|Rebuilding, Renewing, Re-birthing|
By Carl Schlich, Interim General Presbyter
"Why in the world are you fixing up that old boat? Its bottom and deck are all rotted and one side is caved in. Why not just give up on it and start all over?"
It's obvious he's never built a boat. It's not the intrinsic value of the boat, it's what the boat remembers that makes it worth the effort. It's remembering those who helped the dream become a reality for the builder, like Dr. Bob, whose advice prevented a fatal mistake when the keel was laid. It was Frank who contributed aluminum conduit for the mast, just because he wanted to see it done. It was sails skillfully sewn by novice hands, because she wanted her part of the creating.
It is remembering hours sailing slowly along in a sleepy bayou in Mississippi, and the excitement of a fresh breeze in a lagoon on Dauphin Island. It's laughing at Reggie and Linda turned over with the mast stuck in the muddy bottom. It's children shrieking with glee when they tipped over. It's sitting close to nature with the wind in your ear.
Why am I fixing up that old boat? If I have to tell you, then you probably won't understand. It's only a few cypress boards and some mahogany plywood, some copper nails, glue and lots of yellow paint. Not much to look at either. But she sailed on the first launching! How can a love affair with a little wooden boat be explained to someone who has never built one?
Funny thing about that inanimate boat, when it was moving through the water, I felt like I could almost hear it thanking me for giving it life, sort of like a doxology, coming from somewhere close to where life comes from... the wind and the water. I think I remember something about wind over the water in the creation story.
Might we ask God why are you fixing up all those souls? They are not all that good, some of their sides are caved in and some look like they are beginning to rot. Why bother? Why not just junk them and start all over?
I would venture to guess, that those of us who ask that of God, don't exactly know what we are asking, because we have never created a person. I think I can hear God saying, "I am fixing them up, because they are mine, I created them and they are good."
Could it be that God continues to fix us up because God remembers sharing our laughter, our squeals of childlike delight, our joyful experience of living? Could it be that God continues to fix us up, because, for reasons beyond our comprehension, we are called children of God and God values children?
Why does God not just cast us off to drift away? Do you think maybe it's because God knows our worth is even greater than our intrinsic value, do you think maybe God sees something in us that we do not even see in ourselves?
Why are you fixing up all those folks God? If we have to ask, we probably won't understand the answer.
One day, I had to give up on my old boat. I discarded the masts and what was left of the sail. I was forced to let it go, but not before it furnished countless memories and calmed tons of jangled nerves, not until it had done what it had been created to do and been what it had been made to be. It was hard to let it go.
I am thankful that God does not have to let us go, does not have to come to the point of giving up on us but can love us and enjoy us forever. Or, is it that we can love God and enjoy God forever? Oh well, maybe it's the same thing.
|From the Stated Clerk|
By James McTyre
will be read at the February 2010 stated meeting of presbytery. Clerks of Session
are asked to prepare your church's session minutes and bring them to the presbytery meeting. During the morning all clerks of session will meet to round-robin read each other's minutes. Clerks will also have time to share stories and questions and receive helpful tips on minutes, governance, and other related issues. Overtures to General Assembly:
General Assembly is receiving overtures and proposed amendments to the Book of Order. These are all available for reading at www.pc-biz.org
. If your session would like to present an overture to our presbytery for submission to the General Assembly, the absolute deadline for receipt by the Stated Clerk is January 6, 2010. Please call if you ANY questions about how to submit an overture (865-268-9628). The PCUSA website has a helpful document, "How to Submit an Overture" at http://www.pcusa.org/generalassembly/publications/submitovt.htm
|From the Associate Presbyter|
By Lina Hart
The Loaves & Fishes Experience - April 16, 17, 2010 @ Sequoyah Hills PC, Knoxville
At the November presbytery meeting you will be getting a church packet with L&F brochures, posters and sample registration forms. The Planning Team has put together a stellar line up of workshops and worship opportunities. Loaves & Fishes is our presbytery- wide opportunity to become better equipped and inspired for following Christ in our communities. Additionally, it is an excellent event to enjoy the company of, connect with and learn from others throughout our presbytery.
