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Dogwood Blossoms
Presbytery of East Tennessee E-NewsletterMarch 2016
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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
P.O. Box 31625
Knoxville, TN 37930-1625

Office Fax

Office Hours
8:00am to 4:30pm, Monday - Friday
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Maryville College News
Maryville College receives the New Vision Banners
At the February stated meeting of the Presbytery of East Tennessee, Maryville College was awarded the New Vision Banners by the Presbytery's Coordinating Committee for Vision and Mission in recognition of their new youth theology program supported by a grant from the Lilly Foundation.  Through this program, Maryville College will partner with the Presbytery's Equip Mission Team, Youth Committee, and John Knox Center to strengthen youth ministries, and provide leadership for youth and the volunteers and staff that support them.

For more information about this exciting program, read Maryville College's Annual Report.
At the Feb. 20 PET meeting, left to right: Rev. Sharon Youngs (MC board member), Dr. Tom Bogart (MC President), Dr. Emily Anderson (PET Moderator), Rev. Anne McKee (MC campus minister), Kathleen Farnham (MC Dir. of Church Relations), Dr. Les Rust (Moderator of the PET Coordinating Committee), and Rev. Judd Shaw (PET General Presbyter).
Hunger Committee News
Souper Bowl of Caring Huntsville Souper Bowl Success

First Presbyterian Church of Huntsville has been taking a Souper Bowl offering for the past 18 years. The offering is now one of the top in Tennessee, even though Huntsville has only 100 members.

This year they contributed $3,024 plus food items, toiletries and washing products and 30 can openers. They use the money for food backpacks for children. The food items for their food pantry. The toiletries, hygiene products and detergent go to shelter occupants, so they will be presentable when in society. The can openers meet a need because some children cannot open the cans in their backpacks. They were bringing back unopened cans.

According to Pastor Martha Anne Fairchild,
The youngest Souper Bowl
"We do have several extremely generous members who make relatively large donations.  But we have nearly 100% participation in the church, and nearly everyone gives more than the suggested $1.00 offering.  We line our children and teens up at the door with soup pots and bowls, and our tradition is that every donor puts a donation in every child's pot or bowl - usually putting a check or large bill in one, and dollar bills or change in each of the others.  We want every child to end up with lots of money in their container!  We promote the offering for several weeks before we receive it, and on Souper Bowl Sunday the director of the shelter and pantry comes to worship with us and talk about the services they provide to our county.  Over the years we have emphasized the ability of the pantry to make our money go much farther than if we were buying food ourselves at a grocery store, both through buying at Second Harvest, where they can purchase food by the pound, and by using our donation to qualify for matching grants.  We are confident in the integrity of the organization and even have a member of the church on its governing board."

Praise God for this witness in one of the poorest counties in our state.
Presbyterian Campus Ministry
Hope House - UKirk at UT-Chattanooga

I've heard and used the term 'Sunday Christian' to describe us Christians when we only think about or act faithfully that one day of the week. My students use the term differently. Per Urban Dictionary - someone that uses the Christian religion to hide their lack of faith, immoral actions, and societal misdeeds on the guise that Jesus died for their sins. These people will sometimes attend church every Sunday, or maybe even 'just' occasionally (and sometimes never at all) just to be looped into a large group in order to feel as though their shallow beliefs will be backed up because of sheer numbers.
There are a lot of hard stories about why folks no longer attend church-from the church not being there for someone in their deepest need to being told over and over they are a disappointment to God. Those stories break our hearts and are often based on a theology that we would never espouse. Those stories also keep people from returning or ever going to church. Sometimes people see such a disconnect between what they see Christians saying in the media and what they hear on the periphery about this loving God of ours that to engage them in a conversation is to enter into battle. As Christians we would never deny that the institution is broken, that there aren't sinful people inside it, but we would also affirm when the church is at it's best it is literally the Body of Christ in this world, and that's what we hope to point them towards, Jesus Christ.
Throughout the years I along with other good hearted, faithful Christians ask how we might attract more young people to our Churches. With terms like "Sunday Christian" floating around, it's really no surprise that young people who've been told they are a disappointment to God or who's only experience with the Christian faith is what they get from popular culture want little to do with us, or even worse, God.
The other night on Ash Wednesday, I imposed ashes on two men in a bar. They were in another booth and saw the sign of the cross on my forehead and the collar around my neck. Some students and I meet at a local pub every Wednesday for an informal discussion on theology and culture, and these men were the only other table in that back room with us. They probably heard us banter, in fact, there's no way they couldn't have; we are loud. But on their way out one paused and asked me about Ash Wednesday because he didn't grow up with the tradition. I admitted it was fairly new to me, too. We talked a little and afterwards when I asked if they would like for me to put the sign of the cross on their head, they said please. When I opened my container, however, my ashes were dry. I had grabbed the wrong ashes. I looked up at them embarrassed, and that's when one of the men licked the back of his hand. I mixed my dry ashes right there on the back of his hand with his saliva. His friend did the same. There was something kind of beautiful about that moment. Ashes, spit, strangers in a bar. They thanked me and left. What's funny is that my own students had been reluctant to receive ashes up until that point. So when they asked, I put them on them too (although this time drawing water with a straw and mixing on a plate).  
Nadia Boltz Webber says we do things to be a means in and of itself, not a means to an end. Sometimes it's just simply about showing up, meeting people where they are -whether it's in a campus ministry building or a bar, and we get out of the way and let the Holy Spirit do her work. By staying authentic to who we're called to be as Christians, we model Jesus' call to radical hospitality as we treat God's people with compassion and love. He has no feet no hands but yours.

