Saint Mary’s and Community Relations

Fellow Parishioners,

Following all the masses on the weekend of April 14 & 15, there will be information sessions in the Board Room about St. Mary’s participation in the Alliance for Community Transformation-East Tennessee (ACT-East TN)/Strong United. Funded by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, ACT-East TN/Strong United is a multi-cultural, multi-racial multi-denominational group coming together to create community, transform unhealthy, unjust systems, and achieve robust positive change in East Tennessee. As a member organization, all St. Mary’s parishioners are welcome to attend monthly ACT-East TN meetings and participate in leadership-training opportunities.

Please come hear about this exciting community effort and add your voice to the conversation.

​We ​are also excited to ​invit​e you to a free, one-day information-training event at St. Mary’s​ on May 5, 2018​. ​ This will be a great opportunity to learn about this effort to grow an organization of organizations in our community​​. Such an entity will need St. Mary’s participation, and that will require leaders in our parish to understand and support it. ​Joan and Tom attended the ​3-day training ​at The Haley Farm in January ​2017, ​and Darlene attended a one-day training in May 2017. We all found it energizing. We will have details as they become finalized. Please hold open the date, and ​contact us ​if you have any questions.

Yours in Christ,

T​om and Joan Burns, St. Mary’s Community Relations Team
(J​oan 865-621-8461; Tom 865-385-7063)
Darlene Thurman, ACT-East TN/Strong United, Board of Directors
(Darlene 865-456-3443)
A Brief Histor​y​:
Oct.-Nov. 2015 Community Matters listening sessions in Oak Ridge, hosted by St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Oak Valley Baptist Church and O.R. Unitarian Universalist Church
2016-Feb. 2017 Initiative to form a local organization of organizations, aka Strong and United, to help amplify the voices in our community ​for systemic change
Feb. 2017 Three-day training event at Haley Farm attended by over 100​ people from Oak Ridge, Knoxville, Nashville, Chattanooga, Memphis and region
June 2017 Fr. Shelton confirms his support for Strong and United, and asks Tom and Joan Burns to organize St. Mary’s participation
July 2017 Strong and United ​​agrees to affiliate with Alliance for Community Transformation (ACT) of East Tennessee, a regional organization of organizations in Knoxville
Aug. 2017 ACT-East TN/Strong United receives a grant from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Catholic Campaign for Human Development
Oct. 2017 Fr. Tim Sullivan, OCP, Associate Pastor at Immaculate Conception Parish in Knoxville and co-chair of ACT-East TN/Strong United, speaks at St. Mary’s on Catholic social justice teaching
Dec. 2017 St. Mary’s of Oak Ridge joins ACT-East TN/Strong United; membership fee is donated by 8 parish families