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Dogwood Blossoms

Presbytery of East Tennessee E-NewsletterJanuary 2013
In This Issue
A Call for Unity
John Knox Center News
Responding to Newtown, CT
From the Peacemaking Committee
Presbytery Leaders Retreat
School of the Laity
News and Events Around the Presbytery
Quick Links
Presbytery of East Tennessee  


Synod of Living Waters
Presbytery Staff
Judd Shaw
General Presbyter
865-688-5581 ext. 103

James McTyre
Stated Clerk
865-688-5581 ext. 104
Bri Payne
Executive Director, John Knox Center

Dana Hendrix
Office Manager
865-688-5581 ext. 101
Gwen Pyle
Financial Assistant
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Knoxville, TN 37928-0436

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A Call for Unity
From the leaders of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
December 17, 2012

PCUSA seal At Advent, we expectantly turn the page of a new liturgical calendar as we anticipate Christ's coming, prepare for the story of the incarnation, and await Christ's glorious return. Advent is a time of new beginnings and hopeful expectations. A time when the "now" and the "not yet" are held in an especially delicate tension. The cycle of days-both ordinary and extraordinary-begins anew.


In this season of new beginnings, our thoughts turn to congregations and individuals who are starting the new liturgical year-this year-outside the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Nowhere is our sense of the now and the not yet of Christian unity more apparent. New beginnings so often come with a sense of loss for what has been.


At the same time, our hearts and our prayers are also with those congregations and individuals who continue to consider whether to start life over outside the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Even as we long for the day when Christ will perfect the good work begun in us, we grieve this loss to the body of Christ known as the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).


As national leaders of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), we know that our denomination consists of many members, all of whom contribute significantly to the body, and we are united in our desire-and hope-that no church member, church officer, congregation, or presbytery leave this body.


Claiming the promises of God sealed in our baptism, we are a communion of congregations and mid councils only because the triune God has chosen us and called us together. We did not join this body by our own choosing.


Reflecting on God's call, we renew our desire for all congregations and presbyteries to continue together to do Christ's mission in the world. This call endures and has not changed despite the divisions the church has always known and which continue still today. Our unity in Jesus Christ-made visible wherever and whenever we come to the Eucharistic table-cannot be undone.


May it be so.


Neal D. Presa

Moderator of the 220th General Assembly (2012)  


Tom Trinidad
Vice Moderator of the 220th General Assembly (2012)


Gradye Parsons
Stated Clerk of the General Assembly


Linda Bryant Valentine
Executive Director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency


PowerPoint presentation - Building Unity and Community 

John Knox Center News

Summer Camp Registration Goes LIVE January 1!


Boy climbing rocks at camp 'Tis the season for SUMMER CAMP?? That's right!  New Year's Day kicks off registration for the 2013 season.  You can be ready to get your camper in the session of their choice by checking our website now with all the descriptions, dates, and prices already available. Make sure you "like" John Knox Center on ( to keep up with the latest updates and details.  Can wait to see you this summer!


Sewing on the River: January 21-23, 24, 25, at the John Knox Center


Women at Sewing Retreat This year's 3-day event will run Monday-Wednesday. You have the option to stay through Thursday or Friday. At this retreat the main goal is to sew, sew, sew, and enjoy the fellowship and great meals. This event has been full in the past but with the renovations of B Lodge we can accommodate more participants and we want you! Bring your sewing group or come alone and make new friends. For information and registration go to our website   or call the office at 865/376-2236. We hope to see you here!


Introducing New Program Director, Penny Laitos


Penny Laitos We are excited to introduce our new Program Director, Penny Laitos. Penny continues her ministry at John Knox Center bringing with her a variety of camp experience. She worked seasonally at PCUSA camps in Colorado, Washington, Georgia and Michigan. The majority of Penny's programming experience comes from a Presbyterian camp, Tall Timber Ranch, outside of Leavenworth, WA. Penny served as the Assistant Program Director and eventually the Program Director during her stay. Since March 2012, Penny has served as the Program Coordinator at John Knox Center. Penny looks forward to continuing to grow the John Knox Summer camp program, expanding River Ridge educational opportunities and developing innovative programming for retreats and guest groups. Penny has a Bachelor's from Whitworth College in speech communication. Penny enjoys meeting new people, being outdoors, spending time with her family, and baking cookies. She feels incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to continue sharing God's love with kids, youth and adults through the powerful ministry of camp.   


