One of our favorite things about the spring semester each year is celebrating our graduating seniors.  And this year, we have a special Senior Spotlight series on our blog.  Our seniors answered interview questions earlier this spring and it has been so much fun learning their answers! Check back in each week to get to know our seniors better and help to cheer them on as they wrap up high school and prepare for their next steps!

Meet Margi Troxler!

What high school are you graduating from?
West High School
What are your plans for next year?
To attend the University of Mississippi!
What is your favorite bible verse?
“The Lord is my light and my salvation whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” – Psalm 27:1
If you could choose one meal to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Pizza with ranch!
If you could give some advice to your younger self, what would it be?
How will the choices you’re making right now affect you in the future?
What are your top 3 favorite movies?
Pretty Women, Mamma Mia, 10 Things I Hate About You
What is your favorite Church Street memory?
My first choir tour going Canada!! This trip was filled with so much fun and an experience I’ll never forget.
What are you most excited about going into the next season of your life?
I’m most excited about meeting lots of new people and being able to participate in all college activities!

Weekly Prayers for the Church Street Family

Week of May 2, 2021

Written by Rev. Jan Buxton Wade

You ask us, Lord, to abide in you, and we have pledged to do so. Yours is such an open and gracious invitation, but in our narcissistic society, our hearts are easily tempted to take shelter in unhealthy places, spending hours in ways that do not nourish our spirits. Forgive us, we pray, for focusing on the transient, for settling for second-best, when we could be daily enriched by your goodness. Call us home again, Dear Friend. Brush off the doormat that bids us welcome, and we will enter your abode where we shall be fed with trust and kindness. Make us resolute in soul, we pray, that we might never wander again.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
Source of Sustenance, in our roving, we confess the seeds you have planted in us have returned a meager harvest; but we thank you that you haven’t given up on us. As the Master Gardener, take those dormant kernels, long neglected and dissipated, tend them with your patient hand, and provide an environment of prosperity. We would yield savory and abundant crops for the kingdom in the season of life which we are given. May grace and peace and mercy and forgiveness be the fruits we bear, and may we share them generously in your Name.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
Vine of True Life, this week spring rains have poured forth torrents of your life-giving waters, assuring us of your constant care for all creation. As you replenish and sustain your good earth, replenish us with a spirit of thanksgiving, for our wells are full to overflowing with gifts from your benevolent hand. From the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, may Jesus Christ be praised!
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
We are indebted to you, O Divine One, for sending us the Holy Spirit to help us in our yearning, for we truly do not know how to pray. We remain mystified by the suffering and pain that thrive throughout our planet and we long to be part of its healing. Send your soothing Spirit to our brothers and sisters in every region who are oppressed, misunderstood, lonely, hungry, and forgotten; and as each soul is dear to you, receive these particular petitions and thanksgivings offered by your followers at Church Street:
Joys
  • One appreciates completion of another round of chemo
  • Gratitude: Knee replacement surgery successful
  • Member recovering well from heart surgery
  • Member celebrates birth of twins: grand-niece & grand-nephew
  • Encouraging news of dear friend healing from Covid
  • Member celebrates a new living arrangement
  • Back surgery is bringing healing for member
  • Family thankful for church support during a bereavement
  • Gratitude: mother with leukemia much improved
  • Thankful: sister has been discharged from rehab facility
Concerns
  • Cousin recovering from triple by-pass surgery
  • Healing for mother & brother in New Delhi struggling with Covid
  • Relief for the people of India suffering from virus
  • Lift up member, new resident in assisted living
  • Cherished husband, healing of leg injury
  • Healing prayers: one undergoing knee surgery May 6
  • Encouragement for one in deep depression
  • Continued relief for one suffering from asthma
  • For brother-in-law’s successful heart surgery May 7
  • Steady healing for member with fractured femur
  • Patience & healing of painful shoulder injury
  • Comfort & safe travels for bereaved member
  • Full Covid recovery for single mother of two
  • Cherished aging father in assisted living
  • New hope for a husband who is discouraged
  • Healing for two afflicted with lymphoma
As ones aware of our weakness, yet trusting that you are our strength; as those harboring questions, yet knowing that you hold all answers, we lift up all our prayers to you in the name of Jesus, who taught us to pray:
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

Have a Prayer Request?

