District Roundup

Abingdon: Earlier this year, Quarry UMC sent care packages to soldiers in Iraq, reports the Rev. John Roe. Weeks later, a letter of appreciation appeared in the Saltville Progress, thanking church members for their thoughtfulness. "Your support of your military forces touches each and every one of those now deployed," an Air Force reservist, based in Charleston, S.C., wrote.

Big Stone Gap: Members of Smith's Chapel UMC recently gathered at Holston River in Hillsville, Va., for the baptism of six people. All six were from the same family, representing three generations. "We would have had four generations," says the Rev. Wayne Rader, "but the great-grandmother was afraid to come off the riverbank." Smith's Chapel membership has grown 33 percent in the last year, from 25 to 33 members, Rader says.

Chattanooga: The Mother's Day Out program at East Ridge UMC held a trike-a-thon to benefit St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital. Ten kids took pledges, then pedaled their way to raising $925. Why St. Jude's? Director Patty Emery says the church has an unusually high number of members suffering from cancer: 1 in 4. East Ridge also raised $1,000 for cancer through the Relay for Life.

Cleveland: Graysville UMC was recently featured in a Chattanooga Times Free Press article for participating in a national prayer project. The Presidential Prayer Team is an organization that promotes prayer by Americans for members of the military. The website is available at www.presidentialprayerteam.org.

Johnson City: The district's Volunteers in Mission Team is having a productive year, reports Barbara Tilson. Edgefield UMC helped build a storage facility for Coalition for Kids. Cedar Grove UMC collected two truckloads of school supplies for Coalition for Kids. Team members also have participated in disaster relief efforts and food pantry ministries. The list goes on and on, Tilson says. "I think you will agree, we are doing something."

Kingsport: For the second year in a row, First Broad Street UMC has been certified as an official Igniting Ministry "Welcoming Congregation." First Broad Street is the only Holston congregation out of 106 in the denomination to be certified. Go to www.ignitingministry.com welcoming for more information.

Knoxville: The Rev. Ashley Calhoun, pastor at Beulah/Hendron's Chapel UMC, is creator of the Annual Conference backdrop celebrating John Wesley's 300th birthday. A full-color copy of the drawing is available for $20 by contacting Calhoun at (865) 577- 4244.

Maryville: The district's United Methodist Women recently collected 170 new pairs of shoes for Hispanic children served by Loudon UMC. The group chose the theme, "Soles for Souls," for their young women's event, held at New Salem UMC. The kids were "thrilled" with their new footwear, Cooper reports.

Morristown: Trinity (Morristown) UMC is pushing the envelope on summer outreach efforts, reports the Rev. David Vaughn. In June, the congregation dispatched a traveling vacation Bible school team to the children of Morristown's public housing units. In July, Trinity held a special camp for children of domestic violence homes. A volunteer police chaplain, Vaughn worked with the police department and a women's shelter to identify 30 children who could benefit from the camp. With the help of athletes from Walters State Community College, Trinity also held a basketball camp for children of the church and community.

Oak Ridge: First Oak Ridge UMC recently sent a 13-member missions team to Honduras for 10 days. On the first day, about 25 children from the village of Subirana attended Bible school sessions provided by the team. By the end of the week, 75 kids were participating, according to mission worker Bob Schultz.

Tazewell: For the eighth year, Central UMC provided a graduation picnic for students and families of Bland High School. About 175 youth and adults attended. In other news, the district is gearing up for Brush Arbor Day on Aug. 10. The schedule includes music by First Bluefield, Mt. Zion, and First Richlands UMC, with preaching by the Rev. Dennie Humphreys.

Wytheville: On church school rally day at Ebenezer UMC, the congregation sent up balloons to "celebrate the ascension of the Lord," says the Rev. Gloria Rhudy. Each balloon contained the name of a child in the church, Ebenezer's address, and "a blessing over whoever found the balloon." The same day, the congregation celebrated the collection of more than $32,000 to build a new educational fellowship building. "The Spirit of God was very high," Rhudy says.


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