2012 Advent Dinner


Brent and Carter Norvell Thank you to everyone who came and joined us for the Advent Dinner this year. It was a blessed time of gathering together as partners in ministry to celebrate not only what God has done at John Knox, but to share how God is working in our churches and other ministries. We honored Brent Norvell for his service to John Knox. As always, his son Carter, who is responsible for wiring our office (he is the only one light enough to crawl through our ceilings), was by his side. It is because of the hard work and dedication of families like the Norvells that John Knox continues to grow. This year's Country Christmas meal was made complete thanks to the wonderful music of early Morning String Dusters. This was a festive evening full of stories that reflect the power of camp. What a blessing it is to be able to take time to celebrate this season together with our friends!


John Knox Center Year in Review

Here are some highlights of 2012:

* A 15% increase in accommodation use from 2011, 102.5 % increase since 2009.
* Completed construction of B Lodge in May. A beautiful meeting space for groups of 40-50.
* 260% increase in guest groups during June & July alone. 162 guests in 2011, 395 guests in 2012. These guests are in addition to the summer camp program which is also running at the same time.
* Hosted Presbytery meeting in May for the first time in 14 years.
* Saw the highest attended spring environmental education season on record.

We have been busy, but we need your help to continue growing this ministry in new and exciting ways. Our waterfront area is an essential piece of our programs. The floating docks which are 15 years old have deteriorated to the point they are no longer usable or safe. Phase I of the redevelopment will include two 120' fixed swimming docks and one 100' dock with 6 boat slips for our many guest boats and will be used for waterskiing in the summer. Phase I also includes shoreline grading, installation of lighting and electrical service. We need 25 gifts of $5,000 each to make this a reality by next summer. To support this project, our builder has offered to give the first $5,000. To partner with us on other needs, simply list one of the areas listed below on the memo line of your check or online on our website.

Annual Operations - Provides all the things that make ministry possible. $6,000 goal for 2013.
Building Fund - Helps to renovate and upgrade existing spaces to be more hospitable.
Program Fund- Provides additional program related supplies not covered in camper fees.
Camper Scholarships - Helps send campers who could not afford a camp experience.
Debt Reduction - Helps us pay off the loan for upgrades to B Cabins.
Special Projects - Waterfront renovations as listed above.
Responding to Newtown, CT
Many have asked how the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has responded to the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut and how we in the Presbytery of East Tennessee can assist.  Here is some information Dana Lindsey, Executive Presbyter of the Presbytery of Southern New England:

Just 24 hours after the tragedy a team from Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) had arrived. The team of four experienced persons have not only been of huge support to Adele Crawford and I, but also they have been instrumental in networking many religious and volunteer organizations as they try to respond to the needs of the Newtown community and beyond.

Here is what you can do now.
  • Pray for healing for the worldwide hurt this event has brought, and pray for strength for the caregivers who attend to those who are hurting.

  • Give financial gifts for the future work to address family needs and to support the ministry of PDA (such as a support retreat for the pastors and first responders in Newtown, or the expenses of the response team).
  • As the impact of this event reaches into every community focus what help you can give in your local community: schools, first responders, churches.
    • Create strong support communities, like ministeriums.
    • Get to know and support local mental health professionals.
    • Create a disaster response process in your congregation.
From the Peacemaking Committee

Peace Discernment Retreat - Jan. 12


Peacemaking Logo - Dove As part of the Peace Discernment Process initiated by the 219/220th General Assemblies, the PET Peacemaking Committee is holding a "Peace Discernment" retreat Sat., Jan. 12, 10am-3pm at Farragut Presbyterian Church (209 Jamestowne Blvd, Farragut). From in-depth discussion we hope to put together a draft of our Presbytery's stance on Peace issues.


Guidelines for discussion  


Please notify Donna Schall ( if anyone/who will be attending from your church.


6th Annual MLK Community Conversation - Jan. 18


The 6th annual MLK Community Conversation will be Friday, January 18, 2013 at the Beck Cultural Exchange Center, 1927 Dandridge Avenue, Knoxville, TN. Join members of the peace community for an evening to hear and share stories, enjoy music and sing, to come together to celebrate the power of education, formal and informal, to free our minds and souls. Based on the MLK theme for 2013 "Education: Intelligence Plus Character," the theme of this event is "Learning from Dr. King."


