The Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church this week announced its ministerial appointments for the 2020-21 year.
In the Scenic South District that covers Chattanooga and the surrounding area, outgoing Hixson UMC senior pastor the Rev. Reed Shell will be the new district superintendent, replacing the retiring Rev.
The new Hixson UMC senior pastor will be the Rev. Charles W. Starks, who is coming from Church Street UMC in Knoxville. The new senior pastor of Church Street will be former Chattanoogan the Rev. Catherine Clark Nance, who attended Brainerd High in the 1970s.
Ms. Nance’s appointment marks a small historical milestone, as Church Street is one of the largest churches in Holston Conference ever to be served by a woman as senior pastor.
Among the other new Chattanooga area appointments, the Rev Laura Shearer will serve as minister of congregational care at First-Centenary UMC, the Rev. Laura Trent will serve Brooks Memorial, the Rev. Clair Travis Sauer will serve Jones Memorial after being at Wesley Memorial, and the Rev. Eric Light will be at St. Marks.
Also, the Rev. Joshua Felton will serve Wesley Memorial, the Rev. Michael T. King will be at Rising Fawn, the Rev. Dennis Flaugher will serve Trenton, and the Rev. William B. Stewart will be at First-Whitwell and Whiteside.
With the various appointments, Chattanooga has several family connections. The Rev. Laura Trent at Brooks Memorial is the mother of the Rev. Evelyn Harris at St. Luke UMC, the Rev. Clair Sauer of Jones Memorial is the wife of the Rev. Ken Sauer at Red Bank UMC, and the Rev. Tony Collins at Burks UMC is the father of Burks associate pastor and seminary student the Rev. Rachel Collins. Also, the Rev. Harris’ husband, the Rev. Eric Reiger, will now serve in connectional ministry after serving as the pastor of Jones Memorial UMC.
Among the new appointments at churches in the Cleveland area of the Hiwassee District, the Rev. Travis Humbard will serve Black Fox-Big Spring, the Rev. Gilbert “Buddy” Butler has been appointed to Copperhill First-Ducktown, the Rev. Layne Pennington is going to Dayton First, the Rev. Gracie Ellis will be at Red Hill-South Cleveland, and the Rev. David Grant will serve Spring City-Reed’s Chapel.
The pastors will begin serving the new churches starting July 1. The conference was scheduled to have its Annual Conference at Lake Junaluska, N.C., next week, but it was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, although several online gatherings are being held in place of the meetings.