One of our favorite things about the spring semester each year is celebrating our graduating seniors.  And this year, we have a special Senior Spotlight series on our blog.  Our seniors answered interview questions earlier this spring and it has been so much fun learning their answers! Check back in each week to get to know our seniors better and help to cheer them on as they wrap up high school and prepare for their next steps!

Meet Eli Cowart!

What high school are you graduating from?
Bearden
What are your plans for next year?
Start at Pellissippi for audio engineering and finish the conversion on my vintage van
What is your favorite bible verse?
The desire of the righteous ends only in good,
    the expectation of the wicked in wrath.” – Proverbs 11:23
If you could choose one meal to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Buffalo wings
If you could give some advice to your younger self, what would it be?
To not be so hard on yourself
What are your top 3 favorite movies?
Here Comes the Boom
School of Rock
The Dark Knight
What is your favorite Church Street memory?
The New York choir trip
What are you most excited about going into the next season of your life?
My van conversion and the traveling I’ll do in it

Weekly Prayers for the Church Street Family

Week of April 25, 2021

Written by Rev. Jan Buxton Wade

Lord of Change, you show us the sacred in everything, even in the simple occurrences in our lives. As you are turning over the season, we feel the warmth of the spring sun, behold the fresh buds and green sprigs, and hear the early birdsong and chattering squirrels. Turn our souls over, too, we pray, that we might unearth the long buried pure intentions once rooted in our hearts. Direct us toward ways in which we might let the old fall away — the old ideas, the obsolete models, and our resistance to change. Transformation often comes with pain, but you, O God of New Beginnings, will instill us with courage to take our first wobbly steps down that rough road of renewal. Hear us, Lord, as we especially seek your transformation in these personal areas: . . . . . . . . . .
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Good Shepherd, we, like sheep, are often myopic, wandering from one situation to another, frightened and disoriented, battered by grievous news of widespread illness and disaster, by blatant acts of violence and destruction, by racial misunderstandings and divisions, by knowledge of innocents who are undeserving of pain and death. Sometimes the weight of the world becomes too much for us to bear and our hearts remain broken. We recall the psalmist who knew you as the Good Shepherd; he never promised that all our pain and woes would cease. Rather, he assured us that you would comfort us with your rod and your staff. Comfort, O comfort your people, Lord, for we are worn and weary. Bring your sheep into your fold once again, that we might learn your gentle ways and follow you to pastures of healing.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

O Keeper, you are often looking out for us, even when we so carelessly graze in dangerous pastures. We pray we do not stray too far from the voice that calls out to us across the way. We know your voice, just as you know ours, so shelter us from all that threatens. And so, with confident hearts, we lay before you these prayers on behalf of our church family:

Joys
-Gratitude: member recovering steadily from surgery
-Blessing of Sunday’s confirmations and baptisms
-Thanksgiving: local availability of virus vaccines
-Appreciation for faithfulness of our Stephen Ministers
-One thankful that cancer meds seem to be working
-Gratitude that heart cath procedure went smoothly
-All who work to help solve violence in our neighborhood

Concerns
-Comfort for family mourning death of cherished husband
-Easing of back pain for one who suffers greatly
-Mother & brother in New Delhi afflicted with Covid
-Steady healing for member with fractured femur
-Patience & healing of painful shoulder injury
-Beloved niece in Iowa recovering from cancer surgery; & guidance for family members & medical personnel supporting her
-Prayers that mentor may recover from Covid
-Covid relief for all suffering in India
-Smooth transition for family moving to another state next week
-Healing touch of God for one in depression
-Easing of anger & tension between neighbors
-All mourning death of brother last Saturday
-God’s strength & courage for two struggling young women
-Healing for two afflicted with lymphoma

We thank you for putting in our hearts a desire to know you more fully, a desire to be more closely bonded to your Son, and a desire to be a better people. Watch over us this week, we may follow the lead of our great Shepherd of the Sheep, who taught us to pray:

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

Have a Prayer Request?

When the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in East Tennessee and caused closures across Knoxville, it was unclear how long a shutdown would last.

