Pastoral & Staff Changes

Dear Powell Church Family:

Greetings in the name of Jesus! We hope this letter finds you well. Your Staff Parish Relations Committee would like to take a moment to share with you some pastoral and staff changes at Powell Church. The first change relates to Brooke Hartman’s role. As you are already aware from her April 30th letter, she is beginning medical treatment for cancer and we need to let you know how that will be impacting the pastoral leadership at the church. The second is Brenda Carroll who has decided to step fully into retirement and be present for her family, after a year of serving as the Pastor of the Traditional Worship Service. These two changes are resulting in the appointment of a new part-time pastor, Denna Hornby, and revised duties for Jamie Bauknight.

Thanks for all for the ongoing prayers for Brooke and her family. We want to put Brooke in the best place to successfully battle cancer, therefore, she will begin a leave of absence from her full time role as Associate Pastor beginning  June 1. Brooke, Clay and Jacob will remain connected to the Powell family and will need your prayers and support. We are thankful for Jamie Bauknight. Jamie has been a part of the leadership team in the Recovery ministry from the beginning and will now be leading. Brooke will be involved as she is able during this journey. This should be a smooth transition as Jamie has been an integral part of this service since its inception. Here are some words from Brooke regrading this change:

With gratitude, hope, and sadness, I announce that I am taking a year of medical leave to fight cancer. As we have walked through my diagnosis and treatment plan, several realities have become clear. One, the intensity of the chemo for 6 months, followed by surgery, will limit my ability to perform my full-time responsibilities as a pastor at Powell UMC. Two, over the past month, three priorities have remained clear to me. First, I want to see Jacob grow up. Two, I want to grow old with Clay. Three, I have years of ministry left in me. These priorities existed before cancer, yet cancer has a way of refining perspective. In order to focus on these priorities, the next year must be focused on battling cancer and healing from cancer. 

My family and I will still remain active participants in the life of Powell UMC over the next year. You all are family to us and we need you all in the months to come. Clay and Jacob will be more visible in the months ahead as I stay home as a member of a vulnerable population. I will be present for online worship on Thursdays and Sundays, and I will participate in small groups where I am currently involved. 

The plan that is in place to provide for the areas I oversee is a strong plan. I am grateful to those stepping up into the places where I have served. God has prepared us for a time such as this. We appreciate your continued prayers and support of us. I look forward to seeing how God refines and grows us all through this year. God’s got us all. Nothing is wasted in God’s economy.  

The discipleship ministry that Brooke has overseen, combined with some duties that have been under Jamie’s ministry oversight, will now be led by our new Pastor, Denna Hornby, in her role as Pastor of Discipleship. We are very excited that the process of shepherding and connecting people will now be led Denna. Here is a brief introduction of our new Pastor of Discipleship:

Denna grew up in Corryton, TN and later attended The University of Tennessee in Knoxville. After graduating from UT, she worked as a social worker providing case management for people who suffered from severe and persistent mental illness. This experience was formative for her and is when she first experienced a call to love and serve others. 

She moved to Cookeville, TN in 2001 and was on staff at Cookeville First United Methodist Church for 10 years, first in the music department as a music minister and accompanist. She later served as the Coordinator of Inviting and Sending Ministries which included hospitality ministries and servant ministries. She answered a call to licensed ministry in 2014. Denna is a student at Candler School of Theology at Emory University. She is scheduled to graduate in the Fall semester 2020. Denna has served Cookeville FUMC, Hermitage UMC as Associate Pastor, and she has served as Pastor of Monterey UMC, high atop the Cumberland Plateau in Putnam County. She enjoys sharing her faith with people and helping others encounter Christ along their journey of faith.

Denna is married to Dr. James Hack, who works at Oak Ridge National Lab. She has one son, Luke, who is a Second Lieutenant in the US Army stationed in South Korea. When Denna has free time, she enjoys watching movies and curling up with a good book and her puppy (Bindy), along with a box of chocolates. Denna is very excited to be a part of the team of Powell Church!

Brenda has also written a letter to be shared with you explaining the prayerful path and circumstances that led to her decision. Here is her letter:

Who could have known how radically our lives would change in a matter of months? Most of us, but especially those of us in a high risk group, have been forced to STOP.  All my life, I have gone full steam ahead. Stopping caused me to reflect even more than the naturally reflective person I have always been.  Over and over it became clear to me that I needed to end my time on staff at Powell. The future is so unknown and many decisions will have to be made….trial and error will be common….much grace will be needed. It will take lots of time and energy….and I do not believe I am the one to gear back up. This workaholic has one foot in recovery….have learned a little about stopping….and need to stay in that spiritual place right now. There is life outside of work, which I have doubted for so long. Turns out, I have much to learn about stopping.

I have also struggled with giving my all to both ministry and grand-parenting. After many years in ministry, I have a few left for being the best grandmother I can be. That, it turns out, is my calling for now.

I have grown to love many new friends. Staff and congregation are wonderful, grace filled, and dear. This is a hard decision, but is made after many long, sleepless nights of prayer which resulted over and over with the answer, “It’s time, Brenda, it’s time.”

We find ourselves in the midst of many changes. Our staff team is working diligently in this moment when we are unable to meet in the church building, and plans are being developed for what ministry will look like on Sunday mornings and throughout the week when we are able to resume gatherings at the Church building. Thank you for your love and support as we continue to be the Church! As we prepare for these changes, please join us in a warm virtual welcome for Denna to Powell Church. Denna will begin July 1. And please be sure to wish Brenda and her husband, Larry, well in retirement and fully embracing grandparenthood. Also, continue to faithfully hold Brooke and her family, Clay and Jacob, close in your prayers during this time.

Thank you for being an amazing church who welcomes, loves and serves beyond the walls!

Grace & Peace

Sherry Scircle, Chairman Staff Parish Relations and Brad Hyde, Pastor

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