First-Centenary Among Area Methodist Churches Getting New Pastors

Friday, June 15, 2018 - by John Shearer

The Holston Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church met earlier this week in Lake Junaluska, N.C., and announced new pastoral appointments.


Among those churches getting new pastors in the newly redrawn Scenic South District that covers Chattanooga is First-Centenary UMC downtown.

The Rev. C. Mark Gooden, a graduate of Hixson High, has been named as the new senior pastor there to replace the retiring Rev. Doug Fairbanks.


Among the other local appointments, the Rev. Elizabeth K. Sullivan was named an associate at Burks, the Rev. Natalie Smart was appointed pastor at East Ridge, the Rev. Thomas Tucker has been named at Lookout Mountain, and the Rev. H. Wayne Cook has been named at McFarland.


Also, Dr. Richard L. Brown has been named at Stanley, the Rev. Kenneth Sauer at Red Bank, the Rev. Gary Ihfe at St. Elmo, the Rev. Brian Davis at St. Marks and the Rev. Terryl James at Washington Hills, among other appointments in outlying communities.


Among the churches in the Hiwasee District that covers roughly the Cleveland and Athens areas, the Rev. Betsy Switzer has been named an associate at Broad Street UMC in downtown Cleveland, Willard T. Akers has been appointed the pastor at First in Dayton, the Rev. Andrew C. Lay has been named an associate at Keith Memorial in Athens, the Rev. Michael Hubble has been named at Tasso-Charleston, and the Rev. Jacob W. Counts has been named at McDonald.


Also, Munsey Memorial UMC in Johnson City became the largest church in the Holston Conference to date to have a woman as a senior pastor with the appointment of the Rev. Carol Wilson.


In the United Methodist Church, pastors are appointed to churches from the conference clergy leadership instead of being called by individual churches.


The new pastors are scheduled to begin serving their churches in early July.


The districts were renamed as part of a move to operate more efficiently, church officials said. The former 12 districts in the Holston Conference with such names as Chattanooga and Cleveland have been reduced to nine districts. Church members within each district had the opportunity to vote on the new names for the district.


During some of the conference proceedings throughout the four-day gathering, several jokingly gave the Scenic South District the “Moonpie” nickname due to the fact that Chattanooga is home to the Moonpie snacks.


Also during the annual conference in Lake Junaluska, the clergy and lay members voted by a 2-1 margin not to purchase the 49-acre, multi-million-dollar Connexion worship, event and distribution center the conference had been leasing in Sevierville.

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