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the congregational newsletter of

St John’s Lutheran Church




artin Luther once talked of the cost of his discipleship, especially the discipleship of preaching the Gospel. Luther was overwhelmed by the task of preaching the Gospel. It was a heavy emotional and spiritual burden for him. He said one time, “I would rather be strapped to a wheel, or forced to carry stones all day than to preach one single sermon.” And yet that same Luther who agonized over preaching, preached four and five times every Sunday, four or five times during the week. He also preached at all special occasions throughout Germany. Luther probably preached more sermons than any other minister in the history of the church. He knew the cost; he weighed the cost; and yet he willingly paid the price. Through the Word preached and the sacraments administered, God continues to try to get our attention with grace upon grace. When you are a part of a worshipping family, God can get your attention through your compassion for others. As we care about one another and share one another’s burdens, discipleship can cost you your tears as we weep with those who weep. As we see people in the world who are hurt and victimized, we call on our God of grace, our Lord of mercy, our Spirit of peace. Yes, there is a cost that goes with being a member of the Saint John’s community of faith. It will cost you your tears. It will cost you your time: in worship, faith formation, outreach ministries, helping people in need, visitation and volunteer ministry. Ministry takes time. Discipleship will also cost you your money. God has a plan for us, for Saint John’s, Vision 20/20, and our ministry will be moved forward with adequate finances. That’s money you could spend on your home, or clothing, or a weekend


trip, or an extended vacation, or an elegant meal. You could use it well, but discipleship will cost you some of that money. Ministry takes money. You see, being a disciple comes with a cost. We have to understand that. After preaching the gospel here for thirty years, I hope you have heard that message. And I hope and pray you to be willing to pay the cost and continue to move this ministry forward. Our theme for the 2018 stewardship emphasis is “Listen, God is Calling!” And I believe God continues to tell us, over and over again: “Yes, you are called through baptism to a great calling of discipleship. So invest yourself in it! Give of yourself, your time, your talent, your financial support.” As he concluded the sermon, the preacher raised his hand and said, “Listen to me people…listen! God loves you and has given his Son, Jesus Christ, to die for you. By grace you have been saved. Consider the cost and then follow the Christ.” I hope God’s call to faithful discipleship will receive our faithful response for years to come! Listen, God is calling! In Christ,


hen I recently ran across this quote by Madeleine L’Engle, one of my all-time favs from this brilliant author, my mind went immediately to our recent Ministry Fair; on that day, our shared purpose was to shine an inviting light on our ministries, and in turn,



seek opportunities to share these ministries within and beyond the walls of St. John’s. Over eighty folks gathered for lunch and conversation about the gift of current ministries and the exciting prospect of new ministries not yet even imagined. I owe a special word of thanks to our Church Council who hosted desserts in small groups around the following expressions of fruitful ministry, Radical Hospitality, Passionate Worship, Intentional Faith Formation, Risk-Taking Mission, and Extravagant Generosity Additionally, Nancy Maland and the Tender Lovin’ Cookin’ (TLC) team worked tirelessly to organize and serve those who came bearing veggies and salads. From our time together, the following new ministry ideas were born out of peoples’ interests, passions, and gifts: a “front door” welcome team a neighborhood engagement team to provide a St. John’s presence in community events a Welcome to the Neighborhood team to reach out to new folks in neighborhoods that surround St. John’s an instrumental music team an ongoing acolyte and crucifer training program a car maintenance ministry a food pantry, focusing on emergency supplies for a week for a family of four a “basics” ministry that provides new undergarments and socks for our neighbors Listen, God is calling. What ministry opportunity captures your attention? Let’s talk soon!

