Intro: Food and faith in Holston Conference

I love working with food. I love to read recipes, plan meals and parties, cook and create, and set a table. I love seeing people come together at the table, to enjoy each other as they enjoy the edible gifts prepared for them. I even like cleaning up when the feast is over!

I’m sure my love of cooking, feeding, and hospitality has some roots in the 1980s, when I worked at my first full-time editorial job — at a food magazine in New York City. But really, I’ve always loved cooking for family and friends (and being a guest at someone else’s table!). In recent years, I’ve felt a strong desire to connect my love for food and table with my faith … and quickly, I began to understand I am not the first person to do that.

It’s positively exhilarating to see, experience and write about the food-related ministries in Holston Conference. It’s exciting to think about how Jesus did a lot of his ministry at a table with his disciples and with new people. As we watch our denomination struggle and contemplate a different future than what we’ve known, I wonder if it wouldn’t do us all good to just cook each other delicious food and sit down and enjoy it together. I see so much hope in a bountiful table.

“Dinner Party” is a monthly meal at Norwood United Methodist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee.

My name is Annette Spence (that’s me in the picture above, with the fruit). I’ve been editor in Holston Conference for 19 years now. The Holston Conference includes 864 United Methodist congregations in East Tennessee, Southwest Virginia, and North Georgia. When I started this job, The Call was a newspaper. Over the years, it’s evolved into an online publication with related social media.

I never thought I would work almost 20 years for anybody, let alone the church. But I have to admit I’m proud to be connected to The Call and proud that it’s become more than a job. It’s on the way to becoming a lifetime ministry for me.

So now, we bring you “The Call to Cook,” a new blog that will feature personal encounters with food ministries throughout Holston but also, my own food ministry which I will share with you. I’m grateful to my husband, Michael Feely, and my boss, Tim Jones, who are always so encouraging and who push me to get out of my comfort zone to try new things. This is going to be so much fun!

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2 thoughts on “Intro: Food and faith in Holston Conference

Add yours

  1. Hi Annette,
    I am teaching a course this fall at Tennessee Wesleyan on Faith and Food! We will look at historic Judeo-Christian uses of food from biblical times forward, issues of food production, distribution, hunger, and nutrition in the present, and the role of food in church life, with particular attention to our Southern cultural context. I will look forward to reading your blog.
    William McDonald
    Professor of Religion
    Tennessee Wesleyan University


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