In a typical year, 6th grade students who choose to participate in Confirmation meet weekly with Rev. Rick Isbell to learn more about their faith, the traditions in the United Methodist Church, and how to live as a disciple of Jesus Christ. But this has not been a typical year. What was unclear at the start of the 2020-21 school year was if and how a confirmation class would continue at Church Street.

Isbell has taught the confirmation class since he first began ministering at Church Street. Isbell retired in 2019. Each August, he would welcome a new class of students, and spend the next 8 months getting to know them and leading them, along with supportive adult volunteers, in this new era of their faith stories. 

“I’d never envisioned that I would do confirmation over Zoom,” Isbell says. “I’d never imagined I’d do a lot of stuff this year through Zoom, but we’ve been able to do it.” 

This year, 6th and 7th graders have joined together weekly on Zoom for the 15-person confirmation class. 

The 2021 Confirmation Class poses for a group photo on Sunday, April 25 following their confirmation.

Getting started included church staff, members 

Isbell says that while he has led the conversation each week, one powerful lesson has come from teaching the confirmation class during a pandemic. 

“What I learned is it takes a church to teach a confirmation class,” Isbell says. “It’s not just me, it’s a ton of people that have really helped this come about.” 

The first step in moving the confirmation class online was deciding how to take the physical worksheets and interactive activities and replicate them online. Youth Director Jenny Cross developed the online presence for the class, creating an online folder for students to access with worksheets and lessons before arriving to Zoom class on Sunday mornings. 

Before Cross could add digital files to the online folder, Rick and Paula Buckner worked to organize and keep track of worksheets and lessons. Once a worksheet was needed, a church staff member like Children’s Director Katryn Bancroft or Associate Pastor Palmer Cantler would find the worksheet in the physical file at the church, share with Doris Lively in the front office who would then scan and send to Cross and Isbell. 

Once on Zoom, Melanie and Russell McNutt would ensure that the logistics of on-screen learning were ironed out. Russell is the host most weeks, and both make sure that screens are shared and students are muted at appropriate times. Jeri Strong also joins each Zoom meeting to take attendance. 

“It’s been challenging, but it’s also been rewarding to continue to see their faces every Sunday morning,” Isbell says. 

Class continues as planned, with only minor changes 

In previous years, the confirmation class has been very interactive, with games and other ways to keep the students engaged in their learning. As the class moved to Zoom, Isbell worried about the engagement of the students. 

As the class began in the fall, Isbell struggled to get responses on the Zoom format. But, through trial and error,  teachers realized the best way to communicate with the students was by using Zoom’s chat feature. In one 45-minute session, more than 100 chats were sent by the students. 

“One of my favorite things about the Confirmation process is observing these middle schoolers connect the dots between what we say we believe and putting our faith into action,” Cross says. “They are thoughtful, dedicated, and eager to learn. It is truly a joy!

In addition to Zoom classes each week, students have participated in mission activities to teach the importance of service and compassion in the Christian faith, just like they would any other year. The students collected items for Beacon of Hope Food Co-Op, and the first drop off for those items was at the end of February. The second drop off was on Saturday, and 330 total individual items were collected for Beacon of Hope by this year’s class. 

The students have also collected money for their compassion banks for Heifer Project International. This money was also dropped off on Saturday, and the total raised was $540. 

Confirmation Students and Parents met for an in-person, socially distanced Sunday afternoon retreat on April 11.

The major change for the class this year was the absence of the annual retreat. In years past students and parents would travel to an off-campus session with confirmation leaders for a spiritual retreat prior to Confirmation Sunday. In its place, parents have been required to participate on-screen the first Sunday of each month, and on April 11 a special session was held in the Church Street gym to cover some information typically disseminated at the retreat. 

Each confirmand has a mentor that is required to attend at least five sessions so they can understand what is being discussed and how to best be a guide and support for their mentee. In addition, clergy members Rev. Catherine Nance and Rev. Tim Best have joined a session from time to time. 

“We often say that our children and youth are the church of the future, but I would argue that they are the church of today,” Cross says. “They are already part of the body of Christ, uncovering their gifts and becoming more of who they were designed to be.”

“I believe that this ‘act of becoming’ ultimately makes us more like Jesus. And I’m grateful that Confirmation encourages our students to do just that.”

