Our church council met on Tuesday, May 23. Here are a few highlights:

Following the incident in which a protester walked through the sanctuary during announcements in late April, there was renewed discussion around church security. Church security experts agree that having an off-duty officer in a police vehicle outside the building is the best possible deterrent a church can utilize. As a result of these conversations, the council approved hiring an off-duty ORPF officer to be present on Sunday mornings, when one is available.

The Missions Committee reports the congregation is strongly supporting the hands-on food buckets for Zimbabwe, with 10 additional buckets purchased for the project. All buckets should be filled and returned to the welcome center by May 28.

The Staff-Parish Relations committee and trustees are pleased to announce the hiring of Brian Drummond, an Oak Ridge resident, as our new assistant facilities director. It has been an arduous task to find the right person!

Our Children’s Ministry is slowly rolling out their new Sunday morning check-in system for students, nursery-6th grade, in the welcome center. This system provides a name tag for each child and a matching security tag for parents to use when they pick up that child.

Family Ministry is gearing up for a “Glow” dance party on Friday, May 26. All are welcome to join the fun, fellowship, and dancing!

Vacation Bible School is just weeks away! “Living Water: Sailing Towards God’s Love” will be from Monday, June 12-Thursday, June 15, with Friday, June 16, being a family and congregation night with water games and snow cones to follow!

The Finance Committee reports we are on track with 34% of the year complete, having received 34% of total expected revenue and around 37% of expected operating pledged gifts/estimates of giving.

FirstYouth is gearing up for summer with a trip to Dollywood, a pool day, and a movie/escape game set for June. More to come in July!

The Missions Team, plus one other donor, is paying for an extension of the Blossom Center Preschool playground fence. Work is to be performed by church volunteers and will be complete by the end of June.

The Enduring Gifts Committee has approved the following requests: $8,300 to purchase 150 chairs for the Multi-Purpose Room and $7,261.11 to replace worn carpet in the library.

First Recovery will host a free Addiction and Faith Summit on Saturday, July 22, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., along with Anderson County nonprofits and the Faith-Based Initiatives Office of Tennessee’s Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. The summit will focus on the church’s role in supporting addiction recovery and reducing stigma.

The Scholarship Committee has awarded $2,000 each to two scholarship applicants: Claire Gibson and Spencer Shults.

First Recovery’s Wednesday night speaker meetings continue to grow, with an average weekly attendance of 45 persons. First Recovery assisted the Sheriff’s Department in placing an individual needing recovery support services and provided family member support and guidance during the emergency. Likewise, Matt Holder, our Recovery Director, found permanent housing for two women, allowing them to keep their children.

Our Recovery Ministry will soon begin small groups following their Wednesday night speaker meetings. One group will be for veterans who experience PTSD and substance misuse issues. The other group will be a co-ed 12-Step study.

The Trustees reported that work on a storage closet in the Fellowship Hall continues. This storage will be used for tablecloths, Community Meals supplies, and our Youth Ministries. They also reported that shade sails will soon be installed for the playground. The sails help protect our children as temperatures rise in the coming weeks.

The Social Concerns Committee plans on participating in the Scarboro ‘85 Reunion parade on July 28 and the Knox Pride Parade on October 6. Anyone interested in participating should contact Rev. Flynn.

The Council has a planning retreat scheduled for October 13-15 at Wesley Woods. The staff is planning for a “Church at Camp” event for that Sunday morning for any and all who desire to experience a campfire worship service, tour the camp, and participate in various fun activities.

United Women of Faith thanks the congregation who supported their Bakeless Bake Sale. The $2,250 collected will be used to support many organizations in our community and beyond.