Update: June 29, 2023

Update: June 29, 2023

Hello McFarland! Pastor Wayne here!

It is hard to believe that 2023 is half over. It is also hard to believe that July 1 will mark the beginning of my sixth year in service to this congregation. What a time it has been. I want to thank the Reverend Fred Dearing for substituting for me on June 25th. Fred brought a message of hope from the people of South Sudan. If you would like to contribute to the ongoing work in South Sudan, you may click here to give to our Sudan Ministry fund or you can place your offering marked “Sudan” in the offering box on Sunday morning.

This has been an interesting and trying season for all of us in so many ways but I see a glimmer of hope moving forward. As the United Methodist Church goes through a season of disaffiliation, we bid farewell to 264 churches in the Holston Annual Conference on April 22 and we will meet in a virtual called session of the Annual Conference on Thursday, September 7 to approve applications from churches that were already following the disaffiliation process but couldn’t complete the process prior to the deadline in March for the April meeting. This September session will only affect a small number of churches in Holston. While this has been a time of sadness and grief, our Annual Conference meeting at Lake Junaluska was filled with hope and excitement as we explored a renewed focus on what God is doing in our midst.

Here at McFarland we are continuing to be in ministry to the Rossville and East Lake communities. Our Free Store continues to provide clothing, household goods, and personal care items to anyone in need. We provided 24 home buckets for the Ishe Anesu project in Zimbabwe as part of our Conference Hands-On Mission project. We continue to seek ways to work with the community and with our other United Methodist Churches in the area to meet the needs that we find here.

In just a few days we will welcome the Reverend Mickey Rainwater as our new District Superintendent. I first met Mickey when he was the pastor at Tyner UMC and I have worked with him over the past 7 years in his role as Chair of the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry. We welcome Mickey and his wife Joy back to the Scenic South District in this new ministry context for them. One aspect of the role of District Superintendent is that of “Chief Missional Strategist” for the district (¶419.1 2016 Book of Discipline) and I look forward to working with Mickey to address some of the challenges and opportunities that are present in our area. For instance, what will be the best way to reach out to the neighborhood growing up around Ridgeland High School at Happy Valley and 2A?

This has also been a season of loss within the McFarland church family. Within the last few weeks we have lost Kenneth Hays, Peggy Kelley, and Ben North. We hold our memories of them close and their remaining family members even closer.

I do have some exciting news. Darlene is back in the office and is attempting to work her regular schedule of 9:00 – 4:00 on Monday and Thursday and 9:00 – 12:00 on Wednesday. We welcome Darlene back in the office. With Darlene here we are moving to a different church management system that will give us greater flexibility as we communicate with you via email and text messages. With that being said, we have an updated directory listing and calendar available to pick up in the Narthex this Sunday.

As I enter this sixth year as your pastor, I look forward to the challenges ahead. As I have said time and time again, God is not finished with McFarland… not by a long shot. Let’s join in prayer together for a hope-filled future as we seek God’s will for us.

Pastor Wayne