Leaders Academy - February 27, 2010 @ John Knox Center
The Small Church Ministry Group of the Equip Team is planning a Confirmation Weekend (Friday & Saturday, 2/26 & 27/09) primarily, but not exclusively, for those churches having only a few confirmands but yearning for a connection with others going the same process. Piggybacking with this Confirmation Weekend will be a Leaders Academy for pastors, elders, deacons, educators that Saturday morning 9 am through lunch. In this Leaders Academy there will be such classes as Creative Ideas for Youth Ministry in Smaller Churches, The Role of Elder, Spirituality of Pre-Teens, Using MissionInsite and others.
The Marketing/ Advertising Campaign and Donna Hoppestad
Donna Hoppestad, the Marketing Consultant for our presbytery these past two years, has done a marvelous job working along side our churches in a variety ways. She has helped you get a banner to improve your visibility, provided her insights on helping your congregation become even more welcoming, secured better signs for your church, and walked with you exploring different ways to reach out into your community. For our presbytery as a whole, Donna has designed and negotiated placement of TV ads and billboards that have helped increase our PCUSA name recognition. She is gifted, enthusiastic and passionate about our churches being the best witness for Christ in their neighborhoods. The contract we have with Donna is coming to an end in December, but we trust that the seeds she has planted throughout our presbytery will continue to grow and bear fruit. Equip wants to encourage churches to keep imagining new ways for bearing witness in your communities, knowing that options are available for support in this process. Please join us in thanking Donna for a job well done! She will still be around and may be called to continue working with your church on an individual basis.
APCE - Association of Presbyterian Christian Educators, January 27-30, 2010, Nashville, TN
It's right next door! It's a marvelous place to learn from the best & brightest! The Marketplace is chocked full of resources, ideas, samples, books and people in the know! APCE isn't just for educators, there are many workshops for pastors, musicians, elders, parents and learners of all ages. Check it out at http://www.apcenet.org/
Emergence NOW - January Seminars @ Columbia Theological Seminary, January 26-28, 2010, Decatur, GA.
The Reformation was a long time ago... or was it? Are post-modern/ emergent/ missional conversations signs of a new reformation? What other signs are we seeing or yearning for as we seek to be faithful, 21st C disciples? Join Phyllis Tickle, Tony Jones, Bruce Reyes Chow, Philip Clayton for a series of conversations and workshops around these and other questions. Barbara Brown Taylor will preach and lead worship. See http://www.peopleware.net/index.cfm?siteID=572&event=2010LL&subeventDisp=0126JANSEM
for more information.
Alban Institute Webinars and Conferences
For about $50 you can log into a Webinar at Alban Institute and learn more on such topics as Hospitality for the Long Haul (Dec. 1), Long-Range Stewardship Planning (Jan. 27), and more. Congregational Transformation
Resources abound as your congregation responds creatively to today's changing culture. Through Equip's New Vision Group, Congregational Transformation Coaches are available to work with a team in your church to deliberately discern and explore God's will for your witness in the world.
Several churches in our presbytery are currently working with these talented and dedicated CT Coaches as together they journey into the depths of their church's identity, their core values, their strengths and gifts which relate best to the needs of and ways to engage with their community. MissionInsite, a demographic service available to our churches, helps churches learn more about their neighborhoods. Contact me at email@example.com
or 865-388-2381, 423-877-2422 for more information &/or to connect you with these or other resources.
Cents-Ability Offering Pays for 5,500 Pounds of Food
Madisonville's Good Shepherd Center thanks our Presbytery's Hunger Program for its $1,000 Cents-Ability grant, which enabled the Center to purchase 5,500 pounds of food from Second Harvest Food Bank. The Center currently provides food to an average of 1,600 people per month (approximately 8,000 pounds), and the need for assistance continues to rise. We celebrate the difference the Cents-Ability offering is making in the fight against hunger!
Red Bucket Offering Total: $16,567.81 THANK YOU!
First, Lenoir City
We are over the half way mark! It's not too late to participate!
Sunset Gap was cut $8,500 and has received $4,638.98 from Red Bucket, Newton Child Development Center was cut $16,000 and has received $8,780.93, Morgan Scott was cut $4,000 and has received $2,153.82, and Marcella was cut $1,750 and has received $994.08.
