Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Welcome, Carroll Logan!

We have a new staff person at St. Paul UMC, Fountain City!
Welcome, Carroll Logan, our new Director of Music!

A word from Carroll....
I am excited to serve as your Director of Music and will strive to continue the wonderful heritage of excellent music at St. Paul.   It is a pleasure to work with Pastor Sarah and I am happy to be part of the team with Tim and others to help carry out the vision to strengthen and grow our church community.   
My wife Brenda and I look forward to being part of the St. Paul family.  We met at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, and she served for many years as Director of Christian Education at Fountain City Presbyterian Church where our children grew up.  Our son, Rhodes is the Chief Development Officer of the United Methodist Church Development Center in Nashville and our Daughter, Heather is a UT Extension Agent in Knoxville and is an active member of Ebenezer UMC.  We enjoy keeping up with all the activities of our six grandchildren.

Over the years I have held Interim Music Director positions at several area churches including: Cokesbury UMC, First Farragut UMC, and most recently started my fifth year at Trinity UMC in Lenoir City.  It will be nice to serve a church in our community with a great staff, congregation, and choir.

 If you are not currently singing in the choir and cannot commit to the choir year round, I hope you will consider singing with us for Advent and Christmas.  I am planning some very nice music for the season including “Classic Noels” by John Purifoy with a string quartet on December 20.  Come join us on Wednesday nights at 7:30 for rehearsal and sing with us in worship!!

We are so pleased that Carroll is joining our staff, and that he and Brenda will be part of our church!  Join us this Sunday, for worship at 10:45 on October 25 to meet the Logans!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Fall Neighborhood Festival: Blue Jeans and BBQ!

We have a big event coming up September 27th! Starting at 5:00pm we welcome a performance led by The PromisedLand Quartet!  After the concert we will gather under a big tent out front from some of John Moyers' famous BBQ... if you start smelling it before the sun comes up that day, its because John is busy smokin' out back.  You don't want to miss this-- be sure to bring a friend, or better yet, a neighbor! Come casual and be prepared to have fun, meet new people, and reconnect with old friends!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Welcome, Tim Wiegenstein!

We have someone new on staff at St. Paul UMC! 
Welcome, Tim Wiegenstein, our new Family Ministry Coordinator!  

Here's a word from Tim...
Hello! I am pleased to introduce myself to you and to begin my role as Family Ministry Coordinator. As a result of intensive, prayerful and heartfelt discussions about the life, growth and community of St. Paul, the Staff Parish Relations Committee approved the creation of the role of Family Ministry Coordinator, and I am honored to have been selected as part of this exciting and vital vision of a healthy church in transition. 
I join St. Paul from my previous career in education. I began my career as an art and technical education teacher, and soon transitioned into counseling, which makes up the bulk of my experience. In Knox County, I moved into administration in 2003, where I served students and parents at Cedar Bluff and Halls Middle Schools. 

As a counselor, I began several programs, including a successful peer mediation and peer helpers program, an Alateen program and collaborated with several agency providers, most notably a teen pregnancy prevention program through the Knox County Health Department and a program to promote cultural understanding through Teaching Tolerance. 

One thing I have learned from my work with families, as a counselor and administrator, is that as a general rule, the relative health of the family is demonstrated through a shared balance of community and independence, self versus the whole, and freedom vs responsibility. In other words, we are both dependent on our family and our family is dependent on us, but never to the exclusion of either. I believe the church family is similar, in that we need community and community needs us. A healthy church community nurtures relationships, accepts us as we are, and gives us the opportunity to both care for others and to be cared for. People long to be connected with others. Perhaps through the Family Ministry efforts, St. Paul UMC can continue to live into what it means to live out the United Methodist motto of "Open Hearts, Open Minds, and Open Doors." 

I look forward to meeting each of you and beginning the work of family ministry we have begun together! 

Join us soon and meet Tim!  God is doing a new thing at St. Paul, enabling us to more effectively reach families in our church community and neighborhood, and we hope you will be a part of it.  Worship is on Sundays at 10:45am, and Sunday School for all ages precedes it at 9:30am.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

7 Things You Need to Know When Facing a Giant

We are doing a series on David at St. Paul through the end of August, and today's was on the familiar story of David and Goliath.  How does one preach on a passage we know so well?  I felt led to take a very different approach, and because I received so many requests for this "list," you can find it below.  

Sermon Scripture: 1 Samuel 17, selections (Story of David and Goliath)

I would love to have a unique approach to this passage, something like  "Goliath: Misunderstood Teddy Bear" or "Goliath's No Good Rotten Day," but neither of those approaches are very genuine to the text, instead I began to think-- what can we learn from this model of dealing with great adversity?  Taking a note from social media, I thought I would make a list, in no certain order...
7 Things You Need to Know When Facing a Giant

1. Choose your battles wisely.  Most conflicts that we face in life are not Goliaths, though they may feel insurmountable.  As the wise saying goes, "when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail." Always leave the hammer, or the sling, as a last resort. David talked with several others, including his leader, before determining that God prepared him for such a time as this.

2. Use your God given talent. Don't miss this genius move in the story.  Goliath and Saul expected David to use conventional battle tactics.  David used the skill he knew, and thus rejected the armor that would have weighed him down.  Beyond that, Goliath was ready for a sword match, and the sling/stone caught him completely off guard, literally.

