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Sunrise in the Smokies
Presbytery of East Tennessee E-Newsletter                                 July, 2016


In This Issue
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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

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PC(USA) leaders issue post-General Assembly letter to the church
"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven." Ecclesiastes 3
Brothers and sisters in Christ, there is a new season in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), as witnessed by the actions of the 222nd General Assembly (2016). The body of 594 commissioners who gathered June 18-25 in Portland, Oregon, elected Co-Moderators Denise Anderson and Jan Edmiston, and J. Herbert Nelson as the Stated Clerk. Both were historic, and both signal a new way forward for our church.
The business decisions made by the body also were transformative for the 1,572,660 members and 9,642 churches of the PC(USA). The work wasn't easy, and involved careful deliberations. Collectively, the body acted on nearly 100 overtures by discerning the will of Christ.
Among other things, we now have a new addition to our Book of Confessions - the Confession of Belhar. It is the first of our confessions that comes from the global south. And, the PC(USA) has a new Directory for Worship; and Child/Youth/Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy and Procedures. God is truly guiding us to be more faithful and just to all of God's creations.
Much discussion has been taking place around the identity and purpose of the denomination, and this week the assembly voted to create a 12-member Way Forward Commission "to study and identify a vision for the structure and function of the General Assembly agencies of the PC(USA)," and a 15-member 2020 Vision Team to "develop a guiding statement for the denomination and make a plan for its implementation."
To quote Stated Clerk-elect J. Herbert Nelson, "We are not dead ... we are alive, we are reforming and we are transforming this world, one person at a time."
Looking outward, the assembly voted to engage in selective, phased divestment from fossil-fuel companies through the PC(USA)'s Mission Responsibility Through Investment committee, and re-affirmed a two-state solution for Israel-Palestine.
Please know this is only a snapshot of the actions taken, and just a glimpse at where God is leading this denomination. Complete business actions can be viewed at .
We are, brothers and sisters, in a new season. It's exciting, but also a little scary. Yet in the midst of it all, take comfort that God is still guiding and controlling all - and we need not fear. God is calling us to hope, and to God be the glory!
The Reverend Gradye Parsons
Stated Clerk of the General Assembly
The Reverend Denise Anderson and the Reverend Jan Edmiston
Co-Moderators of the 222nd General Assembly (2016)
Ruling Elder Tony De La Rosa
Interim Executive Director, Presbyterian Mission Agency
John Knox Center News
Summer Adventure Camps
Outdoor adventure travel camps are designed for fun and excitement!

Middle School Adventure runs July 7-15
. We will explore the rivers and creeks of the Gee Creek and Cohutta Wilderness, canoe the Hiwassee River, snorkel the Conasauga River, hike at Bald River Falls and much more!

Sr. High Adventure is July 17-26.  We will explore North Georgia for hikes, scenery, and adventures in the mountains.  Whitewater canoe, snorkel the Conasauga River, rock climb at Blood Mountain, visit Helen, GA, and camp at Vogel State Park.

We are excited the Rev. Dr. Jon Faraone will join us as Chaplain & climbing guide on both trips.  All transportation, meals, and activities are included in the cost of the sessions. No prior experience needed. These camps are limited. Register soon at !!
Presbyterian Campus Ministry
What is happening at UKirk UT-Knoxville?

It is summer time and that means things are a bit quiet around the house but we are keeping busy!

Is that Harry Potter in the pulpit?


The summer gives Rev. Andy Morgan more time to preach at area churches and he is loving it! If you are looking for someone to fill the pulpit during vacation season please contact to get Andy on your calendar. And yes, he looks a lot like Harry Potter all robed up!


New Vols

With summer comes orientation here at UT and that means there are many of New Vols on campus. Andy is participating in the Campus Ministry breakout sessions at several of this summer's orientations. This is an opportunity for him to meet incoming freshmen and their parents, represent UKirk and it is a time for him to work with his colleagues in ministry through the Campus Ministry Council here at UT. While this is a great opportunity for Andy and UKirk to be seen by many New Vols, we would also love the opportunity to connect with any New Vols that may be heading to campus this fall from your congregation. Simply send us an email with the student's name and email address and we will take it from there!  


FootVol Parking 

Did you know we offer parking for all UT home games during the football season? FootVol Parking is our main fundraiser and the auction for parking spots is CURRENTLY OPEN! Please click here for more information and feel free to share the link with others who might be interested in participating. We would also love for your church to add this blurb in your Sunday morning bulletins. If you have any questions please email us at
Hunger Committee News
Morgan Scott Project, Deer Lodge, TN

Our Presbytery supports the Morgan Scott Project, which works in two of the poorest counties in East Tennessee. Its able director, Ella Smith, reports that it serves 357 families through a food pantry, garden, housing repairs, scholarship program for vocational education and thrift store. For more on these programs, see their website,
The Morgan Scott food pantry opens every Friday. In addition to shipments from Second Harvest Food Bank, volunteers supply vegetables from the project's garden: potatoes, green beans, corn, onions, okra, squash, tomatoes, lettuce and cucumbers.
Pictured here is a volunteer hard at work with a local coach.
 Each spring the Morgan Scott Project supplies rural families with seeds, seedlings and fertilizer, so that families provide for themselves. Successful gardeners bring prize produce to the food pantry for "bragging rights."
In summer, suburban and urban congregations send mission teams to the Morgan Scott Project. Since many of the volunteers have not lived on farms, they enjoy feeding the chickens and harvesting the fresh eggs for their breakfast.

The Morgan Scott website video shows great before and after pictures of the accomplishments of these mission volunteers.
To help employ residents, the Morgan Scott Project has a scholarship fund for job training. It also has a free medical clinic every other Friday that serves families above welfare, but unreached by medical insurance. The thrift store provides used clothes and furniture, while paying overhead costs for the Morgan Scott Project. If your congregation has volunteers, clothes and furniture or donations, contact Ella Smith and join the effort in Deer Lodge, TN -
Scott Brunger, Hunger Committee,
From the CRE Subcommittee
The Commissioned Ruling Elder (CRE) subcommittee would like to share information with all of the churches in our presbytery about the CRE program. We have volunteers who would like to attend a session meeting, a Sunday morning minute for mission, or any weeknight programs your churches may have to talk about the CRE program. Currently, there are 5 CRE's who are serving in our presbytery at churches in Chattanooga, Lenoir City, Maryville, Rockwood and Wartburg. Recent graduates of the program are Elders Beth Ragsdale, Barry Simmons and Lynne Shockley. Currently enrolled in the program are Elders Rosalyn Mckeown-Ice and Tim Pelfrey.
Ordained Elders who have served at least one three-year term on Session are eligible for this program. Please contact Carolyn S. Anderson, the Chair of the CRE subcommittee at  or 865-951-2805 to obtain more information on the CRE program or to arrange to have a CRE come visit your church to provide information. We look forward to visiting with all the churches.
Peacemaking Committee News
 International Peacemaker Visit this fall 
Peacemaking Logo - DoveWhile the PC(USA) Peacemaking Office finalizes plans for this fall's International Peacemakers, thought you would want to know we've requested the Peacemaker for either Oct. 7-13 (first choice) or Oct. 3-10. Either time period allows for the Peacemaker's speaking at the PW Fall Retreat in Knoxville. Our country choices are: Cuba, Hungary, then Colombia. Hopefully, we will know in a few weeks the exact dates and which country we're assigned. 

