The Call: August 13, 2020 edition

The Call: August 13, 2020 edition

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Back to something normal

The Rev. Sharon Wright was ecstatic when she saw the announcement from Bishop Dindy Taylor in her inbox last week. “Read your email!” she texted the Rev. David Jackson, her co-pastor at Emory United Methodist Church.
After months of uncertainty about how to resume both school and in-person worship amid rising coronavirus cases, many churches in Holston Conference have been busy the last two weeks reaching out to students and teachers and preparing to offer outdoor worship. Read story.

Bishop Taylor permits outdoor meetings  

"I am excited to announce, that with safety measures in place, churches are now able to offer outdoor opportunities for worship, service, and connection," Holston Conference's resident bishop, Dindy Taylor, announced Aug. 10. Read letter.

Willis: A lifetime of crossing racial bridges

The Rev. Walter Willis served in Holston's first cross-racial appointment and witnessed a tragic event in history that makes him feel "conflicted" with concern for modern-day protesters. "You fear for their lives," he said. Willis, who lives in Oak Ridge, just celebrated his 89th birthday. From The Call. Read story.

Nance kicks off first year at Church Street

While many pastors come to a church with fresh ideas, the Rev. Catherine Nance has the unique perspective of serving as the first female senior pastor of this large Knoxville church. John Shearer reports for The Chattanoogan. Read story.

Pastor's death shows COVID-19 in rural areas

A small United Methodist church in Texas is "absolutely heartbroken" after losing its pastor to COVID-19. The Rev. Tom Wood, pastor of First UMC in Itasca, died July 29 at the age of 83. The rural church had begun meeting in person again May 3. From Religion News Service. Read story.

Seeing removal of statues as 'doing no harm'  

As debate over Confederate symbolism continues across the U.S., some United Methodists believe the continued presence of such tributes is doing harm. One of those is the Rev. Isaac Collins, pastor at Friendsville UMC in Blount County, Tennessee. From UM News. Read story.

Erwin church inspires generosity

A member at Centenary UMC shows love by donating in honor or in memory of people who have made a difference. Selflessness is in Centenary’s DNA, says Jessica Casey. From United Methodist Communications. Read story.

House connections = hope

"This season has been more exhausting than anything I’ve ever done in ministry," says the Rev. Michael Vaughn, pastor of Telford UMC. And yet, there's something going on over the kitchen table that gives him deep hope for the church's future. From The Call. Read blog.

  Photo of the Week  


Last week, 50 "cleaning buckets" and several hygiene kits were delivered to Bishop, Virginia, where homes were flooded by heavy rains on July 30. The buckets and kits were assembled by Holston Conference churches. Pictured are the Rev. Daniel Bradley, pastor of Alexander Memorial UMC, and Mike Walker, Project Crossroads worker.

  More Information  



General Board of Global Ministries
#StillinMission, Oct. 8, Nov. 19
Holston's Church & Community Workers will share their work through Zoom meetings.
Holston United Methodist Women
Annual Meeting: Sept. 26


  Past Issues  

August 7 edition
July's top 5 headlines
July 30 edition
July 23 edition

The Call is Holston Conference's weekly newsletter for 853 United Methodist congregations in East Tennessee, Southwest Virginia, and North Georgia. Contact Annette Spence, editor, at

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