"If you pour yourselves out for the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness..." Isaiah 58:10
Presbytery of East Tennessee
|New Vision News |
By Donna Hoppestad, marketing consultant
It's been a busy month, and a productive two years here in the Presbytery of East Tennessee! In this month's report, I want to share the good news that our transformation and outreach efforts are beginning to work in the right direction.
In 2008, the Presbytery of East Tennessee grew 0.9%, a net gain of 113 members! The PET was one of only eight presbyteries in the entire denomination to increase in membership, and 2008 was also the first year since 2003 that PET has recorded an increase in membership! In comparison, The Synod of Living Waters lost 2.8% of its total membership in 2008, a net loss of 3080 members. The PC(USA) lost 69,381 members in 2008, or a 3.1% decrease.
BANNER, BANNER, BANNER......
The Equip Team is closing the free banner program for churches at the end of the year. If your church hasn't received its banner, please contact me as soon as possible so that it can be printed by December 31. firstname.lastname@example.org
|John Knox Center News |
The John Knox Center Advent Dinner is Coming!
Church professionals and their families are cordially invited to join the John Knox Center family for an evening of celebration, fellowship, and delicious food at the annual Advent Dinner on Friday December 4, 2009
. Hors d'euvres will be served at 6:00 p.m. with dinner following at 7:00 p.m.
The cost is $15 per person.
This is an opportunity for Church Professionals to gather and enjoy an evening together with others called to the ministry.
Children are not only welcomed; we encourage you to bring your whole family. Dinner and snacks will be served in Abel Lodge where children will be supervised by members of our trained Summer Camp Staff. There will be crafts and activities for children 12 and under. Children are half price of an adult meal. Register online at the John Knox Center website - click HERE
Camp John Knox 2010 Registration
It may be fall of 2009, but we have lots happening for Summer Camp 2010!
REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN
for CJK Summer 2010! Simply go to the John Knox Center website (www.johnknoxcenter.org
) and complete the online registration to reserve your spot today for next year. Don't miss out of 2009 favorites like Native Ways, Critter Camp, Marathon, and Adventure Camp; plus check out New 2010 camps including the new M.A.D. Camp (Music.Arts.Drama). If you register before December 31st, receive a FREE CJK bandana!
We Need Your Help!
In efforts to continually expand our waterfront experience for all participants, John Knox Center wants to add kayaks to our "fleet" of boats! And we would love your donation of any kayaks you have around the house. Clean out the garage and move that dusty kayak to camp for hundreds of kids to use each summer.
John Knox Center: Christ Centered Teambuilding
Meeting & Retreat Space
· Build a stronger community of Faith
· Get Away from distractions and focus on God
· Enjoy delicious meals in a beautiful lake setting
· Comfortable meeting space
· Opportunities for overnight retreats
For a flyer on these opportunities, click HERE.
John Knox Center
591 W. Rockwood Ferry Rd.
Ten Mile, TN 37880
|River Ridge Environmental Education Program|
John Knox Center, River Ridge and the Midway Middle School Roane Excel After-School Program
The John Knox Center and River Ridge EE Program have partnered with Roane County Schools to help with after-school programming at Midway Middle School. The Tennessee Department of Education announced the newest federal grant recipients and Roane County Schools was on the top of the list with a $675,000 grant for the eight elementary schools and Midway Middle School. The grant is strictly for after-school programs which will provide remediation, enrichment, technology, arts and music and physical activity. The John Knox Center and River Ridge EE Program are a huge part of this after school programming because we will be providing the school with staff to teach various topics.
We will be teaching students grades 6-8 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and staff will get paid $20 per class period. The money earned will go back into the River Ridge EE Program. Fall/Winter Program begins: September 14 and goes through January 15. We will then offer others classes for the Winter/Spring season which goes from January 15-May 7.
For descriptions of the topics to be offered, click HERE.