isten, God is Calling the Plays

Back in the 90’s, before our first son was born, Misty and I lived in Nashville and worshiped at First Lutheran Church. One Sunday, Jim Dineen, a friend there and a recording engineer, turned and said, “I’m recording a project, kind of a ‘We Are the World’ of Christian music, and we need a rehearsal pianist. Want the gig?” I jumped at the chance! David Pack, lead singer of Ambrosia, one of my favorite bands of the 70’s, and producer of albums by Michael McDonald, Patti Austin, and many others, was producing the project. It was a tribute to Andraé Crouch, writer of “Soon and Very Soon” and leader of a choir that sang on Michael Jackson hits like “Man in the Mirror.” I’m standing in the control room as Mr. Crouch walks in, and he says, “On my way over here, God told me somebody needed to hear this. God wants to bless you, sends a blessing like a football pass, and tells you where to go to receive it. If you go, you’re there when it lands. If not, you’re not. And God sends another blessing and tells you where to go. And God keeps on sending blessings and telling you where to go. Get what I’m saying?” I’m not sure that I did, but I do now. God is always blessing and guiding us to where we need to be. Pastor Steve’s call to retirement and what God has in store for him next, my call to sabbatical and the renewal that flows from that (which I’ll write more about more in another article), Pastor Amy’s call to a Doctorate in Ministry focused on respectful dialogue (which she’s worked on the past couple years), your call to your next faithful step, our call together as a congregation — God is in all this, calling the plays, and God has the SkyCam view. God is always blessing, always guiding. Our part is to listen, follow, and receive (and when we miss one, to get up, listen again, follow again, and receive).




ear St. John’s,

A few months ago our council voted to approve my taking a three month sabbatical, most of which will be this summer (May 20-July 31), the rest of which will be in December (dates TBD). A sabbatical is a great gift, intended to help pastors rest, renew, and revitalize their ministry after seven years of continuous service, and I thank you in advance for supporting this. My last Sunday before sabbatical will be Pentecost, May 20, after which I go to Washington, D.C., for a preaching conference, The Festival of Homiletics, where I will room with an old friend, Pastor Ward Misenheimer, formerly of St John’s, now at Advent Lutheran in Charlotte. A few days later, I meet Misty and fly to France for a poetry-writing retreat, O Taste and See: Writing the Senses in Deep France, in a village near Spain called Auvillar. The retreat is led by Marilyn Kallet, a friend, colleague, and poet who recently retired from the UT English department, where Misty is a professor. My hope is to re-approach my lyric writing, as I’ve written a lot of music to other people’s words lately, and I’ve written a lot of words in the form of sermons, articles, grant reports, and the like, but I haven’t written words for songs in a long time. This is largely because it’s tended to be time-intensive for me to write lyrics, usually involving travel to Nashville to co-write, and the past 12 years I’ve devoted my time to other things: learning to be a pastor, being a pastor, and being a dad and husband. In my experience, you can’t make lyrics happen, but you can make yourself available. This retreat is a way of making myself available, while also spending sweet time with Misty. Our son Trevor wraps up a week at the WOW Beach Retreat as we wrap up our time in France, so Misty will head back to cover the home front. As for me, being so close to Spain, I’ll hop over to meet our other son Andy and his wife Kate at Santiago de Compostella, famed pilgrim destination of the Middle Ages. You may have seen a video of the botafumeiro, a huge incense burner at the cathedral that takes 6 monks to hoist (https://youtu.be/iXWMi9oarQ8). I’d guess Medieval pilgrims smelled pretty bad after hiking


across the Pyrenées, and the incense probably helped. In any case, we’ll make a 5 day hike from there to a town on the coast called Finisterre, the Edge of the World, then up the coast to Muxia. I anticipate eating a lot of grilled octopus, a favorite local dish and a favorite of mine too. (Kate is not so sure about the octopus. Not to worry! I’m pretty sure it’s ‘octopus optional’.) The middle month of the summer, June 14-July 14, I hope to spend time at home, go camping with Trevor, visit friends and co-writers in Nashville, and spend a few days in silent retreat, possibly at Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky. I’m a fan of Br. Luke, the organist and choir director there, who writes wonderful music for hymns. The past couple times I’ve been there, one way I’ve broken silence at the end of retreat is to go to a piano with Br. Luke and play songs for each other. In July, I give a talk, “A Composer’s Perspective: What Makes a Memorable Hymn Tune,” at the International Hymn Society’s annual conference in St. Louis. My focus is not so much on how to write an ear worm, but rather how to use mnemonics — memory tricks — to make a melody easy to learn, in a way that supports a meaningful experience of worship. The theme of the conference is “Sacred Song and the Public Square,” and I hope to meet new colleagues and learn new songs. After that, Misty, Trevor, Andy, Kate, and I spend a week at Isle of Palms, relaxing, having fun, and letting it all soak in. Then I come home! I’ll likely spend the first few days of August catching up on email, as I don’t plan to open any while I’m away, and then I look forward to being with you in worship again, on August 5. You can probably tell I’m excited! All these things — preaching, pilgrimage, friends, family, and song — relate to my call as a pastor, family member, community member, and writer of songs for the church. Thank you for all the love and support you always give, to me and to my family! It is a great blessing to be your pastor. Love,



