By Carl Schlich, Interim General Presbyter
In my growing up, the celebration of Advent and the lighting of the Advent Wreath was not a part of our Christmas celebration until my teen years. If memory serves me, it was my mother looking for renewal in our celebration who discovered this tradition for our little church family in Alabama sometime in the late 1950's. She thought Christmas had become too commercialized. Can you imagine?
Like many who used that wreath as a symbolic weekly calendar leading up to the celebration of the nativity, we lighted each candle in turn. We waited until our Christmas Eve service to light the white Christ candle in the middle of the wreath. And from that candle, grew the light to each of the candles held in our hands growing the light in that darkened sanctuary.
I continued the Advent Wreath tradition many years later after I was ordained as a Teaching Elder in the Presbyterian Church in the United States. It was in planning for one Advent season when I became conscious that our celebration of advent is a celebration of what has already occurred. So, I began to leave the center Christ candle lighted throughout the Advent Season to remind us that we celebrate the mightiest of God's acts of grace, the coming of the Messiah, the promised one. His is the light of the world and the darkness cannot overcome it.
However we still wait. We still anticipate the coming of our Christ not only at the time of the nativity, but each time he comes into our lives and through us into the lives of others. It is a time of anticipation, a time when we await grace.
I pray for you moments of realized grace as you look for:
Times of peace in the midst of turmoil
A kind word when you least expect it
Good news when you are surrounded by bad news
Love when you feel ignored
Hope when you see despair
A smile when you feel like frowning
Merry Christmas to you and those you love.
|Presbytery Meeting Dates Set |
The dates for the Stated Meetings of the Presbytery of East Tennessee for 2010 and 2011 were set at the November 10th Presbytery meeting:
Saturday, Feb. 20 Saturday, Feb. 26
Tuesday, May 4 Tuesday, May 3
Saturday, August 21 Saturday, August 20
Tuesday, Nov. 2 Tuesday, Nov. 1
The Feb. 20, 2010 meeting will be held at First Presbyterian Church in Oak Ridge. Other locations are to be announced. All meetings will begin at 10:00am. Registration will open at 9:30am.
Cents-Ability in 2009
Roane County Cooperative Ministries Garden Project - $1,000
FISH Hospitality Pantries, Knoxville - $500
Scott County Emergency Food Assistance - $1,000
Sunset Gap's food pantry in Cosby- $500
Good Shepherd Center, Madisonville - $1,000 Morgan-Scott Project's Good Earth Garden Program - $2,000
Chattanooga Area Food Bank's Sack Pack Program - $1,000
Good Samaritan Center, Lenoir City - $500
Food/Life Services of Campbell County - $500
Claiborne Hunger Ministry, New Tazewell - $400
Red Bucket Update: Almost to $20,000!!!
As of November 25th $18,422.31 has been received from 16 churches. It's not too late to participate! The goal is $30,250 due to the Presbytery budget reductions made this year in May that suddenly affected Morgan-Scott Project, Sunset Gap, Marcella Center, and Newton Child Development Center.
First, Lenoir City
Presbytery of East Tennessee
"Feed my lambs." John 21:15
|John Knox Center News|
to the members of the Presbytery of East Tennessee and all of those individuals who invested in the ministry at the John Knox Center this 2009 year. There are countless volunteers who donated their time, talents, and financial support to make much needed facility improvements throughout the camp. As you take a look at this list (click HERE
) you can see the significant steps taken by all those involved.
We are excited about the upcoming projects in 2010 and would love for you or your group to be involved. Contact our office for volunteer and work group opportunities.
John Knox Center
591 W. Rockwood Ferry Rd.
Ten Mile, TN 37880
|Loaves & Fishes 2010|
Do you have youth leaders in your congregation who struggle with what to do with your youth groups? What about Sunday School teachers who long to connect with others who teach? Perhaps you have people in your congregation who would like to learn more about reformed faith and prayer. Or what about those who are trying to figure out what the church is supposed to be doing in the 21st century? All of these opportunities and more await you at Loaves and Fishes. The Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow will be the keynote presenter
, the Rev. Rhashell Hunter will be the event preacher and the Rev. Chip Andrus will be the worship leader.
We are so blessed to have such outstanding leadership for our event.
