Magnolia Avenue welcomes 84 at celebration service

Magnolia Avenue welcomes 84 at celebration service

The Rev. Tim Jackson and his wife, Tina Jackson, serve Holy Communion at Magnolia Avenue United Methodist Church on Nov. 14.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Nine months after city officials closed Magnolia Avenue United Methodist Church and declared it “unfit for human habitation,” 84 gathered in the East Knoxville church Sunday night for a worship service celebrating a revitalization effort.

“Physically, spiritually, relationally, we are a church under construction,” the Rev. Tim Jackson, pastor, said as he welcomed worshipers in the sanctuary on Nov. 14.

Worship was led by Paul Jones, director of worship and creative media at Cokesbury United Methodist Church. He was joined by vocalists and a praise band.

In a video shared during the service, Jones said he quickly and passionately became invested in helping revive Magnolia Avenue when Jackson approached him for help.

Built in 1926 and once home to a large congregation with 750 in average worship attendance, the red brick, Gothic-style church has declined for decades. In recent weeks, volunteers have worked to renovate the building amid vital ministries that still exist, including a free medical clinic and free lunch on Mondays, Jackson said.

Holston Conference congregational development funds are being invested in the building’s repair, according to Holston officials.

“If you’re looking for a place to serve, I’m not going to ask you for money,” Jackson said. “I’m going to ask you to help rebuild and restore this church so the gospel of Jesus Christ can be shared with this community.”

Jackson preached on Lamentations 3:19-25. Bishop Dindy Taylor offered the benediction prior to a community dinner.

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Annette Spence

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

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