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Dogwood Blossoms
Presbytery of East Tennessee E-Newsletter
May 2015 
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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 



Office Mailing Address - NEW
P.O. Box 31625
Knoxville, TN 37930-1625

Office Fax

Office Hours
8:00am to 4:30pm, Monday - Friday
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Presbytery Meeting - May 5
Meeting of the Presbytery at John Knox Center
Tuesday, May 5
591 West Rockwood Ferry Road, Ten Mile, TN
John Knox Center blog graphic

Registration: 9:00 a.m. in B Lodge 

Meeting: 10:00 a.m. in the Pavillion

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance responds to earthquake disaster in Nepal
The death toll from the massive earthquake in Nepal continues to rise. Nearly 7,250 are known dead and more than 14,000 were injured when the 7.8 quake struck just west of the capital of Kathmandu on April 25. The quake, the worst in more than 80 years, along with many serious aftershocks has also caused damage in parts of India and Bangladesh.

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) is providing emergency relief and short-term recovery in the impacted areas with our partner, ACT Alliance and its members who are already on the ground. Immediate response will help provide needed food, water, supplies and medicine to the impacted towns and villages. As long term recovery plans are developed, PDA will accompany and further financially support our partners in the area to insure that a comprehensive recovery is sustained.

The needs for the response will be great. God's people are once again called on to stand in the "GAP" - Give. Act. Pray.

Give: Financial support for relief efforts can be designated to DR999999 with reference to Nepal. Gifts can be made online, by phone (800) 872-3283 weekdays between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. (EST), or checks can be mailed to Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), P.O. Box 643700, Pittsburg, PA 15264-3700.

Act: Learn how your congregation can help families who have lost everything in the devastation. Stay informed and like us on Facebook, download resources and share updates with your congregation.

Pray: Pray for those who suffered loss of family or those who are working tirelessly to provide rescue, humanitarian aid, and spiritual and psychological support.

For more information, visit

"And after the earthquake....the sound of sheer silence,
      and a Voice said: 'what are you doing here?'" (1 Kings 19:12-13)

Be the presence of God with Presbyterian Disaster Assistance for the people of Nepal.
Maryville College News
Horizons: A Summer Youth Theology Experience
JUNE 21 - 26
Maryville College's Horizons program is one of the Lilly Endowment's 34 theological programs for high school youth. Horizons gives rising 10th, 11th and 12th graders an opportunity to explore their faith, plunge into service, build friendships and gain confidence - all with the end goal of preparing future leaders for the Church. Only $225!

As church professionals, alumni, and friends, you are the College's best advocates for young people and the MC experience of faith and learning. Please forward information about this outstanding program to your church, or better yet, contact a young person you know who has potential gifts for ministry and leadership. Best and blessings to you!

For more information contact:
Kathleen Farnham

Director of Church Relations


Youth Committee News



Youth Council is a wonderful opportunity for youth to meet others youth from area churches and to enhance their leadership skills.  The Youth Committee is seeking to have all PET churches represented on Youth Council.  Youth Council is for high school students preferably in grades 10-12. Besides participating in planning Youth Summit and Middle School Fall Retreat, youth council members have an opportunity to make friends with youth from other churches.  Community building is an important component of being on Youth Council.  All churches should have received an application form.  However, if you need more information or a copy of the form, please contact Cheryl Child at (865) 573-759 or by email at


Presbytery Youth Events


Youth Summit 2015 was a huge success! With Michelle Thomas-Bush as keynote speaker, our youth and adult leaders were treated to a fantastic weekend of inspiration as we learned about living a Playful Life. Plans are already underway for Youth Summit 2016. The dates are Feb. 26-28.


Middle School Fall Retreat will be held at John Knox Center the weekend of Sept. 25-27. Watch for more information this summer.

