The Call newsletter: June 4, 2022

The Call newsletter: June 4, 2022

That year we returned to the lake

Everybody’s talking about how happy they are to be returning to Lake Junaluska, North Carolina, June 5-8, for the Holston Annual Conference. After two years of wacky, disjointed annual meetings full of stops and starts, delays and reschedules, online and partial gatherings forced by the pandemic, about 2,000 United Methodists from churches in East Tennessee, Southwest Virginia, and North Georgia are expected to convene in person tomorrow in Stuart Auditorium.
If you are attending Annual Conference, one of the changes you’ll notice is daily news from The Call will not be printed on paper overnight and handed out every morning. The main reason is that staff shortages and schedule changes at local printers made it impossible to turn over print in a timely way. Many (although not all) of our readers also told us they would prefer to receive their news online.
A bonus is we are saving about $3,500 by not printing on paper this year.
So, you will find the news of what’s happening at Annual Conference every day at Subscribers of The Call (and you must be one already, because here you are) will also receive morning emails with the day’s schedule and the previous day’s reports.
If someone tells you they aren’t receiving the emails, please have them sign up for it here. If email and online reading aren't easy for some of our members, let’s try to help them, perhaps by showing them where to go on their phones or laptops, or even printing it out for them.
The plan is to provide a PDF with a final report on Thursday, June 9, that will be easy for church members to access and share with their congregations.
I’m grateful that my friend and colleague Buzz Trexler is returning to Lake Junaluska this year -- with his camera and wise editorial counsel -- to help us keep you informed.
Annette Spence
Editor, The Call
  Top Stories   
As Annual Conference approaches, all hands on deck in Alcoa

A building that has been unoccupied for long periods over the last two years was teeming with activity this week as staff prepared for Holston Annual Conference. The work was sometimes difficult as various illnesses, transitions, denominational division, and a pandemic-induced absence from Lake Junaluska complicated planning and preparation. From The Call. Read story.

New 'Invitation Team' launches with video 
The Rev. Kim Goddard, Cabinet member, and Becky Hall, conference lay leader, introduce a new "Invitation Team" to help Holston Conference move into the future amid denominational division. From Holston Conference Communications. See video.

Church court modifies ruling on bishop elections
The United Methodist Church’s top court has modified an earlier ruling to say that newly elected U.S. bishops will take office on Jan. 1, 2023. The Judicial Council previously ruled that the Council of Bishops could call U.S. jurisdictional conferences this year to elect and assign new bishops. From UM NewsRead story.

Africa Initiative ponders future of Methodism
Members of the Africa Initiative advocacy group gathered to discuss the future of The United Methodist Church and the implications of the recent launch of a new traditionalist Methodist denomination. From UM NewsRead story.

Chicago church preaches 'Gospel according to Dolly Parton'
Dolly Parton's ability to bridge divides through her music helped one congregation get to know each other after a long separation caused by the pandemic, says the Rev. Britt Cox. Each Sunday’s sermon at Church of the Three Crosses has focused on a different song by the country music star from Sevierville, Tennessee. From Religion News Service. Read story.

The List: Prayer partners
The theme for this year's Annual Conference is "Pray Together." During the June 5-8 sessions at Lake Junaluska, Bishop James Swanson and Rev. Tom Albin will preach and teach on prayer. These members will also lead pre-mealtime prayers:
  • Monday lunch | Rev. Nathan Irwin, First UMC, Maryville, Tenn.
  • Monday dinner | Rev. Beth Tipton, Wesley Foundation, Wise, Va.
  • Tuesday lunch | Rev. Walter Cross, Martin Chapel/ Lonsdale UMC, Knoxville, Tenn. 
  • Tuesday dinner | Margaret Frazier, Colonial Heights UMC, Kingsport, Tenn.

  Photo of the Week   
After the May 24 mass shootings at a school in Ulvade, Texas, the Rev. Melissa Malcolm and St. Matthew UMC joined other churches across the nation by setting 19 child-size empty chairs and two adult-size empty chairs on the lawn to represent the victims. Later, the Kingsport, Tennessee, church added 10 more chairs to represent victims of a May 14 mass shooting in Buffalo, New York. “God does not want this kind of violence," Malcolm told WJHL. 
  In Memoriam   
Rev. David L. Gilbert, age 77, May 28, Norton, Va. See obituary.


Holston Annual Conference
June 5-8, Lake Junaluska. Find out more.
United Methodist Church
June 12: Peace With Justice Sunday. Get resources.
Holston United Women in Faith
July 22-23: Mission u in Knoxville. More info.
Holston Calendar
UMC Calendar

   Back Issues  

May 27 issue
May 19 issue
May 13 issue
May 6 issue


The Call is Holston Conference's weekly newsletter for 840 United Methodist congregations in East Tennessee, Southwest Virginia, and North Georgia. Contact Annette Spence, editor, at