First Catholic Church Constructed in Union County

Catholic Church in Union County Tennessee

In August of 2011, Glenmary Home Missioners formed the first Catholic Church in Union County, Tennessee. As a part of this formation, local Catholics would gather at the Senior Center with the first mass being held under a carport, being a “bring your own chair” event with twenty-six people in attendance. The group began to search for a rental location to house their church, meanwhile the first Sunday Mass was held in October 2011 at Miller’s Chapel United Methodist Church. Masses were held there for the month of October while the storefront property on Maynardville Highway was renovated. The first mass in this facility was held on the Feast Day of All Saints, November 1, 2011. On December 12, of the same year, the first Mass in Spanish was held along with weekly Spanish Masses beginning on the first Sunday of January 2012 with twelve people in attendance.

Growth during the first year of existence was rapid with the formation of a parish and financial councils and a vibrant faith formation program. During 2014, discussion of a permanent church began and a building fund was established. A year later, the community was elevated from a mission church to a parish by Bishop Stika. The Catholic Foundation of East Tennessee purchased land on behalf of the St. Teresa of Kolkata Catholic Community later that year. A major milestone was completed in a short time. During this time, the rental space was used at maximum. Architects were then hired to create a master plan which was approved by the Bishop in 2016, and the architectural plan for the first permanent Catholic Church in Union County was completed.

In September 2016, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta was declared a Saint and the church officially became St. Teresa of Kolkata Catholic Church. Besides these steps of physical growth, the church has been engaged in a variety of community, social, and outreach programs over the years. Many folks have received their sacraments, from baptisms, first communion, confirmations to weddings, as well as several funerals, with growth in faith formation programs every year.

Construction of the new church was not only exciting for church members, but also to the community. The structure is located across the highway from Union County High School and has a great beauty to those passing by. As the construction phase nears, each delicate finishing touch adds beauty and respect.

Upon entering the church, there will be a statue that was obtained from the old St. Mary’s hospital that has recently closed. The statue of Jesus Christ with his arms raised will be a symbol or greeting upon entry with a portrayal that “You are loved by God.” As spectators enter the double doors at the front of the church, their first steps are into the foyer designed with high ceilings and cutouts overhead to display patron saints. Patron saints, in a sense, represent friends in Heaven that can be asked to console us in prayer. All Patron Saints are models for Christian living and have been assigned different roles. The statues may rotate as time passes to represent different folks.

The new facility seats 250 attendees. Many pieces throughout the structure have a past representation elsewhere. For instance, the flooring used in the sanctuary a was retrieved as pews from the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Knoxville. Brother Joe Stein whom is a full-time missioner, is the craftsman behind this transformation of the 100-year-old planks. The floor was the last major project before completion of the church building itself. Outside, a mobile unit is being transformed into classrooms and an office with the addition of a deck.

All work has been donated labor from the parishioners. A grant from the St. Mary’s legacy foundation has paid for the materials to complete the office. There has been a combination of work from subcontractors and general contractors, three of them being parishioners (brick layers, framers, and siding). The floor was done by the parishioners as volunteers. The Queen of Peace Church of Cincinnati came down with other churches for three different weeks and assisted with framing and other work that needed completing.

All the inside finishing has been the work of the parishioners which is how they have been able to help keep the cost down. It has been a more expensive project than originally thought; however, it seems that most construction from the ground up does have that affect. In the future, the church hopes to have a bell tower, but that is another extremely expensive item that will be a project for later along with the paving for the parking area. Some paving and cement has been completed to meet the qualifications for fire code and compliant parking.

Local Boy Scouts plan to create a nature trail. Also, there will be a playground, and the youth want to put in a nine-hole Frisbee disc golf. The nature trail, disc golf, playground, and eventually, in the long-range plan, a soccer/sports field will all be welcoming to the community.

The official blessing of the church was held February 2, 2019, being the first time the church was officially in use. The St. Teresa of Kolkata Catholic Church welcomes the public to enjoy their facility as a part of the community. Father Steve Pawelk says, “We want people to feel at home here and for them to feel that this is a part of their community. We have created something beautiful for the community to be proud of.”

Services will be held on Sundays with 9am being English and 11am Spanish, and Wednesdays with bilingual at 6:30 followed by k-adult services including English and Spanish in the adult classes.