he Southeastern Synod Assembly is scheduled for June 1st thru 3rd in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Under this year's theme, Reformation 500‌Now What?, we will continue to think about the ways that the church is called to be an ever-reforming one. The election of a new synodical bishop happens in 2019, and we must begin to think together about the leadership needs of this synod. What do our congregations and our ministries need to equip them to live out God's call as people of faith? What gifts, skills and vision does the next bishop need to lead? At this Assembly we will initiate an intentional year-long discernment process to inform the 2019 bishop election. As we plan for our time together in Chattanooga in June, we do so hopeful for open and honest dialog with one another that will yield a profile of who we are as the Southeastern Synod and who God might be calling to serve as its bishop into the future. Pastor Steve and Pastor Amy will be in attendance along with our delegates John Rice, Jessi Greiser and Deaver Shattuck, Also, our own Chris Clay has been asked to design and lead the Saturday afternoon worship experience for the entire gathered community and will also provide a special time of music for all interested on Saturday evening. We look forward to this important gathering and, as always, we welcome your prayers for our Synod Assembly.



or nearly the past 3 years, I have been the Youth Associate Minister here at St. John's. My time here has been exceptionally blessed. Having a mentor like Pastor Amy, awesome and outgoing youth families, and an embracing, loving congregation are all things I will remember as I continue my walk of faith in ministry. The time I have spent at St. John's has been invaluable and will shape the way I do ministry for the rest of my life. For this - I thank you. What's next for meI have been accepted into a program through the ELCA called Young Adults in Global Mission, or YAGM. This program will send me away to the United Kingdom for roughly a year to work with a bigger program called Time For God. My placement with TFG has not yet been decided, and as such, I could be doing anything from working with vulnerable people recovering from addiction, to working in an after school care, to working in a congregation. As I know more, I will continue to put information into future newsletters. I leave in mid August. If you would like to learn more about the YAGM program and my involvement in it, please visit my fundraising page at support.elca.org/goto/fundisaactaylor The St. John's family has been so supportive of me in my time as youth minister, I hope you continue to support me as I seek God's will worldwide!




astor Amy here: since the rhythm of summer changes just a bit, I thought it might be nice to offer you some suggestions for summer faith formation. Here is a breakdown for all of God’s kiddos… Pre-school through Elementary Age Children … I will be sending an email with two cool links. One is a Summer Faith Photo Scavenger Hunt list. The other is a special edition of cool coloring sheets from Children’s Illustrated Ministry that explores the Psalms. Be sure to check your Inbox the week of June 3! Youth … most of our teenagers will be busy with WOW this summer, but if you want a little creative outlet, use your phone to take pics of this summer’s simple gifts. From ice cream to rainbows, from campfires to bicycle rides, capture the best of your summer and send them to Pastor Amy at 865.805.9805. We will create a montage at the end of the summer! Adults … I have compiled some reading suggestions. Happy Reading! 1. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle … a Christian classic 2. What We Talk about When We Talk about God by Rob Bell 3. Stranger God: Meeting Jesus in Disguise by Richard Beck 4. Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People by Nadia Bolz-Weber 5. The Kingdom of God is a Party by Tony Campolo 6. Baptized, We Live by Daniel Erlander … very Lutheran, be sure to order at danielerlander.com for the best price 7. Outlaw Christian by Jacqueline A Bussie 8. Help, Thanks, Wow by Anne Lamott 9. Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy by Anne Lamott 10. Being Christian by Rowan Williams 11. Being Disciples by Rowan Williams 12. The Great Spiritual Awakening: How the World’s Largest Religion is Seeking a Better Way to be Christian by Brian D. McLaren 13. Why Did Jesus, Moses, The Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road by Brian D. McLaren 14. Life of the Beloved by Henri Nouwen 15. With Open Hands by Henri Nouwen 16. Wounded Healer by Henri Nouwen … a Christian classic 17. Breathing Underwater, Spirituality and the Twelve Steps by Richard Rohr 18. Inspired: Slaying Dragons, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again by Rachel Held Evans 19. Out of Sorts: Making Peace with an Evolving Faith by Sarah Bessey 20. Ruthless Trust, A Ragmuffin’s to God by Brennan Manning