Complete list of confirmands: 

Stephanie Oluwakorede Dahunsi

Claire Beth Elliott

George Miles Anderson

Riley Catherine Cada

Elizabeth Mason Cada

William Young Caroll III

Sarah Elisabeth Cheatam

Samantha Jeanne Ford

Margaret Suzanne Galbreath

Kira Morgan Hertwig

Cole Houston Jackson

Kathryn Elizabeth Johnson

Lila Fay Jumper

Grayson Michael Parker

Mary Reagan Weaver

View a gallery of imagery from the 2021 Confirmation Sunday on the Church Street Facebook here. 

One of our favorite things about the spring semester each year is celebrating our graduating seniors.  And this year, we have a special Senior Spotlight series on our blog.  Our seniors answered interview questions earlier this spring and it has been so much fun learning their answers! Check back in each week to get to know our seniors better and help to cheer them on as they wrap up high school and prepare for their next steps!

Meet Claire Hamilton!

What high school are you graduating from?
Webb School of Knoxville
What are your plans for next year?
University of Tennessee – Go Vols!
What is your favorite bible verse?
Too many good ones to choose from!
If you could choose one meal to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Grilled chicken, green beans, a sweet potato, and a chocolate chip cookie.
If you could give some advice to your younger self, what would it be?
Be kind to everyone you meet
What are your top 3 favorite movies?
How to Loose a Guy in 10 days, Legally Blonde, and 50 First Dates
What is your favorite Church Street memory?
All Mad in the Cities and Resurrection 6th grade
What are you most excited about going into the next season of your life?
Branching out and becoming independent. Also cheering on the Vols!

Weekly Prayers for the Church Street Family

Week of April 18, 2021

Written by Rev. Jan Buxton Wade

O Song of the Resurrection, each day and each night you play your bold melody of hope. Such a welcome hymn is difficult to hear, however, when the world seems to be spiraling downward. Newscasts sing of travesties of war in too many places, of random killings of innocents, distrust of public servants and officials, the pervasive penchant for categorizing and condemning those who hold differing opinions, and the ugly disrespect of our own form of government. Let us not address injustice with acts of raging destruction, but with a clarion call for equality. Let us continue to lift our voices in your resurrection song, affirming that love alone conquers evil. And with our Lord’s help, we shall overcome!
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

The epistle writer advised us to: “Cast all your cares upon him, for he cares for you;” therefore, we need not hesitate to bring our concerns into your presence. As we move through the struggles of our lives, let us cling to the conviction that we are not alone. Hear now our pleas for our personal trials . . . . . . . . . . Give us patience, Holy One, for we do sense the movement of your Spirit within our world, bringing hope where there is dread, boldness where there is timidity, and resilience when we faint.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Your goodness, O Lord, washes over us as the cool spring rain. Grant that we might never take for granted the daily gifts you send our way, especially these particular favors we have received most recently . . . . . . . . . . And though undeserving, we exist in your reservoir of grace, knowing you stand ready to accept all these earnest petitions we now offer on behalf of your people of the Church Street community:

Joys:
-Gratitude: member healing well following eye surgery
-Prayers appreciated: friend healing following Whipple surgery
-Member celebrating a move to a new home
-Gratitude: 6-yr old with seizures has received a promising medical report
-Adult son’s living situation has improved
-Attentive family members caring for father in hospice
-One thankful for second Covid vaccination
-Thanksgiving for in-person youth gatherings
-Family grateful for church support during bereavement
-All in our community working for justice and an end to violence

Concerns:
-Healing of husband’s pneumonia & shoulder fractures
-Recovering for colleague recovering from dangerous wound
-Steady healing for member with fractured femur
-Healing of painful tear in shoulder muscle
-Family grieving loss of troubled son
-Comfort for a grieving stepfather
-Friends & family of wife who died at home Tuesday
-Easing of anger & tension between neighbors
-Recovery for single mother, hospitalized with Covid
-Member mourning death of cherished sister
-Two families grappling with major issues
-Beloved father – newly diagnosed lung cancer
-Guidance for family caring for ill brother
-Continued prayers for two afflicted with lymphoma
-Proper diagnosis of long-term illness
-Healing prayers for one recovering from prostate surgery

O Friend Most Patient, forgive the times we have held back, when we have been too reticent to become involved. Give us courage, we pray, to take an active part in addressing grave issues in our own community, in our own era. Let us reach for your hand, which links us with hurting souls next door and around the world; and in true solidarity we shall pray together the words taught us by our Redeemer:

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

Have a Prayer Request?

One of our favorite things about the spring semester each year is celebrating our graduating seniors.  And this year, we have a special Senior Spotlight series on our blog.  Our seniors answered interview questions earlier this spring and it has been so much fun learning their answers! Check back in each week to get to know our seniors better and help to cheer them on as they wrap up high school and prepare for their next steps!

Meet Franklin Smith!

What high school are you graduating from?
West High School
What are your plans for next year?
To attend Wagner College to play football.
What is your favorite bible verse?
In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.”
– Proverbs 3:6
If you could choose one meal to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Cowboy Ribeye
If you could give some advice to your younger self, what would it be?
Don’t listen to people that try and break you down and always be yourself.
What are your top 3 favorite movies?
Rush Hour 2, The Dark Knight, and The Hangover
What are you most excited about going into the next season of your life?
Being able to meet new people and get a new feel for life and school somewhere else.

Weekly Prayers for the Church Street Family

Week of April 11, 2021

Written by Rev. Catherine Nance

O God of the Living Christ, we thank you for the opportunity to worship together. Each Sunday, some gather in the same room, sitting on the same pew; others worship on YouTube and internet. We think of Christians meeting for worship across this city and all around the world – different styles of worship. People we will never meet. People we cannot see – and yet you see us. You see our hearts, our desire to worship you – our desire to know you more fully and dearly. You see our living and our striving to be faithful disciples. Thank you for loving us and receiving us.

We are humbled in this Easter season that you call each of us into a new creation; thank you for allowing us to share in the beauty of your world. The colors of spring around us and the hints of new life reflect your joy in creation. Forgive us when we abuse your earth that you have called us to care for. Make us mindful of the animals, the plants, the water, the air – all life-giving – all connected to the other. Forgive us when we make ourselves lord over creation instead of you.

O God, we are grateful for a nurturing church community that allows us to ask questions, to wonder and to ponder. We think particularly of our Confirmation Class who met on Sunday, nearing the end of their journey but yet at the start of a new one! We are grateful for fellow disciples; those who are new to faith and bring a freshness and exuberance with their inquiries. We are grateful for those long-time disciples who bring a wisdom and patience but who still yearn to know you more deeply. May our words of faith always match our living. When people see us, O God, may they see the reflection of your love and grace.

And as a community of faith, bound together through the immensity of your love and grace, we lift up to you both our praises and our concerns this day. We are a blessed people, aware of our reliance upon your steady guidance, so receive these offerings we voice in this hour:

Joys:

-Two couples celebrate new pregnancies
-One celebrates unanticipated financial assistance
-Thanksgiving: latest scans showed no new cancer
-Grateful for church’s confirmation & youth programs
-Two tolerating lymphoma treatments well
-Gratitude for prayers: knee therapy completed
-Thankful for prayers: back surgery went smoothly
-Prayers appreciated: prostate surgery successful

Concerns:

-Patience for husband in assisted living
-Healing for member recovering from back surgery
-Continued healing for one having infusions
-Healing of painful tear in shoulder muscle
-Upholding all working for solutions to gun violence
-God’s presence with a member grieving untimely death of stepson
-Beloved father – newly diagnosed lung cancer
-Guidance & strength for one caring for an ill brother
-Ongoing prayers for one enduring cancer treatments
-Solace for family mourning sudden death of beloved sister
-Member seeks relief from a painful leg ailment
-Strength for husband whose wife may enter palliative care
-Courage & strength for friend with intestinal cancer
-Young coach at Emory desperately ill with sepsis & his 3-year-old son diagnosed with leukemia
-Continued healing & for restoration of vision
-Improvement for one suffering from anemia

Risen Christ, for whom no door is locked, no entrance barred: open the doors of our hearts, that we may seek the good of others and walk the joyful road of sacrifice and peace. We offer now the words that Christ taught us to pray:

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

Have a Prayer Request?

When the Church Street Preschool closed last March at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in East Tennessee, Director Beth Cooper-Libby and the Preschool Board members expected a closure of two weeks. 

“It felt like I was standing on frozen water and the ice broke under me,” Libby says when it became unclear when the Preschool would open its doors again. “I had no idea of what we were going to do.” 

