NEWS FROM YOUR DISTRICT
Abingdon: Pleasant View UMC is collecting children's coats, mittens, scarves and socks for children in Afghanistan. Pastor Jim Goddard says the project was conceived when an Abingdon native and soldier, Capt. Scott Moretz, requested shipments of coats for local Afghanistan children instead of receiving Christmas packages for himself. The coats should be new or "gently used." For more information, call Pleasant View at (276) 628-6323.
Big Stone Gap: The district newsletter recently published a wish list for the Wesley Foundation at University of Virginia College at Wise. The list includes Christian books, a cordless phone, dishcloths and towels, a food processor, computer desk and chair, gardening gloves, flower bulbs, and VHS movies. Wesley Foundation also is collecting goods for a spring rummage sale. For more information, call Director Beth Gibson at (276) 328-6826.
Chattanooga: For 28 years, the men of Jones Memorial UMC have held a fall barbecue. In the early days, 500 pounds of meat was plenty to meet sales. This year, the men slapped sauce and a special spice they call "Walt's Salt" on 5,000 pounds of meat. Proceeds go to buy coats for children of the East Ridge community. Over the years, the church has bought 900 coats for needy kids, reports Shirley Baugh.
Cleveland: "Exciting new ministries" are happening at Decatur Larger Parish, the district newsletter reports. In August, the parish had a booth at the county fair, where members distributed cups of water and pencils imprinted with "Meigs County United Methodist Churches." In October, churches hosted a free concert by the Lee University Campus Choir. On the last Wednesday of each month, members gather for Parish Night Service at one of the 10 churches. Average attendance is 45. Decatur Parish includes Burkett's Chapel, Mt. Tabor, Decatur, Concord, Goodfield, Mt. Carmel, Mt. Olivet, Pleasant Hill, Ten Mile and Oak Grove churches.
Johnson City: Members of Valley Forge UMC recently gathered to make 72 gallons of apple butter with 33 bushels of apples. Profits from apple butter sales will be divided between the United Methodist Men and Women, who each use their portions for various community and church projects.
Kingsport:: Rep. Jimmy Quillen was a long-time member at First Broad Street UMC, which is where his funeral took place on Nov. 4. The service was conducted by the Rev. Pierce Edwards, who called 87-year-old Quillen a "giant of a man." "He was a person who looked at everyone the same, whether you were a CEO or someone who couldn't get their Social Security started." About 400 people attended.
Knoxville: For 15 years or more, Bearden UMC has had a "pie ministry" for first-time visitors. The pies are always apple and purchased at Fresh Market. On Monday night, the baked goods are delivered to Sunday's guests. An average of 12 to 15 pies go out each month, says secretary Janice Blair. "We've had lots of positive feedback over the years I've been here." Dedicated to the ministry is Ken Pruitt, who delivers pies every Monday after work. Program Director Misty Graham-Stapleton does her fair share of pie-toting, too.
Maryville:: Youth of Fairgarden Circuit were recently challenged to put their "faith in a jar." "Our jars set empty for the first few days," Youth Leader Gale Chance reports, "but as we talked to each other, the ideas started flowing." For instance, Harrison Chambers put a rock and paper clip in his jar. The rock showed that his faith was sturdy, while the paper clip demonstrated that his faith holds everything together. For more on this unique project, watch for a future "Wednesday on the Web" story.
Morristown:: On Oct. 5, Pruitt Hill UMC celebrated its 93rd church anniversary. Members came out for a morning service followed by a basket lunch, congregational photo, and afternoon candlelight memorial service. "We recognize the rich legacy that Pruitt Hill has in the community and we want to celebrate it," says Associate Lay Leader Donna Bower.
Oak Ridge:: With its new building nearly complete, First Farragut UMC participated in a "walk-through" with the builders on Nov. 13. The plan is to be in the facility by the end of the year.
Tazewell:: Nellie Fields, wife of Rev. Kenneth Fields, was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year. After surgery, she underwent 37 radiation treatments. During that time from July 16 through Sept. 25 "not one meal was prepared in our home," reports Pastor Fields. Members of Bishop's Circuit carried in hot meals every day. Since then, the congregations have been inspired to serve others in the same way, Fields says. Bishop's Circuit includes Alexandria, Boyd's Chapel, and Brown's Chapel.
Wytheville: The district clergy Christmas banquet is 6:30 p.m., Dec. 5, at Comfort Inn in Dublin, Va.