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Three Rivers District News
General Conference Adopts Traditional Plan
Holston Delegates at 2019 General Conference
Holston delegates consider legislation. From left to right: Randy Frye, Bob Lockaby, John Tate, Wil Cantrell, Becky Hall, Carol Wilson. Photo courtesy of Holston Conference Communications
For more information on General Conference and what this means going forward, visit the Holston Conference
Official Statement from
The United Methodist Church
Human sexuality is a topic on which people of faith have differing views. We are a diverse and global church, and because of that, we have cultural, generational and geographical differences. A majority of delegates voted to maintain the UMC’s stance with additional accountability for enforcing those provisions.
It remains to be seen how this will impact the denomination. Despite our differences, we will continue to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world and share God’s love with all people.
We believe that all persons are children of God and are of sacred worth. Our church is open to people of all nations, ethnic groups, ages, and sexual orientations.
Letter from Council of Bishops
March 1, 2019
WASHINGTON, D. C. – Bishop Kenneth H. Carter, president of the Council of Bishops, has issued a pastoral letter based on James 5:13-16 following the conclusion of the Special Session of the General Conference.
“James does not call us to identify the sins of one another. He calls us to confess our sins to one another, and to pray for one another, so that we may be healed,” Bishop Carter says in his letter.
Congregations have been asked to read the letter to during Sunday’s morning worship.

3/3 @ 3 - GC 2019 Debrief and Worship
Sunday, March 3
3:00 pm
Gray United Methodist Church
2108 Oak Street, Gray, TN 37615

Each of Holston's nine districts will gather on March 3 at 3:00 pm for a time of worship and debriefing following 2019 Special General Conference. Our gathering will be held at Gray United Methodist Church. All Three Rivers clergy and laity are invited to attend.
Ministry Spotlight - First UMC JC
"The young people refer to the church as 'our church' and our older members refer to them as 'our kids.' It is obvious that our youth and children have become a part of 'us' and we, the long-established church members have become a part of 'them.'" ~ Rev. Jane Taylor, FUMC, JC
A few years ago, First United Methodist Church of Johnson City had only three regular participants in their youth program. The majority of its congregation was aging, white and middle class. However, within a one mile radius of the church the population are 12% African American and 27% of the families are living below the federal poverty level. Nearly 25% of their adult neighbors do not have a high school diploma or GED.

The leadership of the church realized this was an opportunity to serve the needs of their neighbors, especially the children and youth, while simultaneously breaking down the socioeconomic and demographic barriers that separated the church from its community.

They started by identifying four students living near the church who might benefit from the support the FUMC community had to offer. The response was amazing. Soon those four students invited friends, and friends invited friends.

Today, FUMC has approximately 211 in the children's and youth ministries. The majority of these participants live in poverty and are people of color.

What makes this ministry so successful? FUMC focuses on holistic development and integration of every child into the life and ministries of the church. They seek to minister with, not to these children and their families. They are ministering to the individuals' physical, social, educational, emotional and spiritual needs.

While they have youth specific activities on Wednesday and Sunday evenings, the youth and children also frequently participate in Sunday morning worship, reading scripture and liturgy and sharing new skills they have learned through group and private music instruction led by two professional musicians.

Tutoring is available on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Every youth is given the opportunity to participate in a leadership program and be paired with a mentor within the church. A support group is available for children dealing with loss in its many forms. Transportation is provided for all who need it. Activities are spread throughout the week, providing those in unstable living situations a safe space, and every activity includes a meal or snack.

Many of the original youth have graduated high school but are still active in the life of the church. There is now a college-age ministry that has grown to 15 young adults. Several of these are first generation college students in their families.

Rev. Jane Taylor, pastor of FUMC says, "The young people refer to the church as 'our church' and our older members refer to them as 'our kids.' It is obvious that our youth and children have become a part of 'us' and we, the long-established church members have become a part of 'them.'"

This focus on youth has become a vital, integrated ministry that IS First United Methodist Church of Johnson City. This has become possible because the church did not sit back and wait for families with children to come to them. They went out in search of those children and youth who needed them most, and in return have been blessed because of their presence.
Editor's note: Do you have a ministry that we can spotlight in future newsletters? Contact Betty with details.
Summer Camp Registration
Registration is now live for all Holston Conference Camps, including our own Camp Bays Mountain. Rooted in Christ (Colossians 2:6-7 is this year's theme. Camp experiences are available for grades 1 - 12, as well as for persons with disabilities age 15 and up.

