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Tri-Cities Episcopal churches host diocese’s 30th convention

Staff Report • Feb 5, 2014 at 9:35 AM

KNOXVILLE — “Proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom!” is the theme of the 30th Annual Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of East Tennessee, to be held Friday, Feb. 7, and Saturday, Feb. 8.

It will be hosted by three churches in the Tri-Cities area. The convention co-chairs are the Rev. Hal Hutchison, St. John, Johnson City; the Rev. Harry Shaffer, St. Thomas, Elizabethton and the Rev. Canon Matthew Moore, St. Columba, Bristol. The event will be held at the Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park in Knoxville, and will be kicked off by a greeting and welcome by Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett.

Keynote speaker Tom Boomershine will make “Proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom” his focus throughout the convention. Boomershine is an internationally known speaker and author in the interpretation of the narratives of the Bible as oral story in antiquity and in the communication systems of the digital age.

The Rt. Rev. George D. Young III, fourth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of East Tennessee, will address the convention Friday. Workshops will focus on biblical storytelling, contemporary music and worship, and social media.

Convention participants will elect leaders, including deputies to The Episcopal Church’s 2015 General Convention, consider proposed resolutions and pass an annual budget.

The ETSU Bluegrass Pride Band will be featured at the Friday night banquet, which also features awarding of prizes for the winners of the third Annual Juried Diocesan Photography Competition and Exhibit. The competition and exhibit recognizes the ministry of photography and has entrants from throughout the entire East Tennessee region. The competition’s juror is Sarah Adams, a Knoxville freelance photographer, whose work is currently featured at Style of Civilization, Knoxville.

A highlight of the convention will be a festive procession through downtown Knoxville following the close of business sessions on Saturday to the convention’s closing worship service at St. John’s Cathedral.The procession will be led by two bishops: the Rt. Rev. George D. Young III and special convention guest, the Rt. Rev. John Tarrant, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of South Dakota.

The bishops will lead the procession of convention participants carrying the banners of the Episcopal churches in East Tennessee, along with crucifers, acolytes and incense bearers about four blocks starting at Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park to St. John’s Cathedral at 413 Cumberland Ave., Knoxville.

Tarrant will preach at the meditative service at the cathedral that will start around noon, immediately following the procession. The public is invited to participate in worship at the cathedral.

The annual diocesan convention, required by church canons (laws) to conduct the business of the church in this region, is also an opportunity to gather clergy and laity from the diocese’s 45 churches and five worshiping communities to celebrate, inspire and equip participants for their church ministries.

The convention launches at 10 a.m., Friday and runs through early Saturday afternoon.

The Episcopal Church in East Tennessee encompasses an area of approximately 14,350 square miles. The diocese is composed of 45 congregations and five worshiping communities servicing nearly 16,000 active members in 34 counties in East Tennessee and three counties in North Georgia with the Cumberland Plateau as the western border.

The population of the diocese is concentrated in the major metropolitan areas: Chattanooga, Knoxville and the Tri-Cities area, which includes Kingsport, Bristol and Johnson City.

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