the-top elated,” says Myatt. “This is very big for St. Elmo. The money we can earn from this could help us keep our ministry running for years.” Ten percent of the profits will be tithed for Youth Service Fund. (See the winning design.)
-- Chuck Cardwell, youth worker, St. Elmo UMC, Chattanooga, Tenn.
St. Marks UMC is looking forward to welcoming and hosting a group of Georgetown University students this Thanksgiving season. These students, members of the Georgetown Muslim Student Association, are traveling to the Chattanooga area to perform community service projects over their school's holiday break. Our St. Marks community and other area groups will share service, fellowship, and meals with these students.
In a time when mistrust and misinformation abound between religious groups, we are anxious to show Christian hospitality, spend time in meaningful conversation, and build positive relationships between our communities. The students will stay onsite at St. Marks and participate in various service projects such as playground restoration and painting.
Various families and groups will sponsor meals to join with the students over a meal for meaningful conversations. The students are participating in the Grateful Gobbler Walk on Thanksgiving. On Friday at 1 p.m., an Interfaith Prayer service will be held followed by lunch at St.Marks. On Friday evening, the students will participate in an Interfaith Thanksgiving Service at Mizpah Temple.
On Sunday morning, a breakfast will be provided at St.Marks, with prayer led by Rabbi Tepper from Mizpah with reflections shared by the students prior to their departure.
-- Carl Greene, Leadership Team Chair, St. Marks UMC
Church closes: Riceville UMC celebrated the conclusion of 166 years of ministry with a memorial worship service on Nov. 10. “The church congregation is very small and the building developed a mold problem that they couldn't fix,” said the Rev. Gayle Crabtree. “They are on a circuit with Piney Grove [United ethodist Church] in Athens, who will absorbing any members that want to remain on the roll.”
The Rev. Joe Green, district superintendent, spoke to about 40 worshippers gathered for the outdoor service. The stained glass windows date back to 1901, Crabtree said. See photos.
-- Rev. Gayle Crabtree, Riceville-Piney Grove UMC
First Cleveland UMC is well into its Imagine No Malaria effort to help Holston Conference save 100,000 lives by June 2013.
“The youth and the children are really taking a lead,” the Rev. Tom Seay said. “One little girl, without prompting from a parent, asked for no birthday gifts. Instead, she asked that all of her gifts be money for saving lives through Imagine No Malaria.” Another child raised money to fight malaria during her trick-or-treat rounds. “The parents and grandparents have been very good about making kids earn the money and not just providing an easy way to serve,” Seay said.
Meanwhile, the youth at First Cleveland participated in a service project, replacing smoke alarm batteries for the seniors. When the happy homeowner gave the youth some money for their good deed, “the youth then turned right around and gave it to Imagine No Malaria,” Seay said.
On Christmas Eve, First Cleveland will devote its offering to Imagine No Malaria. “We expect to reach our goal of 500 saved ($5,000) by Christmas Eve, so we are going to ask God to bless us enough to save another 500 by Annual Conference,” he said.
-- Rev. Tom Seay, First Cleveland UMC
In an effort to reach neighbors in a growing nearby subdivision, Savannah UMC hosted a concert with Dove Award-winning gospel singer Ann Downing on Oct. 28.
“We have some people in the Church that use to work with Southern Gospel Quartets, so we have some ‘internal connections,’” said the Rev. Glenn Mosely. “The church house was nearly full with close to 100 people attending. We had several visitors that Sunday, with which we plan follow-ups.”
-- Rev. Glenn Moseley, Mt. Zion-Savannah UMC
District Youth are hosting a fundraiser for Imagine No Malaria at the East Stone Chick-Fil-A on Monday, Nov. 26, 4-8 p.m. Print this PDF form to bring along.
-- Joshua Russell, district youth coordinator
Alternative gift fair:First Maryville UMC held an alternative gift fair on Sunday, Nov. 11. Our Imagine No Malaria Team arranged for special gift tags to be made through the children and youth departments. A local artist in our congregation, Susan Colclough, designed the tags. Our children and youth colored them. The tags were then collected into sets of six and sold for a $1 donation. (Most contributors gave more.)
We also served hot cider for donations and sold t-shirts we had designed for our church's initiative. The shirts are simple: black with white lettering in the word, "Imagine." We saved 50 lives that day with t-shirts, cider, and gift tags, and we introduced new people from other parts of our community to the initiative. As always, God takes such simple means to do something extraordinary.
– Rev. Asa Hendrickson Majors, First UMC, Maryville, Tenn.
Annette Spence is editor of The Call, the Holston Conference newspaper.