If clicks are votes, the following 10 posts were the most read by our subscribers in the past year of The Call. The list includes original stories as well as content from other publications.
At the bottom of this email, we're also sharing the top posts from our social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Other stories from Holston Conference posted over the past year did not have the highest number of email readers, but were shared all over the world by United Methodist News Service and other publications. These include stories of recovery from addiction or cancer, evangelism in the form of a downtown coffee shop, loving responses shown after shooting violence or weather-related tragedies, and pastors and students stepping up to take mission to new or forgotten places.
We'll see you in 2022 with more stories of hope and opportunities peeking out among the challenges.
1. Rising virus cases force planners to change Annual Conference
Tension in the Holston Conference office building was so evident in August that staff members gathered for afternoon prayer and “holy breathing.” The crisis of the moment was an angst-filled decision to change Annual Conference to a hybrid event. (Aug. 19) From The Call. Read story.
2. Pandemic restrictions for Holston churches lifted May 1
As governors altered their state mask mandates and vaccinated Americans felt safer to return to public places, Holston Conference responded to diminishing COVID-19 cases by giving local churches freedom to decide how to proceed through the rest of the pandemic. (April 30) From The Call. Read story.
3. Closed by city, Knoxville church works to reopen
In March, church and city officials worked together to expedite the reopening of Magnolia Avenue UMC after the building was closed and declared “unfit for human habitation." By November, the church had reopened for weekly worship. (March 4) From The Call. Read story.
4. Megachurch seeks exit over appointment strife
The largest congregation in the North Georgia Conference announced that its senior pastor was surrendering his credentials and it planned to leave The United Methodist Church. Mt. Bethel UMC in Marietta made the announcement following a weeklong public protest. (April 26) From UM News. Read story.
5. $700K gift gives hope to small church
Tate's Chapel UMC, a church founded in the late 1800s near Chilhowie, Virginia, learned that a woman had bequeathed $700,000 to the church. The magnitude of the gift left four older church members wondering if they were up to managing such a sum. (May 31) From Bristol Herald Courier. Read story.
6. Pastors share appointment news on social media
Moments after an online meeting concluded on June 8, Holston clergy went to their Facebook pages to announce a new year in ministry. Pastors knew for months of their projected whereabouts but were not permitted to disclose until a set date. (June 11) From The Call. Read story.
7. First day Q&A: Bishop Wallace-Padgett arrives
On Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett’s first day as Holston's new episcopal leader, she sat down to answer questions in her Alcoa Conference Center office after a long and busy day of introductions and meetings. (Sept. 9) From The Call. Read story.
8. Alcoa church affiliates with traditionalist group
Leaders of First Alcoa UMC released a press release in August, announcing their affiliation with the Wesleyan Covenant Association and their plans to transition to a new denomination. From The Daily Times. (Aug. 5) Read press release.
9. Conference assumes management of megachurch
Citing strife over a new pastor’s appointment and other issues, North Georgia Conference leaders voted to take over management of the conference’s largest-membership congregation, Mt. Bethel UMC. (July 13) From UM News. Read story.
10. WCA plans new denomination
The Wesleyan Covenant Association met April 30-May 1, continuing to plan for a new, traditionalist Methodist denomination and passing a resolution criticizing three United Methodist bishops for recent appointment-making decisions. (May 3) From UM News. Read story.
Top Facebook post (below)
A photo of our Cabinet and a prayer request during "appointment week" in March captured more attention from our 6.4K followers than any other 2021 post on the Holston Conference UMC Facebook page.
Top tweet (below)
A photo from a United Methodist pastor in an Ugandan refugee camp made the biggest impression among the 2.2K followers of Holston Conference's Twitter account on Aug. 18.
Top Instagram post (below)
On Aug. 16, a prayer request concerning heartbreaking news from Haiti and Afghanistan and sharing the concerns of parents with schoolchildren resonated with 1,053 followers of Holston's Instagram account and beyond.
The Call is Holston Conference's newsletter for 850 United Methodist congregations in East Tennessee, Southwest Virginia, and North Georgia. Contact Annette Spence, editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org.