3. See past the giant exterior to the spot of weakness. There is always weakness.  Think Star Wars: Deathstar! David knew that his best chance was to use his sling, which required him to show his vulnerability as well.  But he focused on the exposed portion of Goliath's head keeping his focus narrow.

4. Don't define your worth based on other people's perception of you.  Everyone... everyone said David was too small, too young, too weak, too inexperienced, too something.  Everyone was wrong. God can and will use people at all ages and stages in life.

5. Just keep walking.  You might be surprised how quickly the path clears. To be brave is not to be fearless... it is to walk in spite of the fear. 

6. Go Big or Go Home.  In order to defeat the giant, David had to expose himself and make himself vulnerable. He had to completely commit to this effort.  Everyone who watched David walk up to Goliath thought he would die, but David knew that he must try.

7. Know from whom you draw your strength.  David knew that he was small, but God was big... bigger than any Goliath in his path, and so he did not fear the alternatives.  Some would say this was a false sense of youthful invincibility, others more accurately describe it as faith in the face of adversity.  It is the power of God's strength in our weakness. 
We have all faced, or are currently facing a Goliath in our lives, but keep in mind that just because we like to relate to the underdog, doesn't mean that we are always the underdog.  Just as we all have the potential for David-like faith, we can also be someone's Goliath.  And if that's the case, disarm lest you find yourself face down.  When we are in the place of priviledge and power, it is time to take off the armor and kneel... because God sides with the underdog, the down-trodden, the weak, the poor, and the oppressed.  Let's side with God. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

VBS is Coming SOOOON!

We have an exciting VBS planned at St. Paul UMC, Fountain City this year!! 
The date is Saturday, July 11 from 9:00am-1:00pm.  Mark your calendar!

Our theme is "Jesus is My Superhero" and we plan to study David and Esther,
some of God's ordinary people used in extraordinary ways. 
Superheros by the grace of God!

Our memory verse is: "The Lord is my strength and my shield, in God my heart trusts"- Psalm 28:7

Registration will begin at 9:00 and we have big plans for crafts (yes, we are going to make capes!), songs (and dancing, of course), bible stories with Pastor Sarah, snacks, games, and a free lunch.  Loved ones are invited to join us for lunch at 12:00pm (our treat) and hear about our morning together.  Its going to be a great day! Contact the church office for more information

For 2 years old through 5th grade. Children who are not potty-trained need to have an adult with them.

Did I mention that the day is FREE??  Thanks for entrusting your kids to us for the morning!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Job Opening at St. Paul!

Family Ministry Coordinator (part-time): St. Paul UMC, Fountain City is seeking an individual with a passion for ministering to families and an interest in a multi-generational approach. Further inquiries about the position can be made to Rev. Sarah Varnell via email or by phone 865-687-2952 no later than May 20th.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Holy Week and Easter at St. Paul

Join us at St. Paul for Maundy Thursday or one (or both) of our Easter Services.  If you've been out of church for a while, this is a great day to come home and worship the King of kings.  If you come every week, you won't want to miss this highest and holiest of days.  There will be Easter lilies, a brass quintet, special choir music, as we celebrate and remember the Resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Kids Party at St. Paul!!

Kids be sure to join us for our Valentine's Celebration next Saturday, February 7 from 10 - 12. 
We will be making lots of goodies to show kindness to our community! 
And don't forget to bring a friend!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

"From the Pastor" Messenger Article

From the Pastor...

Have you ever heard the phrase "Pay it Forward?"  Or what about "Random Acts of Kindness?" These phrases come from the popular notion in our culture that "what goes around, comes around."  And that goes for the good and the bad.  "Pay it Forward," is a turn of phrase used to encourage people to choose to participate in the good.  That one should do good in hopes of one day receiving good.  This notion toward the good has developed a wonderful movement in our society of doing kind things for one another, because it has a ripple affect, hence the word "Random." 

For the next four weeks, as we are in-between high holy celebrations in the church (Advent/Christmas and soon to be Lent/Easter), we will focus in worship on going deeper in our discipleship through what I am going to call a season of "Intentional Acts of Kindness."  As disciples of Jesus, we are expected to give our faith feet, and to live our daily lives in the Kingdom of God.  The kindness that we show to others is not so that we will receive their praise, it is so that our Father in heaven will see our good works and know that we have taken His love, grace, mercy and peace to the streets!  

Yes, we will all be asked to step outside of our comfort zones.  Yes, we will grow and be blessed in this process.  Yes, and most importantly, we will honor God in our expressions of kindness.  Get excited, because it means that God is going to show up!

As our scriptural foundation, we will journey through John's Epistles, letters written to believers about what it means to live out our faith in love.  The heart of this sermon series comes from 1 John 3:18 where it says, "Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action."  Let's take it to the streets and show our neighbors "Intentional Acts of Kindness" because as John says a little later in chapter 4:19, "We love because he first loved us."

Hope to see you and yours in worship this Sunday.  Invite a friend to join you!  


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy 2015!

Happy New Year!  Below is John Wesley's Covenant Prayer, an excellent prayer for centering yourself at the beginning of this new year.  Peace and Blessings to all!

I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee,
exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
thou art mine, and I am thine.
So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven.

St. Paul UMC- Fountain City

St. Paul UMC- Fountain City