The Call: November 11, 2021

The Call: November 11, 2021



Loving them to the grave

For four years, Shades of Grace UMC has led this community memorial service, always timed for the Saturday near All Saints Day, for local persons whose bodies were never claimed. The church also pays for their cremations. The ministry is expanding due to COVID-19, addiction and poverty, says the Rev. Will Shewey. From The Call. Read story.


Bishops offer framework for inclusive church

As the denomination edges toward some form of separation, bishops offer a narrative to describe their hopes for the continuing United Methodist Church. The bishops’ narrative aims to paint a picture of a church where all have a home. From UM NewsRead story.


Asbury sues over vaccine mandate

Asbury Theological Seminary, one of the seminaries approved for students pursuing ordination in the UMC, is challenging the Biden administration's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for employers with more than 100 workers. Attorneys for Asbury and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary filed suit in federal court, arguing the requirement violates religious freedom. From Religion News Service. Read story.


United Methodist pens army hymn

"Ever Faithful to the Call" is a bid by a United Methodist songwriter to give the Army its own hymn, which the Navy and Air Force already have. A Veterans Day special story from United Methodist Communications. Read story.


Artist wins top prize with Holston Home children
An artist in Greeneville has won an international prize with his innovative project featuring the crisis of children "aging out" in juvenile residential homes. João Paulo Goncalves says his project assistants were students in his art classes at Holston Home for Children. From the Greeneville SunRead story.


Norwood brings back family dinners

Before the pandemic, friends from numerous churches gathered at Norwood UMC to put out a monthly meal for young adults and others craving home cooking and connection. Today, the meal has been transformed to a free drive-thru meal feeding more than 200 neighbors in north Knoxville. From UM Communications. See video.



Holston camps honor Ruby Brown

Ruby Brown has served as administrative director of Holston Conference Camp & Retreat Ministries for 35 years. Rev. Mary Thompson pens a tribute to Brown following a recent in-person celebration of her service. Read article.


COVID-19 has reframed how we grieve

As deaths continue to mount, the accompanying grief lingers unassuaged, because it is not safe for the church to fully embody the rituals and traditions that, when in-person, bring the community together. Can faith communities regain that role? From Duke Divinity's Faith & LeadershipRead commentary.


  Photo of the Week  

Featuring three native Holston preachers, the "Ultimate Storytelling Conference" happened Nov. 8-9 at Dublin UMC with 55 participating in person and 74 more joining online. Leading the teaching and fellowship were (left to right) the Rev. Charles Maynard, the Rev. Kim Goddard, and Bishop Richard Looney. Photos courtesy of Melissa Smith.


  In Memoriam  

Rev. Janet Grissett, age 54, Nov. 4, Marion, Va.

Rev. Gordon Goodgame, age 87, Oct. 27, Asheville, N.C.



Magnolia Avenue Worship & Celebration Service
Nov. 14. See video invitation.

United Methodist Student Sunday
Nov. 28. Find out more


Holston Hispanic Ministries
Grants available. Applications due Dec. 1.


Resurrection Youth Ministry
Jan. 21-23, 2022. Register now.


Holston Calendar

UMC Calendar


  More Resources  

Job Opportunities - 2 new jobs

The Call to Cook


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The Call is Holston Conference's weekly newsletter for 850 United Methodist congregations in East Tennessee, Southwest Virginia, and North Georgia. Contact Annette Spence, editor, at