LUTHERAN LIFE God is up to something amazing … in and through WOW! WOW 2018 summer camp is only a few weeks away. We are gearing up for another fantastic summer filled with laughter, love and service to our neighbors. Youth and adults will grow closer to God and one another through intentional leadership development, faith formation and mission outreach. The WOW 2018 theme is “Draw the Circle Wide.” Our scriptural anchor is Ephesians 3:17-19 “...And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.” Meet our staff and take a look at our summer schedule!

WOW WEEKS FOR 2018 Week 1: June 3-8 Week 2: June 10-15 Week 3: June 17-22 BREAK Week 4: July 8-13 Week 5: July 15-20 Week 6: July 22-27

The WOW Staff

Rendan Overcash

Will Trout

Chloe Gibson

Kylie Shattuck Fred Perkinson Lacy Ott




eet your new Katie’s Sisters Leadership Team! If you are interested in offering your gifts, please contact Marcia Power at bowerpowerm@gmail.com.

Marcia Power > Favorite Katie’s Sisters memory: Our retreats have always been my favorite experience! > Favorite guilty pleasure dessert: Chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. > Favorite movie: Harry Potter! > Other than your significant other, the person with who you would like to share dinner: Richard Rohr. > Advice you would give your 13- year-old self: Life will be hard, but will also bring you great joy. Relax! You are loved beyond measure, and you don’t need to rush to grow up so fast. Listen, for your parents, teachers, and pastors have much to teach you. Karen Bertollini > Favorite Katie’s Sisters memory: Ruthie answer the door to a young policeman when the alarm wouldn’t stop going off. Laugh out loud tears! > Favorite guilty pleasure dessert: Anything lemon or rhubarb > Favorite movie: Some Like It Hot > Other than your significant other, the person with whom you would like to share dinner: my younger sister, Kristi, who passed away in 1986 > Advice you would give your 13-year-old self: Stop, just stop and think, and once in a while, listen to your mom!

Susan Dowling > Favorite Katie’s Sisters memory: The laughter that we shared during the Katie’s Sisters retreat this year, when Ruthie came rushing downstairs because the fire alarm went off.. > Favorite guilty pleasure dessert: The chocalate mouse cake from The Chop House > Favorite movie: Lady Bird > Other than your significant other, the person with whom you would like to share dinner: Michelle Obama > Advice you would give your 13-year-old self: Live life the fullest; don’t be afraid to take risks and figure out what you have a passion for.

Kate Tirro Busy doing important end-of-the-year doctoral things! More to come!




reat News…there are several opportunities to become involved! We will need 20 - 30 volunteers for the Blitz Days on Saturday, July 28th and Saturday, August 4th. The blitz days have been divided into Morning Only shifts; 7:30 AM to 12:00 PM avoiding heat of day July 28th – Walls and Trusses; August 4th – Trusses, Roof Deck We will need 10-15 volunteers for three more Saturdays in August and September. Here are the work plans for each day. All shifts below are mornings only. August 11th - Interior Walls and Roof August 18th – Vinyl Siding September 8th – Interior Painting September 15th – Vinyl Siding Matt Whitehead @ mattdwhitehead@gmail.com is our Volunteer Coordinator. In order to sign up, here is the link to do so: We have also launched our fundraising goal of $7,500. St. John’s Benevolence has also contributed $7,500. Thanks to a partnership with Central Baptist of Bearden and David and Sandy Martin, they will be providing the other 2/3 of the funds or $30,000. Plan to consider your participation with financial support as well! A great team is in place and more assistance is needed, so get involved. Habitat team members are: Project Coordinators Neil Fischer David Bocangle Jeff Welch Volunteer Coordinators Matt Whitehead Building Buddy Dale Teague Food / Refreshment Coordinator Nancy Maland Fund Raising Coordinator Jim Ley Publicity Coordinator Chris Clay Reflection Leader John Tirro Plan to become involved! Contact: neilfischer22@gmail.com or David Bocangel dbocangel@firstbankonline.com or Jeff Welch jeffawelch@gmail.com for more information.