The Big Tent is coming!
A national gathering of Presbyterians is coming to East Tennessee! 
Big Tent 2015 registration is up and running and everyone is excited about what it will bring

Big Tent Video
Big Tent Registration



The Presbytery Peacemaking Committee is offering scholarships of $200 for FIRST-TIME attendees of Big Tent, to help toward the registration cost. We need your nominations, submitted via your pastor, by May 10 for approval at our next meeting. Please submit via email to Donna Schall,, copying Caroline Best,


Volunteers are needed!

Many volunteers (in excess of 200) are needed to make this gathering a success. Help is needed areas such as:

  • set-up of exhibits
  • on-site registration
  • shuttle service drivers
  • greeters/guides
  • meal/hospitality helpers
  • worship assistants
  • set-up and tear-down of the children and youth areas, etc.
This is an incredible opportunity for us to extend the hand of fellowship to our brothers and sisters from across the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). It is also an opportunity to demonstrate your cheerful generosity as there are no funds available to reimburse travel expenses.

Can we count on you to be one of our volunteers?  Contact Dana Hendrix in the Presbytery office to be placed on the volunteer list. ( or 865-688-5581 ext. 101) Our volunteer coordinators will be in touch with you as soon as we have details from the Big Tent organizers concerning specific volunteer duties and time slots. 
Thank you!
PET Committee on Nominations
The Presbytery's Committee on Nominations needs your assistance in identifying qualified individuals to serve on Presbytery teams and committees.  Please review the nomination form and prayerfully consider submitting a nomination.  Self nominations are accepted. 
UT Campus Ministries

UKirk at UT Knoxville


If you come by the Presbyterian Campus Ministry at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville you will see we have a new sign in our front yard.  You will also notice that the sign says our new name is "UKIRK a Presbyterian Campus Ministry."  You may be wondering why in the world we would decide to change our name to "UKIRK."  "UKIRK" literally means, "University Church."   The reason we changed our name is because the Presbyterian Church (USA) is hoping to "brand" Presbyterian campus ministries on all college campuses "UKIRK."  Up until recently there was not a common name among PC(USA) campus ministries.  Depending on what school you attended you might find the "Presbyterian Student Center" or the "Westminster House" or "The Porch" or "The Gate" or the "Presbyterian Campus Ministry" or the "Calvin Center."  At the college I attended the name of the Presbyterian campus ministry was the "Cal Aggie House."  I didn't even know it was Presbyterian until I was already established in another campus ministry.  By "branding" PC(USA) campus ministry "UKIRK" no matter where our youth go to college when they arrive on campus they will know to look for the UKIRK campus ministry.  We know this name might be confusing for awhile but we do hope that in years to come the name UKIRK will grow in popularity and be known as the Presbyterian campus ministry on all college campuses.   


Are you a VOL football fan?  Do you hate driving around trying to find a place to park?  Do you need room to tailgate?  Wouldn't you rather your parking money go to support the UKIRK/Presbyterian Campus Ministry instead of some random guy collecting your cash and directing you to a narrow parking space in a sketchy parking lot?  If so, then you should reserve your parking space for the 2015 Vol Football season at UKIRK/Presbyterian Campus Ministry!  Starting now we will be taking bids to reserve your space.  Bidding will start at $250 and will be very competitive this year.  If your bid is accepted you will win a reserved parking space for the 2015 football season, room to tailgate, use of the basement kitchen, bathrooms, and use of the tv at the campus ministry house.  All proceeds will go to support the ministry of UKIRK/Presbyterian Campus Ministry.  If you would like to place a bid or if you have questions please contact us at or 865-394-9242.


If you are a student at UT or if you know a student planning to attend UT please note that UKIRK/Presbyterian Campus Ministry "rents" reserved parking spaces to students for $90/semester or $75/summer.  This can save you or a student you love hours of driving around campus trying to find a place to park and it supports the campus ministry.  Really, everyone wins if you park at UKIRK/PCM!  If you'd like to rent a reserved space please call us at 865-395-9242 or email us at


Radical Hospitality: A Home Away From Home on UTC's Campus  By Logan Wilson 


Hope 808 logo The Historic Fort Wood District, located just off UTC's campus, contains many old houses from the turn of the century, including one affectionately titled "Hope 808". This historic home has been owned by the Presbyterian Church since the Sixties, and offers a form of worship service for students on campus, as well as a place to study, relax and eat free food.


