We are thankful for the love and support you have shown to your neighbors and to your church since the Covid-19 pandemic started re-shaping much of our daily lives last year. We will continue to practice and model good health and safety measures for all in our congregation, particularly for our children under age 12 and anyone else currently ineligible for or unable to receive the vaccine.

With local transmission rates trending at a low level and vaccination rates improving in our community, the Covid-19 task force offers the following updates to our Covid-19 guidelines at Church Street.

  • Mask wearing and social distancing are optional. Please respect others’ choices. Two exceptions to the mask-optional change:
    • Please continue to wear a mask any time you are in the children’s ministry area. Those volunteering in the children’s ministry or anyone in the education building are still required to wear masks, as those under age 12 are not yet eligible to receive the Covid-19 vaccine. Children ages 4 and older should continue to wear a mask. Children ages 3 and under are not required to wear a mask, but all nursery workers will continue to mask in the nursery area.
    • Please wear a mask during congregational singing, regardless of your vaccination status. Congregational singing will resume during worship services, but some in our church family, including the children who join us in the nave, are still ineligible for vaccination, and we will continue to love all our neighbors by wearing a mask during singing.

Please get vaccinated if you are eligible and able. This preventive measure helps keep our whole community safe and is a demonstration of love to our neighbors who are unable or ineligible at this time to receive the vaccine. Visit www.vaccines.gov to find a vaccination location near you.

This task force continues to monitor data and discuss local trends and the needs of our congregation. If you are not ready for in-person worship, we invite you to join us each Sunday at 11 am on YouTube, where we continue to worship together online. All are welcome!

Please contact Communications@churchstreetumc.org with questions.

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 Clare Duncan!

What high school are you graduating from?
West High School
What are your plans for next year?
I am attending The University of Tennessee Knoxville to study engineering and business.
What is your favorite bible verse?
Hebrews 11:1
What are your top 3 favorite movies?
Pride and Prejudice, The Guernsey, It’s a Wonderful Life
What is your favorite Church Street memory?
My favorite memory is the high school trip we took over spring break when I was a sophomore where it snowed and we hiked up Max Patch to see the sunrise.
What are you most excited about going into the next season of your life?
I’m really excited for this new experience and getting to meet new people.

Weekly Prayers for the Church Street Family

Week of June 6, 2021

Written by Rev. Jan Buxton Wade

O Love Beyond Our Imagining, we pause these moments in midweek to remember and to praise you. As we reflect upon the mystery of our lives, we cannot apply reason to our existence – your transcendent grace presents the only answer.  Our bodies in themselves are miracles not to be taken for granted. The love we receive from others, the way your Spirit works within us, the beauty of creation, the events that have led us to you, are all outside the bounds of our understanding. These are veiled mysteries that speak of your love, so teach us to move beyond the realm of what makes sense and to remain open to that love that permeates our past, our present, and our future. Breathe in us, O Breath of Life, as we breathe in you.

God of Tender Mercies, we carry heavy personal griefs this day: for those treasured souls who have died, for relationships that are damaged, for our brothers and sisters who are despondent and lonely, for those whose bodies and minds are failing, for those who are unemployed or underemployed.  And underneath we also carry the collective grief of our world: the pain inflicted on persons of color, the indigenous children whose bodies are being unearthed in Canada, the murder and maiming caused by terrorist organizations, persecution of Christian, Jew, and Muslim at home and abroad, the unrest and instability within our own country. Lead us, we pray, to those rivers of healing, where your waters of mercy might soothe us and also cleanse our hearts of hatred, prejudice and retribution.

You have called us, Lord, to be a light in this city, but we confess that we have failed you in many ways. Forgive us for focusing on things that matter little and how we pass by opportunities that could make a world of difference in our community. Open us more fully into your mission, that your holy beam would shine through us, drawing all others into a closer communion with you.

