Holston district superintendents use words like “hard” and “tough” when describing what’s going on with COVID-19 and churches right now. Their decisions are difficult but based on data as virus cases surge in parts of East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. Read story.
Knox church 'responding to reality'
Concord United Methodist Church was set to resume in-person services July 12, but decided against it after seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases in Knox County. "There was no point in taking those kinds of risk," said the Rev. Larry Trotter. From WATE. See story.
Indiana megachurch leaves denomination
Granger Community Church, a 3,300-member congregation in north central Indiana, has left The United Methodist Church after agreeing to pay the Indiana Conference about $2.6 million. From UM News. Read story.
Dangerous protest leaves her changed
Kloi Blue went to a rally where she was threatened by white supremacists carrying firearms. It was terrifying. She returned home to Knoxville changed by the experience. From The Call. Read story.
Mission continues at Morgan-Scott Project
Unemployment and poverty were high in Morgan and Scott Counties well before COVID-19. United Methodist churches from the Oak Ridge area are helping the mission continue after 48 years. From WATE. See story.
Funeral directors, clergy innovate death care
Norman Williams remembers how the HIV epidemic changed not only how the funeral industry cared for bodies, but also for those who lost loved ones to the deadly virus. There was stigma then, and that kind of shame still exists to some degree. From Religion News Service. See story.
3 strategies for doing church online
Of all the online church strategies that have emerged during the pandemic, the most common mirror or modify "normal" worship. However, the promise might be in digital strategies that reimagine worship. From Lewis Center for Church Leadership. Read list.
Back to church, but not back to normal
Bill McKibben, a United Methodist, writes about attending his first outdoor worship service since the COVID-19 crisis shuttered buildings around the world. "The point of church is not just comfort or familiarity," he writes. From The New Yorker. Read commentary.
Photo of the Week
The Rev. Tom Robins prepares boxes for 1,400 children receiving Camp in the Community kits throughout Holston this week. Five weeks of at-home activities are being carried on through box deliveries, online videos and DVDs. Most of the production happens at the Maryville home of Whitney Winston (pictured), director.
The Call is Holston Conference's weekly newsletter for 853 United Methodist congregations in East Tennessee, Southwest Virginia, and North Georgia. Contact Annette Spence, editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org.