If you have any preferred day of the week to host the Peacemaker, please email Donna Schall (
Climate & Energy Stewardship Team
Carbon Footprint Fund
We leave carbon footprints any time we use fossil fuel-supplied energy such as for auto and air travel, and utility usage in homes and churches. At the May Presbytery meeting at John Knox Center, a motion was approved to allow the creation of a Carbon Footprint Fund, a mechanism by which individual, family, or congregational members of the presbytery can make voluntary contributions to offset the effects of their energy use on creation. Money contributed to the Carbon Footprint Fund will be made available to facilities around the presbytery for eligible projects such as green power generation or improvements in energy efficiency and conservation.

Contributions can be made in any amount, directly to the Presbytery office or through any participating congregation. If donors wish to calculate an amount based on specific carbon footprint, they can contact a member of the Climate and Energy Stewardship team (CES) for details ( More information regarding the fund and the application process will be coming in future newsletter posts. We hope this will be seen as a wonderful opportunity to share a message of God's love for us and for creation, and will demonstrate both within our church and to others our commitment as Christians to be good stewards of the gifts of creation.
News and Events Around the Presbytery
Wartburg fundraiser for Living Waters for the World

Living Waters for the World color logo Wartburg Presbyterian Church will have a booth at the WECO Radio Station's Outdoor Show on July 16 in Wartburg as a fundraiser for Living Waters for the World. We will have items for silent auction, including a book that 9 year-old Morgan Nance from the church wrote in her creative writing class in school and is published in hardback edition. The book, titled "The Brave Little Mermaid" is a wonderful story of friendship. Also for auction will be an autographed copy of a book by TV's Heartland Series narrator Bill Landry on the people and places of East Tennessee, as well as two autographed copies of books by award winning mystery/romance writer international best seller Catherine Coulter. Our booth will be on the courthouse square in downtown Wartburg, and we'll have lots of other items for auction as well. The Outdoor Show runs from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Please come and have a day of great fun with many vendors, excellent music, fabulous food, and of course, stop by our booth!

Carol Howard Merritt to speak at Erin Presbyterian Church Annual Retreat

Carol Howard Merritt Erin Presbyterian Church invites church leaders and lay ministers to join us at our 4th Annual Claude & Pat Houbler Church Retreat. The event will be held at the John Knox Center in Ten Mile, TN on Saturday, August 27. Visitors are welcome to join us for lunch at 12:30 pm in the John Knox dining hall and then hear our speaker Carol Howard Merritt at 1:30 pm.  Cost for lunch is $7.50 per person.
Carol Howard Merritt is an ordained PCUSA minister and a nationally known writer and speaker on religious issues.   She is the award-winning author of Tribal Church: Ministering to the Missing Generation and Reframing Hope: Vital Ministry in a New Generation. Carol writes, speaks and blogs extensively on issues related to the church in the new millennium and ministering to new generations. Her talk will focus on how small churches can remain vibrant and relevant in this new age. Carol currently resides in Chattanooga, TN.

If you have any questions or would like to register for the retreat, please contact Anna McKay at anna7625@gmail.comThe registration deadline is Sunday, August 7.

Renaissance Presbyterian Church makes an impact

  Photo by Doug Strickland/Times Free Press

The following article from the Chattanooga Times Free Press highlights how a small church without an installed pastor, led by a determined elder, can touch lives in its community.

Gloria Griffith was in her 60s when she started the Renaissance Presbyterian summer camp.  Despite being retired, the 68-year-old mother and grandmother worried about youth playing in the midst of crime, so she started the program anyway.

"There was nothing for the kids to do," Griffith said Wednesday while working at the camp.

For the past five years, she has organized the Renaissance Presbyterian Church camp, to provide Westside children with art classes, dance, food and field trips, including visits to the downtown public library, the Tennessee Aquarium and the IMAX.
  Griffith's plan was to keep young people too busy to get into trouble.

Read the full article at

PET at Montreat Youth Conference

This is most (but not all) of the PET youth at Montreat, June 12-19. Included are youth from Fountain City, Rivermont, Sequoyah Hills, Washington, and Westminster. Thanks be to God! We're learning about how to make a world of difference as God's people!
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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,