The Call: July 23, 2020 edition

The Call: July 23, 2020 edition

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Doorstep deliveries

Throughout Holston, a church camp is arriving on the doorsteps and porches of children spending a hot summer at home in the middle of a pandemic.
This camp is not like the camps in the woods where you spend a week away from your parents, nor is it like the camps that spread out in parks or on church lawns. Read story.

Cabinet finalizes conference business  

The Extended Cabinet completed final business of the 2020 Annual Conference yesterday during a live broadcast from the Alcoa Center. Within 20 minutes, they approved the 2021 proposed budget ($8.74 million) and established teams to fight sexual abuse and racism. See video.

Putting the pause on in-person worship

Two Knoxville-area pastors respond to the recent suspension of in-person worship services in counties where coronavirus cases are surging. "The last thing I would ever want to happen is that someone would get sick ... because of a decision I made.” From WBIR. See story.

Miss your choir? You're not alone  

COVID-19 has disrupted United Methodist life in many ways. It's really done a number on congregational and choir singing, causing music ministers to scramble to keep music going and keep sidelined choir members engaged. From UM News. Read story.

People of faith can change a nation

The Revs. John Lewis and Cordy Tindell “C.T.” Vivian were models of authentic religion who proved that people of faith can change a nation, says a United Methodist pastor who worked side-by-side with both men in the civil rights movement. Lewis and Vivian died on July 17. From UM News. Read story.

Outdoor worship: Reviving the revival?   

Prayer sessions in parking lots and worship in green spaces have formed part of an improvised response to COVID-19 restrictions. White evangelical Protestants actually have a long history of embracing outdoor worship. From The Conversation. See story.

Research: 1 in 3 stopped doing church

About one-third of practicing Christians (32%) have dropped out of church for the time being, according to recent Barna research on COVID-19 and "The New Sunday Morning." Another 34 percent admits to streaming a different church service online other than their own. Read report.


Connection more important than content

The figurative masks we used to wear have been replaced by literal masks separating us from our surface-level relationships. Pastor Zach Lambert says "the church is uniquely positioned to step into that gap digitally" to form deep friendships. From Lewis Center for Church Leadership.  Read commentary.

  Photo of the Week  


As Eagleton Elementary School begins a new year with an avalanche of details and safety precautions related to the pandemic, Principal Buffy Wyrosdick was concerned about getting information to her Spanish-speaking families. The Rev. Daniel Castillo offered to interpret for her through Facebook to help answer questions in a friendly and comfortable format. Castillo is associate pastor at Broadway UMC in Maryville, Tennessee.


  More Information  


Holston Connectional Ministries
Adverse Childhood Training Experiences
July 30-August 27

  Past Issues  

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