As you have shown mercy to us throughout all our days, receive our thanksgivings; and also hear the cries of each one who offers personal prayers in your name:

Gratitudes:

  • Miraculous healing of friend from electric shock
  • Thankful for prayers: Hip pain is decreasing
  • Prayers appreciated: One’s anemia vastly improved
  • Opening of in-person Sunday School classes
  • Cherished sister now home from the hospital
  • One’s severe anemia is much improved
  • Heart ailment identified and is being treated
  • Celebration: Shoulder surgery deemed unnecessary
  • Physical therapy alleviating pain
  • Thanksgiving for a successful intestinal surgery
  • A business owner thankful for an important contract
  • Couple grateful for a long-awaited anniversary trip
  • New pastor celebrates his upcoming appointment
  • Family thankful a daughter is moving to Knoxville
  • Gratitude for a son’s visit lengthy visit

Concerns:

  • Healing within a family broken by addiction
  • Young married couple seeking a stronger relationship
  • Healing for husband with long-term Covid symptoms
  • Beloved mother in heart failure
  • Member suffering severe depression
  • Alleviation of a member’s anxiety
  • Healing for husband and wife recovering from surgeries
  • Member awaiting radiation treatment
  • Relief for those who grieve
  • Prayers for family whose mother died this week
  • Cherished husband who has moved to memory care unit
  • Husband who is failing, strength for his wife, caregiver
  • Strengthening of one dealing with long-term cancer

O God, Father of All Mercies, we kneel in awe when we recognize your movement within our lives. And may that recognition kindle in each of us renewed faith, renewed courage, and renewed resolve to live lives worthy of the love you gave us in Jesus. May we cling to your Son, that we may be among those who mount up with wings as eagles, who run and are not weary, who walk and do not faint:

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 Caroline Powell!

What high school are you graduating from?
Webb School of Knoxville
What are your plans for next year?
Attending the University of Tennessee
What is your favorite bible verse?
Proverbs 3: 5-6
If you could choose one meal to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Smoothie bowls
If you could give some advice to your younger self, what would it be?
Take some time to figure out who and what makes you happy. Then, hold on tight to those people and things. If something makes you happy, then you shouldn’t worry about what anyone else thinks about it because I promise it’s worth your time.
What are your top 3 favorite movies?
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Kung Fu Panda, MAMMA MIA!
What is your favorite Church Street memory?
Standing around the campfire and singing during SLA each year. It was always such a tender and authentic moment that made me really appreciate my Church Street family.
What are you most excited about going into the next season of your life?
Having the opportunity to meet new people and form new connections that will help me throughout the rest of my life!

Weekly Prayers for the Church Street Family

Week of May 30, 2021

Written by Rev. Jan Buxton Wade

O Triune God: Creator, Christ, and Spirit, we do not understand your love for us, nor do we fully understand how you move in our world and in our lives.  We can only bow to the mystery of your affection and faithfulness; indeed, your abiding presence is our greatest treasure! When we falter and fail, it is your mercy that redeems us. When daunted by our trials, it is your grace that sustains us. And when we doubt our own abilities, it is your holy breath that fills us with boldness and courage to serve as you have asked.  “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!”

Your generosity abounds, O Friend of Life, and we are recipients of abundance; yet why is it that we demand more and more? We deplete our natural resources by taking more than we need; we reduce forest and field to wasteland, disregarding important habitats of wild creatures; we squander the inborn splendor of your earth in our quest for goods and manufactured entertainment.  Prick our collective conscience, O Framer of the World, that we might repent of our self-indulgence before we have marred the good earth beyond reparation.  And bless those, we pray, who dedicate their lives to preservation of the unique and sacred home you have made for your people. Give us grace to walk that more gentle and sacred path.

