The Gospel train was well on its way Sunday as All Saints’ Episcopal Church celebrated its 50th year anniversary as a parish.
The Rev. Brian Cole, bishop of the East Tennessee Diocese, served as celebrant and guest speaker.
During his sermon, he referenced the repeated rumble of the train tracks behind the church and proclaimed the train that rolls by during service will be called the “Gospel train.”
In the middle of the sermon, a train came through.
“I love that train,” he said.
The crowd erupted in laughter.
The church was standing room only as parishioners from the 8:30 a.m. service came to the 10:30 a.m. service. The Rev. Mark Holland, rector for the church, thanked those from the early morning service.
“I want to thank you for giving up your regular pew seat,” he said, once again the church roared in laughter.
Cole referenced in his sermon how many Episcopal churches take the names of saints then lead the congregation behind the image of that saint. St. Francis Church in Chattanooga is known for its welfare of animals. St. Paul in Chattanooga is known for its missionary work.
All Saints’ though is different.
“You took all of them,” Cole said.
The church has a longer history than 50 years in Morristown, first starting out in the early 1900s. The church faced many obstacles throughout its history, but became its own parish in 1969. Since that time, All Saints’ Episcopal Church has had 14 rectors. Many of the old rectors were on hand Sunday to celebrate the half century mark.
The service also saw baptisms, confirmations and receiving of new members. The church also had a luncheon afteward with All Saints’ barbecue.
Several people honored at the event.
R. Jack Fishman, president of Lakeway Publishers and a member of the church, was honored as he retired as lay Eucharistic minister.
Other parishioners recognized were Lena Giles, retiring after 50 years on the aleter guild, Skeeter Jernigan, whose served as treasurer for several years and Lynne Ann Anderson, who has been parish administrator for 32 years.
Anderson received a standing ovation as she came to get her award for being the longest serving staff member in the church’s history.
Members of the church have been donating items to put in a time capsule that will be opened 50 years from now.
The time capsule will be buried later this week on the church grounds.
Cole mentioned this in his sermon. Saying some in the congregation will be here to see that day.
“I’ve been working out,” Cole said. “I’ve been eating right. But, I won’t be your bishop.”