The Sustainable Garden Project at John Knox
The sustainable garden project came about this past summer when I visited Montreat Conference Center in Montreat, NC. Realizing the dramatic effects we as a species are putting on this planet made me think we needed to start promoting a "greener" way of life here at John Knox. After coming back and talking with the JKC staff about my epiphany, we all thought it would be a good idea to start a sustainable garden. Sustainability is an environmental issue that the entire General Assembly is beginning to think about. Sustainability is the ability of the earth, with all its resources, to keep going into the future, and keep providing a healthy home for humans and all other species of plants and animals. Building a sustainable garden seemed like the logical path to take to give back to God and the community as a whole.
We are an example to all and my hope is that other churches in the presbytery, schools, children, families and visitors to the facility will follow in our footsteps. There are many amazing programming opportunities that come with the garden. It is also my hope that the garden will provide vegetables to be served in our dining hall and enough bounty that it can become a source of food for less fortunate people within our community.
These two things tie in closely with our mission to "Practice and Promote stewardship of God's creation." We initially came from the dust of the earth and it is our lot in life, according to the book of Genesis, to till the land and reap its benefits, all the while caring for the environment in a healthy and spiritual way. The garden was put in by the River Ridge EE Program staff and Nature's Way Montessori School on September 24, 2009.
Various donations have been made to purchase materials for the garden and special thanks goes out to Valley Building Supply in Sweetwater, TN for helping us with our lumber needs. I am also seeking out grant monies to cover ongoing costs for soil, tools, compost bins, tumblers, stakes, fencing, seeds etc. If you have any ideas for donations or would like to help with planting or harvest time in the spring, please call the office at 865-376-2236 or email me, Rachel Norris, at email@example.com
. Thank you!
|Salt & Light Guidebooks Available|
The Salt & Light Guidebook
is a 446 page resource about Knoxville's ministries, non-profits, and agencies that provide services to individuals and families in need. Church staff and mission chairs will find a wealth of helpful referral information and inspiring mission opportunities in this invaluable guide. For those who areinterested in taking advantage of this opportunity, the guidebook will be available at the November presbytery meeting for $15.00, which is half of the suggested retail price.
Hunger Action Enabler
Presbytery of East Tennessee
|News & Events Around the Presbytery |
Meet Maryville Weekend, Nov. 6-8, 2009
is hosting a Fall Open House - Meet Maryville Weekend Nov. 6-8. Events include a Fine Arts Showcase, an Off-Kilter performance, and an Invitational Choir Festival performance. for more details, click HERE.
101st Stated Meeting of the Presbytery of East Tennessee
Tuesday, Nov. 10 - Rivermont Presbyterian Church, Chattanooga
9:00am - Orientation for New Commissioners
9:30am - Registration and fellowship
10:00am - Meeting
The packet and supplement are available on the PET website - click HERE.
Christmas Candlelight Communion Service at Fairmont, Dec. 20
Fairmont Presbyterian Church, 2537 Fairmont Blvd., Knoxville invites their Presbytery of East Tennessee friends to join them on Sunday, December 20 at 5:00pm for their annual Christmas Candlelight Communion Service. Refreshments will be served following the service.
Concerts to Benefit A Hand Up for Women
Wendel Werner, Minister of Music at Graystone Presbyterian Church, Knoxville, has organized a series of concerts to benefit A Hand Up for Women, a faith-based organization that assists women trying to better themselves as they are coming out of unfortunatel situations such as abusive relationships, illiteracy and substance abuse. A love offering will be taken up at each event. The first concert took place at Graystone on October 25. Future concerts are scheduled at the following locations:
Sunday, Jan. 31, 2010 at Trinity U.M.C
Sunday, February 28, 2010 at 1st Presbyterian Church, Oak Ridge
Sunday, March 28, 2010 at Farragut Presbyterian Church
Sunday September 26, 2010 at Bearden U.M.C.
A Thank You from Melanie Sherrod
Dear Presbytery of East Tennessee:
You were so very gracious and thoughtful to provide a floral arrangement to honor Marc. This provided light during a sad, dark time for our family. I was so touched that so many of you participated in Marc's service by helping serve communion. Your prayers, cards and financial support for medical bills during Marc's three year cancer journey made us feel God's arms around us. You were a shining example of that the church is supposed to be.
|Spread the News!|
We invite you to share your news with us. All articles and news items must be submitted by the 20th of the month prior to publication. Send your information to Dana Hendrix, firstname.lastname@example.org