We moved to Knoxville during the 2020 shutdown and searched for a new church mostly via online settings until everyone in our household was vaccinated from COVID-19. One word I was really searching for in a church was peace. I googled Knoxville churches with the word peace and All-Souls was at the top and we started exploring it online and then we started attending in person while we were at The Point. We were in the first Pilgrimage group in the new building.
Consensual orthodoxy is what we were looking for. We were feeling more and more uncomfortable in the wider American Christian culture as so many topics became political and polarizing. We didn’t need to be in community with a group that believes every social application of the Gospel that we believe, we just needed to believe the same core things about God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, the resurrection and the church. It’s the straightforward and ancient Apostle’s Creed that we could easily agree to in faith. The Creed is rich and deep but also thankfully leaves out the baggage that American cultural Christianity often requires for relationships. With that common bond of true Biblical orthodoxy, we can be confident in the church’s direction, preaching, and ministry because its rooted in Christ, but also we have the comfort that we don’t have to hide or be in constant conflict outside of those issues like we have to in many other Christian settings (including my former career in Christian Education). I am seeing modeled at All-Soul’s how to disagree on minor issues with grace and how much easier that is when everyone leaves contempt for one another behind and agrees that minor things are minor things or at the very least recognizes that our individual interpretations of Scripture are not what is inerrant.
Together we helped lead a small group last Spring and hope to continue this fall. Individually, Jeremy attends a Friday men’s Bible study and will be teaching this fall at the church. Laurie desires to continue serving in the nursery. Our high school-aged daughter also serves in children’s ministry.
Though only in Knoxville since 2020 we have both been serving the communities, we live in through education for over a decade. How that looks is changing for us as Laurie starts a new job teaching at Emerald Charter Schools this Fall, and Jeremy has moved out of Christian Education to a new career that should open up more opportunities.
All Souls is a warm community of people who have trusted in Jesus. Jesus is woven through the services. It is a safe place to express doubts, deconstruction, or differing social applications to the Gospel while not forsaking orthodoxy. It is a great place to make friends. Join a Pilgrimage Group as that will inevitably lead to relationships or invites to events/studies/small groups that will lead to relationships!