In May of 2009, a very nice young couple came to First Severville United Methodist Church and told us a story of a church they had started in their apartment. The church had grown to about 20 people, and they needed more room for the church.
They had been praying for a place to meet. As they drove down Parkway Drive that goes in front of First UMC, they felt God leading them to come in and talk with us. We had just purchased the old Christian Church and another building right across from our sanctuary.
They came in and told me and Bruce, our associate, how God had led them to us. They also shared their hopes and dreams for the church and asked if we had anywhere they might be able to meet.
I called the president of our trustees and requested a meeting of the trustees to consider this ministry and offer them a place in the church we just purchased. They met and approved the request. The Church Leadership Team agreed with the trustees and a new partnership was born. We also contacted the Rev. Carol Wilson, our district superintendent, and Bishop James Swanson, our resident bishop, to make sure this was okay with the Conference.
In June 2009 the Ministry of the Holy Spirit started, and it has been growing ever since. They have two worship services a week: Wednesdays and Saturdays. They have class for the children (like our Sunday school) and the ladies started a Bible Study. They have grown in attendance from that first 20 or so people to 65-80..
Just recently Robinson and Miryam Polanco, the leaders of this ministry, told us they felt called to start a new Hispanic Church in Arkansas. The Ministry of the Holy Spirit will become an official part of First UMC Sevierville on Aug. 7, in a celebration of the Polanco’s ministry and the beginnings of a new Methodist ministry. The people of the Ministry of the Holy Spirit, desiring to become United Methodist and part of First UMC, will be welcomed on that night. We will welcome Susanna and Wilmer Lopez and their family as the new leaders of this ministry.
We have been able to do this and keep this vital ministry going with the help of the Rev. Carol Wilson, Maryville District Superintendent, and the blessings of Bishop James Swanson, Rev. Jim Dougherty, Holston Conference Hispanic Ministry, the Rev. Arturo Reyna, and the Rev. Richard Edwards, director of congregational development.
This is an exciting time in the life of First UMC as we partner in ministry with our brothers and sisters of “The Ministry of the Holy Spirit."