Hands-On Mission
It is not too early to be working on school backpacks for our Annual Conference Hands-On Mission Project.

List of Items

1 backpack - new or gently used
1 12" ruler
2 boxes white or colored chalkboard chalk (not sidewalk chalk )
1 compass for math
1 protractor
1 pk. (10 or 12 ct.) blue or black pens
1 pk. (10 or 12 ct.) pencils
1 pk. erasers
2 pencil sharpeners
3 spiral notebooks (70 page)
1 complete Bible (new or used - Old AND New Testament)
  • Remove price tags from all items.
  • Place school supplies inside the backpack. 
  • Please use only the quantities listed. Please note that 10 or 12 count pencil and pen packs are allowed next year!
  • NO SUBSTITUTIONS or additional items are allowed due to Customs regulations. This includes notes, cards, photos, religious tracks, food items or anything else that is not on the list.
  • A $5.00 donation for packing and shipping is to accompany each kit - do not put money in the backpack!  Church Treasurers should write ONE CHECK to the Three Rivers District UMC for the total cost of packing and shipping (ie: 10 kits equals $50).
  • Please hold on to your completed packs until the collection time in June. You will receive further instructions at a later date.

New Website
If you have tried logging on to lately, you have noticed that web address is no longer active. We recently migrated all of our web content to a new address: However, hosting problems with UMCChurches is causing our new website to behave erratically.

We are told that Chrome users may be unable to view the website at all because Google has deemed it "unsafe". Internet Explorer users should have no difficulty viewing the new site, while Firefox users may see the text content but not images.

We are in a holding pattern, living out a mandatory waiting period when we can transfer our domain to a new hosting service. This transfer will give our webmaster greater control of the site and the ability to fix such problems. The due date for that is March 19. Until that time, our website may or may not be accessible.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. In the meantime, feel free to contact the district office or visit for any questions you may have.
District Youth News
Our District CCYM Elections will be held on Sunday, April 28, from 4:30-6:00pm at the Johnson City Family Skate Center. We’ll have an 80s theme, for the evening, so break out your best 80s gear! We’ll spend the first part of our time skating and fellowshipping together and will then have dinner and vote on our CCYM representatives. The cost for the evening is $5 per person, which includes pizza for dinner, thanks to our district. Students who would like to be considered for CCYM should fill out the nomination form found at this link and come prepared to share at the elections why they would like to be considered for CCYM. There’s also a covenant online, which explains more about CCYM for those interested in running. Nomination forms should be emailed to Amanda Onks , District Youth Coordinator, by Monday, April 22. Youth leaders, please let Amanda know by April 22 how many in your group will be attending so we can plan for food.
Our next youth leader meeting will be on Thursday, March 21, at 12:00pm. We’ll have lunch at Holy Taco, talk about future events, and fellowship together. If you’ll be able to join us, please let Amanda know by Wednesday, March 20, so we can reserve plenty of seats. If you would like to be added to the youth leader contact list, please email Amanda with your information. We hope to see many of our leaders on March 21!

Scholarships and Grants
Several grant and scholarships are available, with application deadlines in the next two months.

Holston Foundation Grants

  • Margaret Loving Senior Grant
  • Thomas P Carriger Evangelism Grant
  • Eudow Hamm Evangelism Grant
  • John B. Redwine Strategic Ministries Grant
  • Mission Grants

Learn more and apply by March 15 at

Missionary Emergency Fund Scholarships

This fund is administered by Reynolds Memorial UMC and State Street UMC in Bristol, VA. It provides scholarships to children and spouses of active and retired clergy, as well as to clergy pursuing further education.

Learn more and apply by March 15 at

Jeanette Reynolds Scholarship

Awarded by First UMC, Oak Ridge to one or more students annually who are accepted for study in a college, university, or seminary, and who have the career goal of ministry in a United Methodist Church.

Download application and return to FUMC, Oak Ridge by April 15.
Upcoming Events
Events - What, where, when...
District United Methodist Women Day Apart

Sunday, March 24
2:00 pm
Greenwood UMC
645 Sam Doak St
Tusculum, TN 37745

Jubilation event for adults 50+, older adult leaders, and clergy

May 6 - 8
MainStay Suites
Pigeon Forge, TN

RISE up and Serve - Holston UMW Mission Event

May 17-19
MainStay Suites
Pigeon Forge, TN
Clergy - did you miss the latest issue of the Wesley Leadership Institute newsletter? Read it here