Faithful Living -- A Journey to Reflect on Our Vows

When we become members of a United Methodist congregation, we profess our faith in God and our desire to live as disciples of Jesus Christ. We also commit to participate in the congregation. We commit to participate in the ministries of the church with our prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness.

Each week of our campaign on Faithful Living will focus on one of the membership vows. In addition to a worship focus, we will dig a little deeper, focusing on each vow in a variety of ways for a whole week. There will be a devotionals-mailed or emailed each week (and posted here). There will be activities for reflection. There will be learning opportunities. There will be activities in person and online. Special activities each week will include prayer experiences, Trunk or Treat, a spiritual gifts assessment, and other ways to engage. Look for the Faithful Living table at the church and for weekly emails with activities and resources.

The schedule for the six-weeks is:
October 17 - Presence
October 24 - Service
October 31 - Gifts
November 7 - Witness
November 14 - Prayers
November 21 - Commitment Sunday

The final Sunday will be our Commitment Sunday. This year our Commitment Sunday will be a little different from past years. On Sunday, November 21, we will Reaffirm our Baptismal Covenant. We will commit to faithfully participate at Kern with our prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness. We will also make a commitment of our estimated giving for 2022.

Week 1: Presence

This week we begin Kern Church's focus no on Faithful Living and our vow of presence. Here are a variety of ways you can look at what presence means in your life of faith. Follow the links to view each of the resources

Thank you to Matt McConnell who wrote our devotional for this week. Click here to read.

Marcia Walker is offering a workshop on "Practicing Presence with God and with Others" at 10 am Thursday, October 21 in the Family Life Center and again at 6 pm on Zoom. To request a link to the Zoom session, contact Marcia at 865-414-7321 or

Family and Fellowship Dinner
Plan to be present October 20 at 5:30 pm. at Oak Grove Park for our weekly dinner hosted this week by the Generosity Committee. Come out for fried chicken, chips, drinks and homemade desserts. In case of rain, we will gather at the Kern Family Life Center.

Books in the United Methodist Women's room at Kern are available to anyone to check out whenever the church is open. The UMW room is located on the lower level across from the Fellowship Hall. Thank you to Sharon Bell for sharing these suggested books that relate to presence. Books in the UMW library are in order by year which is noted after each book title.

The Weight of Mercy: A Novice Pastor on the4 City Streets  (2016)
Bus to Corinth (2018)
The White Umbrella: Walking With Survivors of Sex Trafficking (2016)
50 Women Every Christian Should Know:  Susanna Wesley's story, sharing her faith her congregation while her husband was (often) in London. (2018)

Links to other resources to learn and reflect on how God is calling you to live out your vow of presence as a follower of Christ

The Ministry of Presence: A Biblical View  An in-depth theological article on what scripture teaches about presence.

Article: Giving the Gift of Presence from United Methodist Discipleship Ministries

Inspiration: Story about carrying a glass of water

Meditation practices that develop presence
Mindfulness meditation is one practice that can help us develop an awareness of what is happening in the present moment, quieting our thinking, worrying, and other habits of the mind. Tara Brach offers a variety of free meditation sources to help you learn the practice of presence.

Listen to Compass, a bi-monthly podcast with special guests. The focus is on how they are encountering spirituality in surprising ways--like in facing up to their own self-doubt, asking questions, or in hanging out with their kids. Join hosts Pierce and Ryan as they go on a journey to come up with creative answers to the old, old question: "How goes it with your soul?"

Coming up next week: Our vow of Service.