Mark your calendars now for April 16-17, 2010, at Sequoyah Hills Presbyterian Church
. Loaves and Fishes brochures are available. Click HERE
for links to conference materials and online registration.
|New Vision News |
Thank You Donna Hoppestad
Two years ago, the New Vision Committee and the Equip Team were asking the questions of how we can help people in our communities know who we are as Presbyterians. Donna Hoppestad stepped up and said, "I can do that." So, during the last two years, she has blazed a trail where there was no road and has put her brand on it. After a few months, folks from synods and the Evangelism Unit in General Assembly in Louisville, Kentucky began to take notice of what was happening in our Presbytery. After a year, we said that there was a need to slow down the larger advertising and get more into the equipping of the churches to do the more local marketing and outreach. Then Donna moved into offering help in better understanding the terms such as evangelism and outreach. She came into those churches that called her with a great deal of enthusiasm and creativity that included new ideas for ministry.
December 31, 2009 ends the present contract that we have had with Donna. She has left indelible footprints in her relationships with the people to whom she has offered her service and her friendship. Donna, we will miss your smiles and dedication in the roles to which we have known you during these last two years. My understanding is that you will be available to work privately with any church that wants to continue learning and growing in the areas of Evangelism and outreach. So, to our congregations: There is much room and need for us to continue cultivating the work of transfoming our lives in our congregations as exemplified in Donna's work. Donna can be contacted for continuing work with her. Interested churches would contract with her outside the present arrangement that she has at the present time with the Presbytery.
May we offer our thanks and best wishes to Donna.
Submitted by: Rev. Mike Chamberlain, Moderator of the New Vision Committee
A Message from Donna
It is with sadness that I write you this last update on the New Vision Outreach Program. I'm very proud of all of us for working so hard and accomplishing so much! In only two years, I think that we have accomplished one of the goals we had of making East Tennessee aware of the Presbyterian Church in general, and our churches in particular. Our neighborhoods are waiting now to hear more from us, and I hope that you will take this unique opportunity to open your doors and spread the Good News during this very special Advent season and beyond. So many of you are already reaching out to your neighbors and friends, and inviting them to be a part of your church families. I see smiles and joy and excitement in your eyes, and I hope that you won't stop, that you will continue to work to achieve that Great Commission, even if you do use those "outside the box" ways that work so well! Don't forget to know your neighbors, know yourself, be daring, be prepared, and don't forget to have that "follow-up" event ready to talk about!
My journey takes me to other contracts, but one in particular will keep me close to you. I begin work with the Synod of Living Waters in January, and may be visiting you often as I work with them next year. I am also available (and would love to) work with churches in the PET on specific goals and projects. I am expanding my workshops, and would like to be a part of your next event or retreat. Please feel free to call or email me anytime at my original addresses or my new one for the new year: firstname.lastname@example.org
Good luck and blessings on you and the Presbytery of East Tennessee. Your future looks bright, and I pray that it will continue that way. Don't forget to let me know if I can assist you in the future!
Video Conferencing Update
From the Connect Mission Team
A year ago we installed video conferencing equipment at three locations: the Presbytery office in Knoxville, Mars Hill in Athens, and Rivermont in Chattanooga. The objective was to save travel time and expense. If ten people meet at in a central location like Sweetwater they can easily spend over 20 hours driving and $800 in mileage.
There were some glitches in the systems when they were first installed, but these have been worked out. We encourage all committees and mission teams to consider utilizing these facilities for your meetings when you can. Please schedule the rooms as far in advance as possible to ensure that they will be available when you need them. A minimum of two weeks notice is required - contact the staff liaison for your team or committee for assistance in reserving the video conference rooms.
In addition to the three main conference rooms, it is possible for one or two people to connect to the video systems remotely using their PC. They can be anywhere in the world as long as they have access to the Internet. Special software must be installed on the PC, but the Connect Mission Team can help with this. Contact Dana Hendrix in the Presbytery office for more information. Dana@presbyteryeasttn.org
|News & Events Around the Presbytery |
Maryville College Holiday Festival Concert, Dec. 7
The Orchestra at Maryville College and the Maryville College Community Chorus will present a "Holiday Festival" concert at 7:30 p.m., Mon., Dec. 7 at the Maryville First Baptist Church
, which is located at 202 West Lamar Alexander Parkway.
The church sanctuary will be filled with the joyous sound of voices and instruments performing the music of the season. The concert will highlight works of modern composers known for their arrangements of sacred music: John Leavitt, Dan Goeller and John Rutter. For more information, click HERE
Monthly Communion Services at Fourth United
Fourth United Presbyterian Church
, 1323 Broadway in Knoxville, welcomes you to a communion service every third Friday of the month at 12:15pm
. The next service will be held on December 18
Christmas Candlelight Communion Service at Fairmont, Dec. 20
Fairmont Presbyterian Church, 2537 Fairmont Blvd. in 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.
CLPs Gather for Continuing Education
Commissioned Lay Pastors (CLPs), as well as those who have completed their training but are not currently commissioned, gathered for a day of continuing education at Maryville College on Nov. 14.
|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, email@example.com