We hear the bitter cries of the hurting across the globe, O Lord, and the sound singes our souls.  For children dying of gun violence, Lord have mercy.  For those bereft in the Middle East, whose lives and homes are shattered by terrorism, Lord have mercy.  For those who have lost everything due to substance abuse, Lord have mercy.  For those tormented ones in India suffering illness and death due to the Covid virus, Lord have mercy. For the brokenness of those whom our own nation has failed, Lord have mercy. Each human life has a name, a face, and a story, and you know each intimately, O Christ. All these, who are beloved of God, we lift up to your care, and also ask that your mercy would surround also these whom you also love, members of our Church Street family:

  • Young couple growing in their marriage relationship
  • Healing: hospitalized member with heart malady
  • An elderly father who is lonely & depressed
  • An ill grandfather, for correct diagnosis
  • Healing for husband with long-term Covid symptoms
  • One seeking reconciliation with her family
  • Safety for traveling church families
  • Healing for a son in detox program
  • For healing of a painful hip injury
  • Brother with mouth malignancy
  • Friend grieving the death of her sister on May 23
  • That families will take advantage of summer “Catch-Up” academics
  • Healing for both husband & wife recovering from recent surgeries
  • Courage for one facing radiation treatment
  • Husband who is failing, strength for his wife who is caregiver
  • Calm and peace for a mother facing extensive surgery
  • Healing for two struggling with serious anemia

We pray in unity, Holy One, because we are people of hope, believing that suffering and death never have the last word.  May our own thanksgivings we now offer remain a sign to our neighbors that our God offers mercy and grace:

  • Gratitude: Kidney surgery successful
  • Mother with advanced cancer was able to see her daughter graduate from high school – her year-long prayer answered
  • Knee surgery successful
  • Thanksgiving for endurance throughout prolonged cancer treatment
  • One grateful for ability to work during chemotherapy
  • Two families thankful for long-awaited vacations
  • Prayers appreciated: knee mobility is improving with PT
  • Gratitude: friends who uphold one in his trials
  • Thankful: elderly father’s continued good health
  • Those working to alleviate inequities & gun violence in our community
  • Couple celebrating their wedding anniversary this week
  • Signs of healing following retina surgery
  • Thanks for prayers: brother’s suspected cancer was benign

All these prayers and petitions we offer today in the name of our Holy Keeper: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit:

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?

Welcome to Summer with Church Street Youth!

Weekly Bible Study (last one!)
Wednesday – 10:00 AM at Church Street
We’ll meet on the porch (outside area outside Jenny’s office and the worship room) to dive into God’s word! We’ll set up chairs and spend time together. Pick-up is 11:15! A breakfast treat will be provided for everyone this week!
Wesley House Block Party
Friday – 3:30-6:00 PM at Wesley House
This Friday, we have a service opportunity to support Wesley House’s block party. This is a way they start the school year for their families and others in the community. They will serve a meal, provide school supplies, and offer fun! We are hosting outdoor games (giant Jenga, corn hole, etc.) and need your help! If you would like to volunteer for this event, please respond to this email or contact Jenny at (423) 747-8774.
Promotion Sunday
Sunday – 9:45-10:45 AM at Church Street
Join us in the gym for our start of the school year! We will spend time with one another and head to our Sunday school classes! This is a great opportunity to kick off the school year by intentionally pursuing our faith together. I really hope you will join us!

When the COVID-19 pandemic led to shutdowns in East Tennessee, the need for the Church Street Benevolence team almost doubled.

Prior to the pandemic, the Benevolence Team helped an average of eight Knoxville community members pay rent or their KUB utilities bill each week. Now, the need has increased 77% across Knoxville and an average of 20 community members receive help each week from the team.

The Benevolence Team itself was different for most of 2020, with church member Keith Biggers taking the lead on most logistical and operational needs, while also taking the influx of calls between COVID-19 government-issue payments. Biggers stepped away from the team at the end of last year and church member Rob Keener took his place. 

And while the Benevolence Team isn’t new, the past few months have shown a new way of doing what the Benevolence Team has always done — help those in need. 