ey St. John's youth families! We have several youth events coming up to round out the busy semester as well as throughout the summer months!

Here's the rundown: May 20 - Rising 6th grader welcome to the youth group lunch after 11am service - Location TBD June 6 - Movie Night (either out at the cinema, or at St. John's with reflection afterward - TBD) June 27 - Pool party and cookout at Isaac's! July 25 - Bowling on Broadway


ith Pastor Steve’s upcoming retirement and Isaac’s exciting adventure in the United Kingdom through Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM), we face some exciting new opportunities for Youth Ministry at St. John’s, and we would love your prayerful consideration about our next steps! Here is the current “broad strokes” plan: > Meet with youth group representatives to help our teens understand they have an incredible opportunity to step up for new expressions of leadership during the next academic year (August through May). > Gather a team of faithful adults—parents, young couples, grandparents, single folks—who would consider an intentional investment in the lives of our teenagers, drawing on their organizational skills, commitment to faithful relationship, and ability to eat a lot of pizza. > Work with above-mentioned two groups in late June and early July to brainstorm and then coordinate events for the fall semester and the spring semester in order to promote plans with a Youth Ministry Kick-Off in August. > Celebrate Isaac’s three year of ministry at a UK Send-Off at 10:00 AM on Sunday, July 29. > Anticipate and experience a new expression of youth ministry, always giving thanks to God who claims us, marks us with the sign of the cross, bestows us with spiritual gifts, call us to new adventures, empowers us for ministry, and faithfully accompanies us! If this sounds like something you’d like to be a part of, please contact Pastor Amy at amy@sjlcknox.org.


History Made in the ELCA - The First African-American Women Bishops in the History of the Church On May 5th and May 6th, following her election as the ELCA’s first female African-descent synod bishop, Patricia Davenport was reminded of a hymn her congregation sings, “For Everyone Born” by Shirley Erena Murray. “For everyone born, a place at the table,” go the lyrics. “And God will delight when we are creators of justice and joy, compassion and peace.” “I am delighted that is no longer for me just a song that we sing,” Davenport said, “but a movement.” Less than 24 hours later, the ELCA would again make history by electing its second female synod bishop of African descent, Viviane Thomas-Breitfeld. Davenport was elected May 5 to serve a six-year term as bishop of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod. She succeeds Claire S. Burkat, who has served as synod bishop since 2006 and will retire July 31. A member of the Spirit & Truth Worship Center in Yeardon, Pa., Davenport currently serves as director for evangelical mission and assistant to the bishop for the synod. She will be installed Sept. 22. Thomas-Breitfeld was elected May 6 to serve a six-year term as bishop of the South-Central Synod of Wisconsin. She succeeds Mary Stumme Froiland, who has served as synod bishop since 2013 and will retire June 30. Both bishops-elect are lifelong Lutherans. Davenport was raised in a predominately German congregation, and Thomas-Breitfeld grew up in the Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church, a majority-Scandinavian denomination—“Don’t I look Swedish?” Thomas-Breitfeld joked—that merged into the Lutheran Church in America, an ELCA predecessor body. “Because it was a predominately German church where English was not the primary language spoken, of course there were no people in leadership who looked like me,” Davenport said of her childhood congregation. “So to be able to take those steps on this journey and get to a place where I’ve been elected bishop to serve is just mind-boggling. I know it’s the work of the Holy Spirit.” Thomas-Breitfeld agreed: “To someone who’s been in the church for all of my life and to a pastor who has seen non-acceptance based on gender and race, [my election] was gratifying.” Each also agreed that their elections signaled a meaningful affirmation by their synods of the leadership gifts they can offer the church. “I came into the church during an era of ‘You’re welcome to come, but leave your baggage and all of your gifts, all the things you bring, at the door,’ ” Davenport said. “So this [election] says to me, ‘You have gifts, bring them, share them with all.’ ” “This is the equivalent of Neil Armstrong landing on the moon,” said a black female pastor in the Wisconsin. “I’ll never forget where I was when I found out.”