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Obituary

Merlin Rose Johnson

Merlin Rose Johnson, age 82, of Andersonville, formerly of Knoxville, passed away July 17, 2019. She enjoyed her career in nursing at Ft. Sanders Regional Hospital and attending gospel singings. She was a wonderful cook, and spent much time in the kitchen preparing meals. She was preceded in death by her father Ed Miller and husband Virgil Johnson.

Robert L. "Speedy" Dyer

Robert L. (Speedy) Dyer-age 65 of Corryton went to be with the Lord Monday, July 1, 2019 at his home. He was a member of Corryton Church and was a retired employee of Tomcat USA. Preceded in death by his wife, Sally; father, Robert (Bob) Dyer; mother and step-father, Jean and Bill Danley.

Jerry Lynn Hubbs, Jr.

Jerry Lynn Hubbs, Jr.-age 46 of Knoxville passed away Thursday, July 11, 2019 at his home following a brief battle with cancer. He was a member of Fairview Baptist Church, Luttrell. Preceded in death by father, Jerry Lynn Hubbs, Sr.; mother, Joyce Bailey Cline; grandparents, Frank and Mary Bailey; granddaughter, Riley Hubbs.

Reverend Luther Cox

Reverend Luther Vineyard Cox – age 93 of Maynardville, went home to be with the Lord on Wednesday, July 10, 2019 peacefully at home with his family by his side. He was a lifelong member and former pastor of Cedar Grove Missionary Baptist Church. Luther was retired from Dempster Brothers and was a United States Army Veteran serving in World II.

Lowell Edward George Sr.

Lowell Edward George, Sr., age 81 of Knoxville went home to be with the Lord on Friday, July 5, 2019 at 11:05 am with his family surrounding him. He was a longtime member of Central Baptist Church, Fountain City and lifelong resident of Knoxville. He was greatly loved by his family and all who knew him and was a father figure to many. Lowell is preceded in death by mother and father Eva and Tom Newberry.

Samuel Earl Hampton

Samuel “Sam” E. Hampton, age 70, formerly of Beckley, WV, passed away peacefully at home in Knoxville, TN on Thursday, July 4, 2019. He loved football and was an avid fan of the Cleveland Browns. He was also a lover of animals.
Survived by his wife of 46 years, Sharron Hampton and daughter Jennifer and her husband John Morris.
A service will be held at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, July 7, 2019 at Mynatt Funeral Home Fountain City Chapel with Minister Brad Hood officiating.

Clarence Henegar

Clarence Henegar, age 85, lifelong resident of Knoxville, went to be with the Lord on July 3, 2019. He was a member of Salem Baptist Church for 50 years, and served as a deacon for 40 years. He was a graduate of Central High School, and went on to graduate from Cooper Institute. He retired from the U.S. Postal Service after 32 years of service. In his younger years he enjoyed bowling, and was an avid golfer. He was very well known in the dancing community. As a young man he enjoyed square dancing, and in later years, ballroom and country dancing.

Donald L. Fowler

Donald L. Fowler, age 80, of Knoxville passed away Tuesday, July 2, 2019. He enjoyed spending time with his family and eating out. He is preceded in death by wife of 26 years Carol Fowler, parents; Hugh & Hester Fowler, brothers; Albert, Billy, Glenn and James, and by dog Peanut. He is survived by son Keith Fowler, brother Wilbur Fowler of Springfield, Tennessee and many nieces and nephews. The family will receive friends from 2:00pm-4:00pm on Saturday, July 6, 2019 at Grove Heights Baptist Church (818 Frank Street Knoxville, TN). A service will follow at 4:00pm with Rev.

Lois Lee

Lois Ann Lee – age 67 of Maynardville, went to be with the Lord on July 2, 2019.

She is preceded in death by her husband, Wayne Lee; parents, Clarence and Dorothy Effler; sister, Linda Sexton; brothers, Bobby and Charlie Effler. Lois is survived by her daughter, Sheila (Kenneth) Lawler; son, Bobby (Tammy) Tharp; several grandchildren and great grandchildren; sisters, Emma (Bill) Collins, Karen (Randy) Chamberlain and Gerri (Mark) Ford; brother, Sandy (Peggy) Effler; and a host of loving nieces and nephews and other family members.

Mickie D. Faulkner

Mickie D. Faulkner-age 43 of Corryton passed away Tuesday morning, July 2, 2019 at her home with her family by her side. She was a member of True Life Ministries Church. She was a loving and selfless person who loved to make others smile and be happy. She was preceded in death by father, George Lee Poindexter; mother, Anna B. Collins; sister, Lisa Poindexter.

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