“I feel very excited and energized,” Keener says. “We’re building the airplane while flying the airplane, but that’s okay.” 

To adapt to the needs of Knoxville community members, Keener connected new volunteers to virtual training through the Compassion Coalition, a community organization helping Knoxville’s churches understand the needs of the community and how to serve them. Keener also reorganized the process for meeting with a new client. 

Prior to Keener’s leadership, a few volunteers would meet in-person with potential clients for about 30 minutes at a time. Volunteers would listen to their story and determine the best way to help them, which was typically a microgrant from the church of $100-$300. 

Once the pandemic hit East Tennessee, Biggers handled everything from the office in the Christian Life Center (CLC) to meeting with potential clients. Most interactions with community members were a one-time occurrence, and no follow-ups were completed. 

“Now, we’ve shifted our emphasis to not just be a ‘one-and-done’ with the client,” Keener says, “but rather to walk with the client and be on a journey with them as they participate in their own recovery.” 

Now, each trained volunteer is responsible for one day a week, Monday through Saturday, and they answer any incoming inquiries left on the Benevolence Team voicemail throughout the day. Each volunteer will also follow-up with their previous clients to ensure they have received the care and assistance needed. Volunteers call clients using an app on their phone that protects their personal phone number as the one connected to the voicemail. 

Volunteers listen to each client’s story, and take careful attention to figuring out the best way to assist with financial strains. 

“We listen empathetically,” Keener says. “We’re always trying to reflect the love of Jesus with our clients.” 

In most cases, clients can be directed to governmental services and funding. The Compassion Coalition helped Keener and the Benevolence Team understand the extensive financial resources available to those facing eviction, which during the pandemic and unprecedented job loss, became the top priority. 

The process for individuals applying for financial aid from the government can be difficult, so volunteers are intentional with their conversations, following up with clients as often as possible. 

“I hope that we can become more relational than transactional and build more relationships for our clients that will lead them to come out of their financial situations,” volunteer Ann Reego says. “I also hope they see the love of Christ through us and are led to find fatih if they are not currently involved.”

Relationships are also built in more emergent situations, such as a disconnect notice from KUB with a few days left. In situations where there isn’t time to apply and wait for government aid, Church Street steps in with microgrants, which are similar to what was given to each client prior to the pandemic. 

Looking forward, Keener hopes that a new hybrid system can help connect more clients to Church Street volunteers. While serving on the Benevolence team is “not for the faint of heart,” Keener can’t help but think of the A-Team and John “Hannibal” Smith’s famous quote: “I love it when a plan comes together.” 

“That’s how I feel. I love that the plan has come together and that we have motivated, caring volunteers,” Keener says. “It’s exciting and this should be able to stand the test of time.” 

 

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 Gavin Carroll!

What high school are you graduating from?
Hardin Valley Academy
What are your plans for next year?
I plan on going to Pellissippi state community college so I can knock out my prerequisites and save up to go to Middle Tennessee state university
What is your favorite bible verse?
fear not, for I am with you;
    be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10
If you could choose one meal to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Sushi
If you could give some advice to your younger self, what would it be?
Appreciate who you are and don’t let people change you to better fit themselves.
What are your top 3 favorite movies?
Spiderman into the Spiderverse, The Matrix, and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
What is your favorite Church Street memory?
I miss the food, conversation, and peace there was before Sunday school
What are you most excited about going into the next season of your life?
Finding out what I’m truly good at and hopefully enjoy what I plan on doing.

Weekly Prayers for the Church Street Family

Week of May 23, 2021

Written by Rev. Catherine Clark Nance

O Holy Spirit of God – we thank you for Pentecost, and in this season, we are privileged to claim and celebrate the birth of your church. But we know your Spirit has been calling us into community from the beginning. Your Spirit, your breath, breathed life into all of creation; and has been made known in the voice of the prophets, calling our communities to exhibit justice and righteousness and compassion.