This event is sponsored by the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, the PET Peacemaking Committee and many other organizations dedicated to peace, justice, and building nonviolent communities.


Come at 6:30 pm for light refreshments. The program will begin at 7:00 pm and conclude at 8:30 pm.

  Martin Luther King Jr.

"We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of a true education" - Martin Luther King, Jr.


"As long as the mind is enslaved, the body can never be free." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Presbytery Leaders Retreat

February 9 at John Knox Center


We have been living into the new presbytery structure for a year. The office on Cedar Lane has been closed, and the office staff has adapted to a new mobile and flexible way of serving the presbytery. The Mission Teams and Committees have been exploring ways to fulfill their new rolls. The Transition Team having led us through the transformation has completed its work.


One year into our revised structure it is appropriate to step back and see if our vision and mission are being lived out fully. The vision statement of the Presbytery reaffirms that the mission of the Church is to go forth and make disciples. It further states that the purpose of the Presbytery of East Tennessee is to support this process.


The Coordinating Committee for Vision and Mission will hold a retreat at John Knox Center on February 9th to reflect on our performance in meeting our stated objectives and to plan for the year ahead. In order to hear the voices of those who will carry out these plans, we are inviting all the members of the Mission Teams and Presbytery Committees to join us in this important effort. The retreat will begin at 9:00 am and lunch will be served. Committee and team members will receive additional information soon. 

As we prepare for our retreat please pray for success and dream about the role of the presbytery in facilitating our congregations as we go forth and make disciples in East Tennessee.

Alan Payne, Moderator of the Coordinating Committee 
School of the Laity
Spring Class - New Testament

Open book This spring, the PET School of the Laity is once again offering its class on the New Testament, taught by Maryville College professors Bill Meyer and Andrew Irvine.

If you've wondered about how early letters became our Bible, how to interpret parables and stories, or what the cultural context of Bible times was like, this class will answer these questions and more.  


 The class will meet on the campus of Maryville College on March 9 and April 13, from 9:30am to 3:30pm, with lunch at the cafeteria provided. The registration forms (mail-in and online) and suggested readings will be posted on the School of the Laity page of the PET website (under News & Events).


The cost for this course is $65, and registration is due by February 27. If you have any questions, please email or call Corita Swanson at (865) 681-4710.

News and Events Around the Presbytery

Folk at Fourth:  Common Table, Common Purpose


Folk at Fourth Poster for Sparky and Rhonda Rucker concert Fourth United Presbyterian Church (1323 North Broadway, Knoxville) has started a winter concert series of folk music on Wednesday nights! Come enjoy a good meal and great music, make some friends, sing along, and join with your community in experiencing music which not only entertains, but has a purpose.  Come learn some new songs and meet some new people in the Fellowship Hall at Fourth United Presbyterian.  


The next two concerts are Sparky and Rhonda Rucker on January 9, and Don Cassell and Danny Gammon on January 30, with Maggie Longmire as MC.  

Tickets are $10, children 12 and under eat and enjoy FREE.  Tickets will be sold at the door, but it would be wise to call 522-1437 to reserve your tickets early, as there is limited seating.
  Link to Facebook page

How sweet it is in South Knoxville!! 


Sunset Gap Logo Lake Forest Presbyterian Church sent Sunset Gap a nice Christmas present -- a check for $1500.  Seventeen Christmas elves were busy in the kitchen making fudge, coconut bonbons, cashew clusters, and buckeyes and packaging them in decorative tins.  Almost every member of Lake Forest, many members of Graystone, and folks from the Lake Forest Neighborhood Association purchased the homemade candy. All proceeds were contributed to the Sunset Gap Community Center for their general operating fund.  While many have given donations to help rebuild the Sunset Gap dorm that was destroyed by fire last summer, the Lake Forest congregation wanted its Christmas Candy Fundraiser to help keep the lights on and the doors open so this important ministry can continue.

Exciting times at Wartburg! 


Installation of Wartburg Cross The cross being installed at the top of Wartburg PCUSA replaced the previous cross, which was over 100 years old. The previous cross will be enclosed in a shadow box and placed in the back of the sanctuary. October, November and December 2012 were busy months for Wartburg--thanks to a generous gift, we had the windows renovated, using the original glass; the building was repainted; the original church doors were repaired and rehung, and finally, the new cross was installed. We also received a new member in December! We are having exciting times at Wartburg!

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,