And while the Preschool’s closure did surpass two weeks, children returned to the classroom just 39 days after shutting down while most Knox County schools remained closed for the remainder of the spring semester. 

During the shutdown, it became evident to Libby the importance of the Preschool to the Knoxville community. Many of the school’s parents work in fields on the frontlines of the pandemic including as nurses, police officers and city and TVA employees. 

“I really had to look at what we do in a whole different way,” Libby says. “I always thought we were a mission of the church, but when we became the reason parents were able to go to work during a crisis, I was just like, ‘This is way more mission than I had really thought about.’”

As Libby explored options to help parents by reopening the Preschool, many obstacles created a tense couple weeks filled with uncertainty. The Preschool board, church members and church administrators all helped plan for a safe reopening.

“We kept our sense of humor. We realized that we were all working toward the same goal,” Libby says. “And when we opened, it was nothing but good.” 

Libby says the excitement from the students once the Preschool reopened its doors was infectious, as kids played with joy in their classrooms and with their friends. 

In addition to wearing masks, student temperatures are checked at the front door before the entry for each day. The two younger classrooms and two older classrooms often participated in activities together like playing on the playground, Easter Egg hunts and Santa visits, but now each classroom operates on its own so there is minimized risk to the larger Preschool population if someone were to contract Covid-19 .

Parents are also not allowed in the building, which Libby says has been a downside to reopening during the pandemic. 

“I always felt the students benefited from the teachers and the parents being able to communicate with each other face to face,” Libby says. “…Like Church Street had to learn how to go online [for worship and small groups], Preschool had to figure out what to do when we weren’t having that face to face interaction.” 

Now Libby communicates with parents using Remind, a communication platform for teachers and parents, and the Church Street Preschool Facebook page. Also, teachers will often meet and greet with parents in the outdoor breezeway to mitigate risk. 

In addition to limited contact between teachers and parents, parents were also asked to pack lunches for students when the Preschool reopened to limit the amount of surfaces touched by outside sources like caterers. The catering staff returned a few months later, and has been serving boxed lunches for students. 

Libby says there will be nothing sweeter than returning to the lunchroom. Each classroom now eats in their own room at 12 pm instead of all the students, teachers and staff eating at the same time in the lunchroom.

“The acoustics in the lunchroom are fantastic. I don’t know what Tim’s got up there in the choir room, but trust me, the acoustics in the lunchroom must be 100 times better,” Libby jokes. “I never thought I’d say I miss the lunchroom being so noisy, but I miss the lunchroom being so noisy.” 

In addition to following CDC guidelines, extra safety measures have been taken to keep students and staff safe. The lunchroom tables and playground are cleaned in between each use using a Department of Health and Human Services solution, and toys are cleaned and rotated in each classroom during nap time. 

An additional door greeter staff position was added to help move children between their classroom and parents as needed throughout the day. Libby also ensured there were two staff members to help give breaks, one for the younger classrooms and one for the older classrooms. 

Over the course of the pandemic, Libby wrote and was awarded $20,122.94 in grants for the preschool, which has helped the preschool stay open and pay teachers during any unforeseen shutdowns. The grants were funded through the Tennessee Department of Human Services and The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. 

Some grant money was awarded specifically for equipment and supplies, which was used for items such as touchless trash cans. 

The preschool has only had to shut down two times since it reopened, and each time the parents didn’t have to pay and teachers continued to receive compensation. 

“We provided a safe place for parents – especially our essential workers – to leave their children,” Senior Pastor Catherine Nance says. “Children are resilient when they trust the adults around them and feel they are cared for and cared about.”

“I love watching them on the playground and look forward to the day when I can visit in the classroom and share a story.” 

Preschool to celebrate 50th anniversary of the Week of the Young Child

Each year, the National Association of the Education for Young Children encourages early learning facilities to participate in Week of the Young Child. This week, the Preschool is celebrating students, teachers, families and the Knoxville community. 

Keep your eyes on the Preschool Facebook page to see the children participate in a spirit week with dress-up days like Favorite Color Day and Pajama Day. Each class will end the week with ice cream and cake at snack time to celebrate the end of Week of the Young Child and the Preschool’s 52nd birthday.