We asked the district superintendents and Bishop James Swanson to share their thanksgiving responses!
Michael Hubble, Abingdon District:
"I am thankful for the gift of life and the opportunity to serve with the wonderful laity and clergy in the Abingdon District. It has been a joy to visit the churches and hear about all they are doing to grow God's Kingdom in their communities. I am grateful for their readiness to give and to serve."
Archer Coppedge, Big Stone Gap District:
"I am thankful for the opportunity to share ministry with the churches and pastors in the Big Stone Gap District and Bishop Swanson and Cabinet. All are a reminder of the love and joy of the Lord."
Fred Dearing, Chattanooga District:
"I am thankful for the churches who through their offerings enabled 200 people to get off the streets; reconciled 125 families; provided over $1 million of free medical care to the working poor; provided leadership training, education, and spiritual development to over 500 children and youth; distributed over 14 tons of food in one month to the hungry; and feed around 300 homeless people every week. Amen."
Mike Travis, Cleveland District:
"I am thankful for answered prayer, for Christian fellowship, and for the churches in the Cleveland District who work to offer Christ."
David Graves, Kingsport District:
"I am thankful to have the opportunity to be in ministry with committed pastors and the wonderful laity of the Kingsport District. In the midst of our current circumstances, I am thankful that the best is always yet to come … when we enter the gates of Heaven and see Jesus face to face!"
Doug Fairbanks, Knoxville District:
"During our cluster charge conferences, I have, at times, been moved to tears of joy as local congregations have related one act of ministry after another, assuring me that our churches are acting with Open Minds, Open Hearts and Open Doors. In spite of all the challenges of the day, there are glimpses of the Kingdom all over Knoxville. Thus, I am thankful for the faithfulness of the clergy and laity of the Knoxville District."
Randy Frye, Johnson City District:
"I am thankful for the partnership that the Johnson City District has established with the UMC in the Czech Republic. Over the past four years, 23 teams have gone to the Czech with participants from almost half of our churches. This year more than $23,000 was raised by our district churches to support this effort. God has blessed us very much through the partnership!"
Carol Wilson, Maryville District:
"I continue to be thankful for the congregations of the Maryville District who, from our smallest to our largest, find creative ways to reach out to their communities and beyond with acts of compassion and welcome."
Mickey Rainwater, Morristown District:
"I am thankful for all of the lay men and women in the Morristown District who feel a call to share the gospel, and who serve as local church and certified Lay Speakers in the Morristown District."
Adam McKee, Oak Ridge District:
"Each day through my prayers I express how thankful I am to have been blessed with the opportunity to serve the Holston Conference and specifically the wonderful clergy and laity that comprise the Oak Ridge District. In this Advent season and the New Year to come we will face many challenges, but I firmly believe that the Lord will make a way somehow!"
Don Nation, Tazewell District:
"I am thankful for the people who faithfully share Christ-like love in big projects and in daily habits here in Tazewell District. They demonstrate abiding confidence in the mission, care, and support that is the body of Christ, no matter the momentary circumstances."
Meg Taylor, Wytheville District:
"I am thanking God for dear friends back in the Chattanooga District and for my new district, Wytheville. They are very mission-oriented and most churches have either paid their 2009 apportionments in full or are on time to pay them off. The former superintendent, Dr. Chuck Starks, encouraged the churches to pay their Fair Share within a 10-month pay-out plan, and most are doing that."
Bishop James Swanson:
"I am thankful for life and the wonderful opportunity to be the bishop of the Holston Annual Conference, where I get to be partners with so many people who love the Lord and show it in their service to people they know and people they will never know, all over the world."