St. Thomas summer celebration will include bluegrass and visit from bishop

Published 3:43 pm Thursday, June 16, 2022

St. Thomas Episcopal Church, located in Old Town, will receive a visit Sunday from the Bishop of East Tennessee, Brian Cole, at the 11 a.m. service. The service will feature some bluegrass music as the congregation will sing “Keep On the Sunny Side,” the beloved, old Carter Family hymn.
The hymn will be led by the children and young people of the church.
St. Thomas since 1942 hosts a traditional membership in its historic surroundings. Appalachian music has been more fully welcomed throughout its worship and celebrations in recent years.
“How can a church love, be loved, appreciate and welcome our neighbors if we cannot celebrate the beautiful spirit of our home of Appalachia as celebrated in our music and traditions?” asked Father Timothy Holder, pastor of St. Thomas.
The church also hosts a growing number of Latinx families from across Carter, Johnson, Unicoi, and Washington counties in Northeast Tennessee. “The church of today and the future is here,” preaches Father Holder, whose family has lived here for 10 generations.
St. Thomas is also home to the “Doe River Ensemble,” the parish’s bluegrass music group. Who is the Doe River ensemble? “Whoever shows up!” the pastor exclaimed. “So everybody bring their fiddles, guitars, mandolin, and singing voices ready to spread a little Appalachian sunshine Sunday morning from this beautiful home of the faith,” Holder said.
Children and young people, especially, are invited to join in music, song, and instrument Sunday morning at St. Thomas by arriving by 10:30 a.m. for tune-up and meeting.
The church is located at 815 East 2nd Avenue in Elizabethton’s Historic District.

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