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Dear Church Family,               

A happy New Year to each and every one of you! May 2016 prove to be the year in which we each grow more in Christ than any other year we have known. What better target could there be? What would honor Him more?
We, of course, are going to start this year off in the very best fashion that I can think of. Tonight at 7:00 p.m. we are going to participate in a quiet, meaningful and intimate Communion Service.
Not knowing how many will attend we may have to adjust right at 7:00 p.m. to accommodate the numbers. That's o.k. We can go with the flow.
I do trust/hope that many of you will want to be part of this wonderful inauguration of this uncharted year.
Tomorrow our services will run according to the norm. Sabbath School will begin across the campus at 9:30 and we'll head toward worship right at 11:00.
Part of the worship will be the privilege that we'll have to witness Allyson Carithers' baptism! This will be a sweet beginning to the year and I'm so grateful that Pastor Andrew is going to lead out in this. I'm even more grateful for the dedication that Heather Shurtliff has had in helping Allison get ready for this big step.
We have a big "thank you" to send out. When you come to the church property you will notice that a ton of leaves and miscellaneous trimmings are now gone. We owe gratitude for this wonderful improvement to our grounds to Bryan and Tim Arner.  They worked hard at this for us.  Thank you!
I was contacted by a member who has come into possession of about 30 books, basically all publications of our denomination and a lot of them being Spirit of Prophecy volumes. They'd be more than happy to share these if anyone knows they could use them.
Please feel free to let me know of your interest and I'll pass the word along.
The leadership group (from the Elders, Deacons and Deaconesses) that got together on Tuesday night had a very productive time. They have asked (and I have already gotten the word out to those to be involved) that we have a gathering early very early in the year for mutual visioning and coordination from the leaders of all our areas of ministry.
So, I'd ask all to pray for the meeting planned for just over a week from now. (As I said, those who are "Department" or ministry heads and all of our elders have already been contacted.) This could be a very blessed time of mutuality and resolution for us.
Let me close with very, very good news. I just got word from our Treasurer, Betty Vence, that she has processed all but the very "last-minute" online giving donations for our church family budget and this church family is to be commended. This may yet improve but we know that we have ended 2015 more than $7,000 above what your Finance Committee budgeted for ministries and operating expenses!
Magnificent! May Heaven bless each and every generous soul!
That's it for now. I pray for the best of blessings in 2016 for each and every one of you. That may not mean prosperity in the traditionally expected sense because John gave us the correct priority- "Brethren, I pray that each of you would prosper EVEN AS YOUR SOUL prospers."  (III John 1:2)
We pray for your soul's prosperity in 2016. A good start on that could be at Communion tonight at 7:00 p.m. I hope to see you there.

'Lord Bless',

Don Pate
Knoxville First Church