The session at Second Presbyterian Church, 700 Pine St., has begun a step toward fulfilling a vision of the church for work outside the walls of the church. In December, the session endorsed the concept of establishing an unpaid position of associate pastor, missions, to focus on urban ministry and community outreach while support and interest from other churches and the Presbytery of East Tennessee were pursued. Henry Paris, who served an internship at the church in the summer of 2011, was endorsed to lead this ministry.
Due to restricted gifting and recent endowed gifting to the church, the church has the ability to move forward with this new ministry, to be called St. Matthew's Ministries. This will be an independently funded and financed ministry of Second Presbyterian Church which will actively pursue participation and funding from other PCUSA churches in the area, but also from other denominations with like-minded visions, area philanthropies and area businesses. The needs of this ministry will not be funded through the general funds of the church.
Officials said, "The primary objective of this ministry is to bring our Lord and Savior's message to people in our community who are struggling against poverty of all forms. Poverty of material needs, but more frequently poverty of the spirit. This ministry is not a charity. It is focused on helping people help themselves. It is not focused solely on the residents of the St. Matthew's Shelter for Men. An oversight committee consisting of Henry Paris and the committee chairs of Missions, Administration and Budget/Finance/Stewardship has been established."