The two largest United Methodist Churches in the Chattanooga area received new staff appointments earlier this week at the annual meeting of the denomination's Holston Conference at Lake Junaluska, N.C.
The Rev. Mary Carol Austin was appointed minister of missions at Christ UMC, a 4,000-plus member church in East Brainerd. Austin was previously assistant children's ministry director at Christ.
The Rev. Linda I. McDaniel was appointed minister of congregational care, the Rev. David Harr minister of homebound and Chris E. Black student associate pastor at 2,500-member First-Centenary UMC.
McDaniel comes to First-Centenary from Brainerd UMC, where she was associate pastor since 2011. Harr has been minister of congregational care at the church since 1996 and will assume his new position in retirement status. Black is a student at Candler School of Theology in Atlanta.
MORE IN CHATTANOOGA DISTRICT
* Dunlap: Curt McKee replaces Gerald Casson, who was appointed to Wesley Memorial in Johnson City, Tenn. In the Cleveland or Chattanooga districts, McKee previously served as an associate pastor at Wesley Memorial in Cleveland, as pastor at Jones Memorial and at Wesley Memorial in Chattanooga
* Lookout Mountain: Gary R. Ihfe replaces Ambrose E. Havey IV, who retired. Ihfe has been pastor of Austin Springs in the Johnson City District since 2012.
* Looney's Creek-Sulphur Springs: Brenda H. Woods replaces Bryan K. Wyke, who was appointed to Centenary UMC in Morristown, Tenn. She has served the Mascot and Hopewell churches in the Knoxville District since 2005.
* New Salem: Jodie E. Ihfe replaces Mark Kilbourne, who was appointed to Hiltons Memorial UMC in Gate City, Va. Ihfe comes to Chattanooga from the Johnson City District, where she has been associate pastor at Gray UMC since 2008.
* Pleasant Grove: Michael T. King replaces Royce Vickery. King was recently licensed to preach.
* Wesley Memorial: Laurence V. Hesser replaces Curt McKee, who was appointed to Dunlap UMC. Hesser was previously associate pastor at Hixson UMC. He has served Clinton UMC in the Oak Ridge District since 2006.
* White Oak: L. Lyle White replaces Amy C. Whatley, who was appointed to Mount Pleasant UMC in Wytheville, Va. In the Cleveland District, White served the Chestuee and Sugar Creek churches 1993-1996, the Ducktown and Crofts Chapel churches 1996-1998 and the Big Spring and Valley Head churches 2008-2013.
In addition to Harr, other Chattanooga District-related pastors who retired this year are Ambrose E. Havey IV, who had served as associate pastor at Keith Memorial UMC in Athens and pastor at the Ducktown and Crofts Chapel churches and the Evensville and New Bethel churches, all in the Cleveland District, and as pastor at Lookout Mountain in the Chattanooga District. Also retired is Laura Jean Myers-Ross, who had served as associate pastor at Brainerd UMC and pastor at New Salem and at McFarland, all in the Chattanooga District.
IN THE CLEVELAND DISTRICT
* Big Spring-Valley Head: Ray E. Petty Jr. replaces L. Lyle White. Petty previously served the George Street and Grant churches in the Maryville District.
* Ducktown-Croft Chapel: Robert W. Biberstone replaces Robert E. Hamilton.
* Englewood-Pleasant Grove: V. Richard Tallent. He had been pastor since 2008 of a two-church parish with Engelwood and Mars Hall. Pleasant Grove was formerly in a two-church parish with Wesley Memorial of Etowah.
* First, Cleveland: Timothy B. Bracken replaces Tom Seay, who was appointed to First UMC in Knoxville; Bracken has been pastor at First UMC in Johnson City, Tenn., since 2006.
* First, Dayton: T.J. Burdine, associate pastor. He has been pastor of Pactolus UMC in the Kingsport District since 2010.
* Keith Memorial: Ty Harrison replaces Dennie Humphreys, who was appointed to Christ UMC in Knoxville. Harrison previously was senior pastor at First UMC in Hillsville, Va.
* Mars Hill-Piney Grove: L. Gayle Crabtree. She was pastor for the past year of a two-church parish with Piney Grove and Riceville. Mars Hills was formerly in a two-church parish with Engelwood. Riceville has been discontinued as a church.
* Mountain View: Chadwick J.W. Holtz replaces James H. Purser. Holtz was previously a pastor in the North Carolina Conference.
* Ooltewah: Dwight S. Kilborne replaces interim pastor Richard Edwards, who was appointed to First UMC in Oak Ridge, Tenn. Kilbourne previously was senior pastor at First UMC in Alcoa. In the Cleveland District, he has served at Apison UMC. In the Chattanooga District, he has served as senior pastor at Burks and First-Centenary.
* Red Hill-Sugar Creek: Terril D. Littrell replaces Terry Benetto. In the Cleveland District, Littrell had been pastor of the Evensville and New Bethel churches. In the Chattanooga District, he had been pastor at Ridgedale and at St. Elmo.
* Riverstone: Melissa R. Smith replaces Timothy B. Paul, who was appointed to Second UMC in Knoxville. Smith previously has been associate pastor at Fountain City UMC in Knoxville since 2003.
* St. Paul's-Carlock: Danielle A. Jenkins replaces Jason Crandall, who was appointed to the Belfast and Midway churches in the Tazewell, Va., District. Jenkins has been pastor of the Pisgah and Pleasant Hill churches in the Tazeville District since 2011.
* Sale Creek: Cecil J. Baxter replaces Damon Mitchell. Baxter served a number of churches in the conference between 1980 and 1999.
* Tasso-Charleston: Mark Barber replaces Richard Hayes. In the Cleveland District, Barber had previously served the Mount Zion and Eastview churches, the Chestuee and Sugar Creek churches, the South Cleveland and Black Fox churches and the Mount Zion and Savannah churches. Most recently, he was pastor of the Hills Union Circuit of four churches in the Morristown District.
* Wesley Memorial, Cleveland: Ramon D. Torres III replaces Robert L. Smith, who was appointed to First UMC in Hillsville, Va. In the Cleveland District, Torres previously was pastor of Ooltewah UMC.
* Wesley Memorial, Etowah: P. Aaron Pierce. He was pastor in the past year of the two-church parish that included Wesley Memorial and Pleasant Grove.
Cleveland District retirees include W. Michael Ogle, who served Englewood and the Decatur and Concord churches in the Cleveland District, and St. Andrews and St. Mark's in the Chattanooga District, and James H. Purser, who had served the Mountain View and New Providence churches as associate and senior pastor since 1993.