Your Spirit is revealed to us in the life and teaching of Jesus Christ, who welcomed the stranger and told us to love one another. We see the power of your Spirit on Easter morning and as Jesus ascended into heaven. When, O God, have we ever been away from your Spirit? The psalmist declares that you are always present.

Poets and songwriters and mystics and preachers have named you in countless ways: Liberating Spirit, Comforter, Wind and Flame, Spirit of Peace, Sacred Breath, Laughter, Mysterious Dancer, Pure Fountain, Holy Wisdom.

You have given us the gift of language to make sense of our world and to communicate and to draw your people together. Forgive us when our language attempts to contrive or constrain you. Forgive us when we name you in only the way that is comfortable and convenient for us. Forgive us when our language divides and alienates.

It is our prayer, Refining Fire of God, that we would open our ears and hear how you are prompting and leading and restoring us. And as we recall the story of Pentecost and the disciples understanding other languages, we are mindful of all the languages you hear as you listen to your world praying. We know that your Holy Spirit connects us to Palestinian and Israeli families who are grieving; families in Afghanistan are not just foreigners or people far away, but your Spirit enables us to hear the sorrow of parents and to pray for their comfort. Your Reconciling Spirit opens our hearts to all – in any country – who are dying from Covid.

Abiding Spirit, as you remain close to each of your suffering and frightened children, and as you know each one by name, draw near to your friends in the Church Street community who also call upon you in these trying times.  Speak each name, we pray, as you send forth your swirls of healing into their midst:

  • Husband in fifth month of Covid struggles
  • Four church families grieving deaths of loved ones this week
  • Anxious brother awaiting pathology report
  • Relief for one plagued by hip ailment
  • Peace for husband in hospice care
  • Comfort & healing for two in lymphoma treatment
  • Calm and peace for a mother facing extensive surgery
  • Beloved brother suffering from cancer
  • Dear friend recovering from back surgery
  • Continued healing of husband with rare cancer
  • Delivery of two from the pain of depression
  • A cure for two struggling with serious anemia
  • Ongoing healing for two recovering from knee surgery
  • Steady healing of shoulder injury
  • Continued good health for a cherished pet

And to these petitions we add our praises for your mercy and grace:

  • One who expresses renewed joy in living
  • Couple celebrating a new pregnancy
  • Husband thankful for a new job
  • Gratitude: friend recovers from ruptured appendix
  • Grateful for prayers: pregnant cousin is recovering from Covid and her unborn child remains healthy
  • Thankful for baptism of infant son on Sunday
  • Young couple celebrate their recent engagement
  • Gratitude: no cancer found following father’s lung surgery
  • Four families grateful for recent days of vacation
  • Declining numbers of new Covid cases in our area
  • One in PT regaining strength after leg injury
  • Astonishing work of our UMW & mission teams
  • Member thankful for improvement of cancer scans

Continue to open our ears, Spirit of Truth, that we might hear how you desire to shape us, rather than our words shaping how we allow you to fit into our hearts. May your wind and fire cause us to hear you and experience you in new ways. And now we join with other Christians all around the world who offer the prayer our Savior taught us:

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 Emory Wineland!

What high school are you graduating from?
Webb School of Knoxville
What are your plans for next year?
Studying engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology (in Hoboken, NJ)
What is your favorite bible verse?
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” – Ephesians 4:2
If you could choose one meal to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Chicken and fried rice
If you could give some advice to your younger self, what would it be?
Stop procrastinating and focus more on what’s really important.
What are your top 3 favorite movies?
Megamind, The Emperor’s New Groove, and Christmas Vacation
What is your favorite Church Street memory?
The New York Choir Tour in 2019 because I was able to hang out with my friends and sing in some amazing venues in my favorite city.
What are you most excited about going into the next season of your life?
I’m excited to live in Hoboken, make new friends, and explore all the opportunities in the fields of engineering.