The Congregation of St. John’s Lutheran Church Knoxville, TN Invites you to the

Festival Worship of Ordination for Preston Carter Fields

Saturday, July 14 at 3:00 PM. A reception will follow in Sparks Fellowship Hall.



William Edward Trout is the valedictorian of the 2018 graduating class of Gatlinburg-Pittman High School. He plans to attend Tickle College of Engineering at University of Tennessee, Knoxville in Cook's Grand Challenge and Chancellor's Honors Program.

Leah Noelle Crowley is a graduate of Bearden High School. She plans to continue her studies at University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

August Ruess Warren is a graduate of West High School. He plans to take a gap year after and hike the Appalachian Trail by himself from June to October, while considering his college and/or career plans.

BIRTHDAYS 5 8 9 10 11

Josh Reed Thomas Campbell Clay Leah Zinser Sara Whitehead Doug Thompson Sara Daugherty Reed Solt Nicole Leatherwood Christina Racek Mike Sweany Chesney Burkhalter Loreley Sinnott Dale Teague Rachel Crowley Declan McWilliams Darin Clark Mary Critselous Pat Counts

12 13 14

1 2 3 4

Brenda Wainner Kelly Page Virginia Grace Connor Gibson Clarke Hinkle Lisa Smith Megan Venable Sarah Crowley

15 17 19 20 23

17 20

21 23 2 3 5 10 13 14 15 16

Caleb Warren Claire Robinette Grace Sweany Brenda Wayland Nancy Delgado Sally Seivers Thomas McDermott Larry Eikenberry Teresa Greene Sonja Fowler Hannah Bucklin Natalie Graves Jerry Shock

25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Karen Johnson Butch Fischer J.E. Henry Brad Long Alan Shattuck Raney Shattuck Gina Vandergriff Tracie Lefler Diana McElhaney Sutton Lewis Brennan Whitehead Zion Roberts Stan Leib Cathy Converse Kevin Kimzey Lauren Kimzey Sally Osborn Benjamin Sousa Chad Gibson Emelia Warren Trista McCarthy Carole Romeiser

24 25 26 27

Linda Peterson Kitty Sharp Bill Lawhon Kaye Williams Brandon Hopkins Mary Gagle Kayleigh Brownlee

ST. JOHN’S LUTHERAN CHURCH 544 Broadway, NW Knoxville, TN 37917


CHURCH LEADERSHIP & STAFF Stephen Misenheimer Senior Pastor steve@sjlcknox.org Amy Figg Pastor of Faith Formation & Leadership Development amy@sjlcknox.org John Tirro Pastor of Campus Ministry John@sjlcknox.org Deborah Dunne-Sousa Minister of Music sousa@esknoxville.org

Phone:: 865.523.3330

Christopher Clay Ministry Coordinator & Director of Communications chris@sjlcknox.org Isaac Taylor Youth Ministry Associate isaac@sjlcknox.org Toni Denton Administrative Assistant toni@sjlcknox.org

Thea Peterson Kids Hope USA Director Thea@jsjlcknox.org Mary Elizabeth Peterson, Lisa Minton & Bailey Morgan Nursery Assistants Darrell Murrell Facility Staff facility@sjlcknox.org

Fax: 865.524.7895 Email: INFO@sjlcknox.org Website: www.sjlcknox.org

Profile for Toni Denton

Lutheran Life Pentecost  

Newsletter of St. John's Lutheran Church Knoxville, TN

Lutheran Life Pentecost  

Newsletter of St. John's Lutheran Church Knoxville, TN


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