HARDIN VALLEY — After a 20-year wait, Hardin Valley is finally getting its own United Methodist Church.
The Rev. John Gargis is pastor of the recently-named Valley Church, which will officially begin with small group meetings in February.
“Our plan is for it to grow organically and allow things to come to us,” Gargis said, adding he expects worship services to begin in an as-yet-to-be determined location — probably by the summer. “This is an exciting time for Hardin Valley, as it is developing its identity — not as Farragut and not as Turkey Creek — and this church will be part of that, too.
“We are also very deliberate about the fact we will be starting worship services — not church — hopefully by May.”
Eventually, plans call for a church to be built on a 20-acre tract of land along Hardin Valley Road that was purchased 20 years ago by the Holston Conference, which oversees more than 1,000 UMC churches in East Tennessee and portions of Southwest Virginia and Georgia.
A proposed offshoot of Cokesbury UMC sprang up in the area about a decade ago, but it did not take permanent root in the community. Then, over the last year, “the Holston Conference revisited the idea and decided it was time to plant a church here,” said Gargis, who noted Concord United Methodist Church offered assistance by voting unanimously to host Gargis in the months leading up to the start-up.
“I wouldn’t be sitting here if it wasn’t for Concord (UMC),” he said, adding he has been “called to do this work.
“It goes back to being lost — I know what that is like. My role is to walk with folks who are going through that, too.”
Gargis said his experience ties into Valley Church’s mission “to draw in people from the community who are not connected. We don’t want to steal from other churches but want to pull in those who are not affiliated with other churches.”
Planners are coming together to create a park-like setting.
“We are planning a greenway, a playground and a public community garden,” Gargis said.
For more information, visit the church’s Facebook page or call 865-310-4783.