Kern United Methodist presents The Shine Effect in concert Sunday

The Shine Effect


Kern United Methodist Church presents Christian rock band The Shine Effect in concert on Sunday.

The concert starts at 5 p.m. Sunday, September 20, during reViVe@5. It’s a free all-ages concert.

Organizers said child care will be provided for kids under age 4. Light snacks will be provided.

Find out more at [Read more…]

Yoga, Christian contemplation offered at FUMC

First United Methodist Church of Oak Ridge

The First United Methodist Church of Oak Ridge is pictured above. (Photo by First United Methodist Church)



For some yoga and prayer go well together because they experience yoga as a way to pray with the body, uniting body, mind, and spirit. For others, yoga, with its careful use of breathing and postures, serves to quiet and focus the mind, thus beautifully preparing us for prayer. First United Methodist Church of Oak Ridge, 1350 Oak Ridge Turnpike, will again be offering classes which combine yoga and Christian prayer. The classes will be led by professional yoga instructors and the Rev. Jenny Caughman.

In these classes, we will practice yoga with conscious awareness of God’s constant presence with us. Yoga can be used to open ourselves up to the spirit. In the words of Fr. Thomas Ryan, when practicing yoga “one creates an atmosphere of calm, peace, and silence without and within, establishing a harmony between body and spirit so that nothing hinders the working of grace, the Holy Spirit. The aim is to bring tranquility to one’s mind from anxieties and problems; and to render it available to the Spirit.” This class will seek to make us increasingly open to the Spirit by integrating Christian contemplative prayer with the practice of yoga. [Read more…]

Clinton Church of Christ has ‘A Backyard Adventure’ VBS this week

Clinton Church of Christ has its 2015 Vacation Bible School “A Backyard Adventure” this week.

There will be classes for all children’s ages—newborns through high school, a press release said. Adult class sessions will feature a different speaker each night.

The VBS started Sunday evening. It continues Monday-Thursday from 7-9 p.m. The children will begin each night with singing, go to their classes for the Bible lesson, and then gather again for snacks and a trip to the Puppet Theater, the release said. The evening will end with a craft back in their classrooms, games, and then some more singing.

“Please join us if you are able!” the release said.

See this flyer for more information: VBS2015flyer.


New Life Church has free Backyard Vacation Bible School this weekend

New Life Church of the Nazarene will be hosting a Backyard Vacation Bible School free to the community on Friday, July 17, from 5-7 p.m. and then Saturday, July 18, from 9-11 a.m. at Cedar Hill Park.

“Come and join us for a bible story, snack, games, and crafts!” organizers said. “Then, on Sunday, July 19, at 12:30 p.m., we will be hosting a party in the parking lot for the community to come out and enjoy some bounce houses and slides, a hot dog lunch, and fun and fellowship for all!

“Come and join us this weekend at Cedar Hill Park and then at New Life Church of the Nazarene at 200 Lafayette Drive in Oak Ridge.”

If you have any questions, you can call the church at (865) 964-0665.

Opposing views on gay marriage: ‘Equality’ and ‘biblical values’

Melanie Heiberg

Oak Ridge resident Melanie Heiberg organized a celebration at Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church on Friday, June 26, after a 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court decision made gay marriage legal in all 50 states. “This is about equality,” Heiberg said.


Note: This story was updated at 11 a.m.

There was a range of reactions in Oak Ridge and across the state this week after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision on Friday, June 26, that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage. That decision made gay marriage legal in all 50 states.

Some said the decision made them proud to be Americans, while others worried about whether the country is straying from biblical values.

Melanie Heiberg and others celebrated the decision at the Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church last Friday. Heiberg said she was raised by two dads—her father and his partner—when she was in high school.

“This is about equality,” Helberg said. “Everyone is as important as the next person.” [Read more…]

No same-sex marriage licenses issued in Anderson County yet

Jeff Cole

Jeff Cole

Note: This story was updated at 4:51 p.m.

The Anderson County Clerk received a few inquiries after the U.S. Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage on Friday, but the office hasn’t issued any licenses yet, an official said Saturday.

Tennessee officials had prepared county clerks for the landmark 5-4 decision. An email from the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office advised county clerks that Friday’s ruling made it legal for same-sex couples to marry. County clerks in the state’s 95 counties were advised to comply promptly, and implementing the federal court’s decision began immediately.

Anderson County Clerk Jeff Cole said residents could get same-sex marriage licenses starting at about 1 p.m. Friday (June 26), after county clerks received guidance on the issue.

“We had a few phone calls, but we didn’t issue any licenses yesterday,” Cole said Saturday. [Read more…]

Local church makes plans for same-sex weddings after expected Supreme Court decision

Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church

The U.S. Supreme Court will soon rule on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage, and Tennessee residents and state government officials are waiting to see how the Court’s decision will affect the state’s policy. In the midst of the wait, Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church has begun making plans, a press release said.