Hope 808 promotes an open-door policy that invites diverse groups of people with varying religious backgrounds. UTC student and frequent cook at Hope 808, Becca Sadowitz, "I know that it's not just the Presbyterian faith that they cater to, they cater to really every, and all religions. I've seen Muslims there, I've seen Hindus, Agnostics, Atheists; I've seen everyone there." Sadowitz also remarked on Hope's ministry incorporating her faith into their bible study, saying "I identify as a conservative Jew, but they're very open. There was kind of a Bible study, if you will, about the Ten Commandments, and they specifically invited me over for that because of my religious background. So I was able to provide a little different spin to it." In contrast to other ministries on campus, Hope 808 attempts to maintain a welcoming nature that does not force religious conversion. Sadowitz explained her experience with this approach, saying, "The more I talked about Hope and how I enjoyed being there, my mom actually got on guard because she was worried that I was going to be proselytized. Other people who were more vocal about their Christianity have, in the past, tried to convert me. Once my mom met them, and saw the place during a Spectrum event where we borrowed Hope's space, she realized 'Okay, it's a safe place, there is food here, she's not going to get hurt, and they're always protective of the students.'"


They welcome non religious visitors as well. Connor Behrman, a UTC student and former officer of the LGBT group Spectrum, said, "It's just a good place to be around. It's somewhere I am okay with calling home even though I personally am not religious." Hope 808 also holds free lunch on Tuesdays and dinner on Sundays, welcoming anyone who decides to walk through their door. Behrman, praised this, saying, "First, everyone needs to know that the food is awesome. We do have a lot of people who come on our Tuesdays and on our Sundays for the free food. It's different every week and they try to cook things that everyone will enjoy, and they have vegetarian options, which is a plus for me."


Hope 808's Director of Hospitality, Terry Paris, said, "We like to provide a place for students who wouldn't be caught dead in any other campus ministry. They can come in here whether they believe in Jesus Christ as the Savior, or if they're Muslim or Hindu. But for the folks who are kind of in between and they don't know, like those who are Agnostic or Atheist this is a place they can come and sit. We have great conversations about God, and if we were all over people, trying to save them or convert them when they walk in the door, we would never have those conversations. They would never come back."


The open door policy is also explained by Hope's director of Spirituality, Tricia Dillon Thomas concisely stating, "We believe in radical hospitality so a lot of people come here. That's part of the welcoming ministry that, for us, comes out of our faith." Thomas also explained why the Hope 808 has such a magnetic affect on students, saying, "We have free wi-fi. We have a coffee house downstairs. We have a copy machine, A big screen TV with a Wii, a ping pong table, and a washer and dryer. There are plenty of study rooms and lounge spaces and great outdoor spaces. I mean this house is just amazing. . . The thing we hear the most is that, unlike other places, this feels like a home."

From the Peacemaking Committee

2015 Ecumenical Advocacy Days 

By Dwyn Mounger


Representing PET's Peacemaking Committee and Serve Mission Team, I attended this year's 2015 Ecumenical Advocacy Days in Washington, April 18-20.



A record-breaking crowd of 1,000 Protestant, Roman Catholic, and members of other denominations overflowed the hotel, joining in vital non-sectarian worship and song, informative workshops, and presentations about the many challenges to God-willed, human peace, justice, and freedom in both the U.S. and the world.


This year's theme was "Breaking the Chains: Mass Incarceration and Systems of Exploitation." We gasped at the statistics--e.g., the U.S., with just over 4% of the world's population, imprisons nearly 25% of all earth's inmates, at an annual cost to our taxpayers of $29,000 per prisoner!


Read more about Ecumenical Advocacy Days.
PET has a new mailing address
The Presbytery of East Tennessee has a new mailing address:

Presbytery of East Tennessee
P.O. Box 31625
Knoxville, TN 37930-1625

Please send any future correspondence to this address.  Our primary email address remains
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,