PRESBYTERY LEADERSHIP TRAINING WITH GRADYE PARSONS

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Presbytery's VISION STATEMENT

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” (Matthew 28:19).

Thus, the purpose of the church is to develop disciples. The purpose of the Presbytery of East Tennessee is to support this process. We have a spiritual mandate to follow Jesus’ calling to go forth and make disciples of all people.

MISSION INITIATIVES

CONNECT with one another in community: Identify and pursue opportunities to enhance the connectedness and corporate life of the Presbytery of East Tennessee, developing means of communication that will foster collegiality and trust and strengthen relationships among member congregations. This new sense of connection will open us to new visions and dreams as the Spirit leads.

SERVE our world in love, justice and peace: Promote mission participation across the Presbytery, including the evaluation of current mission endeavors and mission funding.

SUPPORT our churches, pastors and leaders: Support those who carry out ministry, education and mission in the Presbytery and its member congregations.

EQUIP children, youth and young adults for a life of discipleship through faith development and spiritual nurture.

Check out this video produced by the Serve Mission Team! Together in Mission

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In the Spotlight


Gatlinburg Wildfire Update

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A member of All Hands Volunteers, the group hosted by the Gatlinburg Presbyterian Church, sifts through debris.

In a recent meeting with PDA representatives, we learned more about what’s currently happening following the Sevier County wildfires.

VOADS (Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters) divide their work into two phases: response and recovery. Response is the initial action taken by the Red Cross and others to make sure immediate needs are met: do residents have a place to sleep and food to eat? What supplies are needed (water, clothing, etc)? Has everyone been accounted for? Once those primary needs have been taken care of, the next phase is recovery, which is where groups like PDA come in and stay for the long haul.

Currently, the response work is wrapping up as the recovery work is ramping up. Sevier County announced that the recovery work will happen under the umbrella of a 501(c)3 corporation named Mountain Tough Recovery Team. It is being chaired by Ellen Wilhoit, currently head of Sevier County Leadership and formerly head of the Sevierville hospital. It is initially funded by Sevier County and the three cities in the county. In terms of the scope of work, as of mid-January, about 400 sites had been cleared, with another 400 still needing to be cleared. There are about 60 older adults who lost their homes who have no insurance, and another 200 underinsured.

As we said, we are in a sort of interim time between response and recovery. There is a need for heavy construction equipment with operators and skilled teams who can lead unskilled volunteers (like PDA teams). Those arrangements will be put in place in the coming weeks and months. As for ways to help, MountainTough.org is the website with details about how to do so. Thanks to many of you who have volunteered at the distribution centers. That phase is coming to an end.

Of special concern are the hourly workers, almost all of them renters, who may be not only without housing but also without employment. There is a housing committee on the government level which has made finding housing solutions for the working poor a top priority.

So, we’re in a bit of a “hurry up and wait” situation right now, but important steps are being taken. It appears possible that Appalachian Service Project may be the onsite reconstruction partner that PDA needs. Please continue to keep our brothers and sisters in Sevier County in your prayers, and please ask God to show us ways to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

We will continue to provide updates as our response plans develop. Monitor the Presbytery's Facebook page for updates.