“In keeping with our beliefs and to offer a sense of love and support to same-sex couples, ORUUC will offer free wedding services and a reception for same-sex couples as soon as the County Clerks’ offices are able to issue licenses,” ORUUC minister Reverend Jake Morrill said in the release. “Those who plan to marry should call the church office to request a time to speak with one of our ministers prior to the wedding day.”

“In the Book of Ruth, when Ruth tells Naomi, ‘Where you go, I will go; your people will be my people,’ people don’t get caught up with the gender,” said ORUUC Minister of Faith Formation Reverend Tandy Scheffler. “What they hear is love. What counts in this life is love. And at ORUUC, we are ready to bless public commitments of love between couples who’ve waited too long for the rights and honor denied to their families.” [Read more…]

High Places Church gearing up for summer camps, more


Continuing to build on traditions spanning nearly 50 years, High Places Community Church is making preparations for both their Children’s “Mountain Movers” Kid Camp and the annual “Off The Wall” Youth Camp at Big Ridge State Park.

Kid Camp will be held during the evenings of June 22-25, Monday through Thursday, from 5:30 until 8 p.m., in and around the location of their church home, Grove Theater, located at 123 Randolph Road in Oak Ridge.

Pursuing a theme entitled “SEE GOD,” children ages 4 through upcoming grade 5 and grouped by age, will spend their evenings exploring evidences of God’s presence in the earth, water, wind, and fire. In this case, “seeing will be believing” in the sense that God can and will help us to see when we open our minds to the everyday wonders which are always on display in our world. Monday, the group will take a hike from The Grove to A.K. Bissell Park for their fun-filled explorations. [Read more…]

Free Block Party, Vacation Bible School at Central Baptist this weekend

Central Baptist Church of Oak Ridge

There will be a free Block Party at Central Baptist Church in Oak Ridge on Saturday. Food, games blow-ups, and music will be provided, a press release said.

The Block Party is from 4-6 p.m. Saturday, June 6.

Central Baptist Church is located at 130 Providence Road.

Vacation Bible School will begin Sunday, June 7, from 6-8:45 p.m. and continue through Thursday, June 11. Classes will be held for all ages, nursery-adults. There will also be an adult Spanish speaking class.

Call (865) 483-7495 for more information or visit

ORUUC free community meal is Friday

The Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church is inviting everyone to a free community meal on Friday, May 29.

The Stone Soup Ministry team will be serving a homemade meal of meatball and spaghetti soup, garlic bread, lemon bars, and fruit. Dine-in or take-out will be available in the ORUUC Social Hall from 5 to 6 p.m. The church is located at 809 Oak Ridge Turnpike in Oak Ridge.

Some nonperishable family friendly groceries will be available for free to anyone in need, a press release said. [Read more…]

Anderson County hosts National Day of Prayer at Courthouse on Thursday

Anderson County Courthouse

Anderson County will participate in the National Day of Prayer on Thursday, May 7. It’s scheduled from noon to 12:30 p.m. Thursday on the front steps of the Anderson County Courthouse on North Main Street in Clinton.

The Anderson County Mayor’s Office said the Courthouse will remain open but with limited staff during the ceremony, and officials ask residents to be patient if they have business to conduct. All Anderson County citizens are invited to attend the local ceremony, a press release said. Prayers will be offered for county officials, the nation, education, the U.S. military, community relationships, and churches and families, the release said. Local pastors will lead those assembled in prayer, and local residents and students will provide musical selections.

The press release said the National Day of Prayer provides Americans an opportunity to come together to pray for matters concerning present-day America and the nation’s future.

Guest column: Imperial religion has no place in the Kingdom of God

Preparing for the greatest day of the year, Easter, was a bit harder this year than last. On Thursday, the night we remember how Jesus was betrayed and handed over to both the religious and political empires of his day, I happened to read of the new bill that seeks to designate the Bible as the state book of Tennessee.

There are a ton of ways to scream “no” to this legislation, starting with the both the Tennessee Constitution and the United States Constitution. There is also the objection that the bill places the transcendental and eternal qualities of the Bible on the same footing as the lily (our state flower) or the raccoon (our state animal). Of course, then there’s just downright common sense: The laws I use to influence my neighbor’s religion (or lack of) can easily be the same laws by which my neighbor one day attempts to subjugate me.

Those are fine ways to oppose this bill, but they are of lesser concern to me as a Christian pastor of 25 years. I am most deeply concerned at the way in which an action like this stands in stark opposition to the actions and words of the Bible itself, most especially as revealed in the person of Jesus. [Read more…]