Kingsport church serves near, far through annual missions festival

Kingsport church serves near, far through annual missions festival

Children at First Broad Street United Methodist Church stock backpacks with school supplies for students in Africa. Photo by Annette Spence

KINGSPORT, Tenn. --  First Broad Street United Methodist Church celebrated its 27th annual missions festival by giving more than $80,000 to the city's homeless ministry, packing more than 40,000 meals for hungry people in other nations, and welcoming a resident bishop in her inaugural year.

The “Missions Celebration” featured numerous speakers and activities March 4-6 under the theme, “A Wide Door of Opportunity Has Opened,” based on 1 Corinthians 16:9.

The weekend festival also served as a send-off for a mission team departing for Uganda a few days later on March 8.
Bishop Wallace-Padgett preaches on March 6.

Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett was a keynote speaker, preaching at two Sunday morning worship services and participating in the Missions Celebration eight months after beginning her leadership  over Holston Conference.

“This church is involved in mission within the walls and all around the world, and I commend you for that,” Wallace-Padgett told church members.

She spoke of how mission and ministry is about walking toward God (“the one”) as well as going outside the church to serve others. “It is my privilege to walk through that wide door of opportunity to the 'one' and to the 'other ones' with you.”

Other speakers included the Rev. Ray Buchanan, founder of Rise Against Hunger, and Alfiado Zunguza, conflict resolution staff with the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries.

Danny Howe, First Broad Street missions director, invited church members to give their “Faith Promise,” a commitment to mission ministry in the coming year. By March 7, 186 members had committed to a total of $74,992, according to Kristy Rowe, missions assistant.

The Rev. Randy Frye, senior pastor, presented an $80,293 check to Kingsport Homeless Ministry. On Saturday, 122 participants packed 40,176 meals for Rise Against Hunger.
Alfiado Zunguza speaks on March 5. 

The Rev. Harry Howe, Project Crossroads executive director in Marion, Virginia, spoke to Sunday school classes. He also led children in packing 50 backpacks with school supplies for Holston Conference’s Hands-on Mission Project for Zimbabwe and Liberia in June 2022.

Other Sunday school speakers included Stella Robinette, Help our Potential Evolve (HOPE); Katie Blacklock, First Broad Street director of children’s ministries; Adam Harber, Sleep in Heavenly Peace; Paul Bowman, Holston Foundation; Mike Feely, Mountain T.O.P. (Tennessee Outreach Project); Libby Dearing and Noell Howe, South Sudan/ Uganda Children’s Education; and Bobby Flowers, Kingsport Homeless Ministry.

On March 8, Danny Howe led a mission team departing for Arua, Uganda. The team will meet with South Sudanese pastors and children living in refugee camps as part of a long-term mission partnership between Holston Conference and United Methodist churches in South Sudan. Other team members include Paul Bowman, Kristy Rowe, Noell Howe, and Libby Dearing. The Rev. Fred Dearing is already on the ground in Uganda.
Left: Mission team departs for Uganda on March 8. From left to right: Paul Bowman, Kristy Rowe, Danny Howe, Noell Howe, and Libby Dearing.

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Holston Conference includes 850 United Methodist congregations in East Tennessee, Southwest Virginia, and North Georgia.


Annette Spence

Annette Spence is editor of The Call, the Holston Conference newsletter.