Rev. Tricia Dillon Thomas
Director of Hospitality
Hope House - UKirk at UTC
John Knox Center News
Get John Knox place mats for your congregational meal!

John Knox Center would like to provide the place mats for a congregational meal at your church! Many of you saw these at the February presbytery meeting and know there are 8 unique mats with stories from around our presbytery of how this ministry has impacted lives in a variety of ways.  Call our office (865) 376-2236 or email to schedule a date.  We will bring them to you and are available to provide a minute for missions at this meal or answer questions regarding summer camp or the overall ministry.   

Climate & Energy Stewardship Team
Have you heard...

...of a concept called the "social cost of carbon"? This is a measure of the impact of CO2 emissions on the nation's economy, taking into consideration consequences of climate change such as property damage, health impacts, and reduced crop yields. Government agencies use it in "cost/benefit" analyses when proposing regulations to limit carbon emissions, to help determine whether the regulation is financially justifiable. One figure that is commonly seen these days for the SCC is $37 per ton CO2 emissions per year, but this figure is highly variable and debatable, and depends on what sort of economic factors are plugged into the equation. The important thing to remember is that, for example, when we drive our car, we derive a benefit from that, like getting to where we need to go, but there is a cost beyond just the gasoline required to get there. As one source puts it, regardless of the exact dollar amount, "the figure... has a unique moral dimension." As Christians concerned about the impact of our lifestyles on creation, it is this moral dimension that causes many of us to pause and think about how we might reduce or compensate for our own contributions to the social cost of carbon.

On another note, several months ago we cited figures on the savings achievable by switching from incandescent to LED exit signs that may not have been realistic. In a comparison done by the government program Energy Star, it was found that each LED exit sign can save $24 per year in energy costs and last for 10 years or more, compared to incandescent, which may last only a few months. Plus, the LED signs result in an 8-fold reduction in CO2 emissions!
News and Events Around the Presbytery

On Sunday, March 6
, Choirmaster Peter VanEenam, chancel choir members, and orchestra will present John Rutter's Requiem throughout the 11:00 am worship service at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 6500 Northshore Dr. in Knoxville.

Community Health Luncheon at First Presbyterian Church, Oak Ridge 
Thursday, March 17, 2016
12:00 Noon

1051 Oak Ridge Turnpike
"Wound Care"
Dr. David Stanley with Methodist Medical Center's Wound Treatment Center
This event is free and open to the public; lunch is available for $5.00. Call 865-483-1318 for reservations. Come and bring a friend!

West Emory hosts Valentine's event at Midway  Rehabilitation Center 
Steven McNish, M.D., with the Rev. Dr. Miki Vanderbilt, pastor of West Emory Church.
Sunday, February 7, members of Knoxville's West Emory Church prepared down-home food and took it to the 40 residents of the local Midway Rehabilitation Center. A treatment and counseling facility for men and women recovering from substance abuse, Midway helps them to find jobs and begin new lives. Most have served time in state or federal prisons. Wlth bright red and pink Valentine-themed decorations, the West Emory group adorned the spare basement dining hall.  Then they served heaping plates to the grateful residents and ate with them, giving them encouragement and the love of Christ.  Pièce de ré·sis·tance was the table piled high with delicious Valentine's desserts, beckoning the residents to eat their fill. 

Dr. Steven McNish, Executive Director of Midway, thanked the Presbyterians, saying that the meal meant everything to those who live there. He hopes that more congregations will bring home-cooked meals to the residents and reach out to them.
West Emory group of teens to seniors who
brought home cooking to Midway Rehab Center. 

Immigration Advocacy Network Training, May 12-14

The PC(USA) Office of Immigration Issues is a network training for Presbyterians involved in immigration advocacy. The purpose will be to build connections among Presbyterians with a passion for justice for immigrants. 

Here's what to expect:
  • Learn how to apply community organizing skills to their local contexts
  • Gather basic tools for building effective local coalitions
  • Network and share best practices with other advocates
  • Learn about historical contexts and current topics of immigration advocacy
  • Explore biblical and theological frameworks
  • Develop action plans to implement at home
All registration fees cover room and board; participants will be responsible for their own travel expenses. Please plan to arrive between 2- 4pm on Thursday, May 12 and to leave after 1pm on Saturday, May 14.

Training information and registration
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,