This year’s Summer Lecture Series marks the fourth year of the special opportunity created to educate the church body and the public on matters related to spirituality, history, archeology, social justice, current events and other religions (among other topics) in the context of Christian faith.

Last summer, the Education Committee pivoted to meet the health guidelines of our community to host a successful webinar-only lecture series. This series brought in national speakers and attendees , and it helped the committee explore the opportunity to provide educational opportunities for both Church Street and the broader community.

Dr. Valerie Cooper, Associate Professor of Religion and Society and Black Church Studies at Duke Divinity School and a 5th generation United Methodist, presented the first lecture of the series via webinar on Sunday, July 11. Her lecture, “Black Deaths Matter, Too: Doing Racial Reconciliation after the Massacre at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC,” which tackled  how to pursue justice in a contentious age. 

You can watch a replay of the lecture here

Each of the three remaining lectures will be in-person and hybrid. In-person attendees will be provided light, individually packaged refreshments. To join any lecture virtually, please click here. 

On July 18, Rev. Dr. Alex Thompson will present “Recognizing Jesus: The Appearances of the Risen Christ in the Synoptic Gospels”. He is Professor of Religion at Tennessee Wesleyan University and serves as pastor at Niota and Cedar Springs UMC. This will be an in-person and online hybrid event. 

On July 25, Dr. Reiff will share a presentation titled, “The Eyes of Jesus Were Upon Her: The Advent of Clergy Women in Mississippi Methodism.” The story explores the remarkable transformation of a previously all-male world of ordained clergy in early 20th century Mississippi to the later part of the century when more than 50 women were serving as ministers in some capacity in United Methodism (with 44 fully ordained). He is Professor Emeritus of Emory & Henry College. 

To finish the series, Dr. Rachelle Scott will present “Buddhism Beyond Meditation Cushion: Buddhist Action in the 20th and 21st Centuries” will delve into several examples of how monastic and lay Buddhists participate in social and political activism as acts of Buddhist piety in the 20th and 21st centuries. She is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Christian education has always been a vital part of Church Street’s ministry in the community. The Education Committee works each year to ensure that educational opportunities are brought to the Church community. 

With a proximity close to the University of Tennessee, Church Street has always been home to and attracted scholars of all types. The Education Committee works each year to ensure that there are always new educational opportunities, whether through Sunday School classes or special lecture series and events. 

The Education Committee hopes to develop training for Sunday School teachers this fall in an effort to revamp how we talk about, describe and share our Sunday School classes. An update to the language surrounding Sunday School will hopefully expand Church Street’s reach to new members of the community, and to United Methodists across the world. 

To learn more about Church Street educational opportunities, visit https://www.churchstreetumc.org/education/

Upcoming Project Volunteers Needed for:
  • Sweep the Music Suite! Thursday, October 3, 9-11 am — Come help us clean the music suite!  Bring your rags, buckets, cleaning supplies, vacuums and hand vacuums! Sign up with Tim or Edie.
  • Spirit Adventure Sunday School Teachers —  curriculum provided. Love of children required! Sign up with Katryn Bancroft.
  • Wesley House Tutors — The Wesley House needs your help! On weekday afternoons, dozens of students grades K-8 at the Wesley House need homework assistance as well as folks to read with them. They are particularly short of volunteers on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3:00-5:00. If you would like to serve, please contact Jenny Cross at jcross@churchstreetumc.org
Ongoing Needs for Volunteers:
  • Beacon of Hope Sharing Shop — Second and Fourth Thursday of each month at Vestal UMC in South Knoxville (12 pm). Contact Dona McConnell if interested. 

As county and private schools fall back into the swing of the new school year, so does Church Street. From moving up to the next Sunday School class to preparing our hearts and minds through song and prayer, the school year is officially underway.

On August 11, children gathered at the altar with their backpacks to receive a special blessing for the school year. Children and youth met their new Sunday School teachers who will shepherd them through the year in their Christian education. After worship, our children’s choirs kicked off their rehearsals for the year.

Upcoming Activities for Children, Youth, and Families: 

August 17-18 – Parish Youth Choir Retreat

August 18 – Back-to-School Family Prayer Time (4pm, Nave)

August 25 – Youth back-to-school party at 5pm in the Gym

Photos from Promotion Sunday and Blessing of the Backpacks: