Congregational Care

Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Galations 6:2

First-Centenary United Methodist Church is committed to the well-being of all persons in our church family. It is our desire to share joy with people at their times of celebration and also to support them in their times of greatest need. Congregational Care is supported by a host of volunteers who participate in fulfilling the mandate of "bearing one another's burdens and fulfilling the will of Christ..." as referenced in the New Testament letters of Paul.  It was the church of Galatia that received this specific message that was consistently emphasized by the Apostle Paul to churches everywhere. Paul also emphasized Jesus’ great commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Caring takes on many forms, and listed below are some of the ways in which we serve as a thriving and caring congregation.  If you are interested in receiving or giving care through any of the ministries listed below, please contact Reverend Michelle.


The Memorial Garden is designed to provide a space for the interment of ashes of deceased members of the First-Centenary United Methodist Church family.  In the past, cemeteries were often located on church grounds; it is appropriate that a space of beauty and tranquility be provided for those who prefer burial in the church garden.  The garden serves as a place for rest, meditation, and prayer.


First-Centenary should be notified as soon as possible when a death occurs.  The funeral home should also be notified, so that arrangements for cremation may be made.  The church will furnish an urn and a suitable covering, approved by the Garden Mission, for use during the service.  The burial service may be held in the church, followed by a procession to the Memorial Garden for the committal of the ashes.


The Business Manager is responsible for the administration of the garden and will assign plots based on a grid with numbered spaces. Spaces will be assigned in numerical order at the time of death. Remains will be placed consecutively; no particular place may be reserved.


The name of each person whose ashes are committed in the garden will be inscribed on an individual bronze name plate, along with the year of birth and of death.  This plate will be attached to the large, permanent memorial plaque located on the garden wall.  The names will be listed in chronological order by date of death.  


Landscaping and upkeep of the garden is an ongoing responsibility of the Garden Mission.  The design and planting of the garden will be under the supervision of the Garden Mission.  There will be no individual floral arrangements or other decorations within the garden.  It is anticipated that the garden will be available for interment in perpetuity.  In the event that all plots are used, remains may be reverently interred in previously used spaces, after a period of ten years. The intention is for the interment of ashes in previously used spaces to be in the order in which the spaces were initially used.


All First-Centenary members, past and present, their spouses and children are eligible for interment in the garden. Exceptions will be considered at the discretion of the minister and the Trustees.


The cost for interment only is $600.  The initial deposit is $300, with the balance of $300 due within one year of the deposit. The deposit is payable at the time of application. This cost includes the price of the marker.  The cost of the cremation itself is a separate expense to be determined by a funeral home.  In the event that $600 has been paid and the family decides to make other arrangements, $300 will be returned.  Pre-payment may be made for both options.


Memorial gifts are welcome and may be made to the church at any time.  These funds will be placed in the Memorial Garden Fund, reserved for the maintenance and furnishing of the garden.

Application Procedure

Applications for burial are available in the Church Office or you can click the button below to download and print the application. You must complete the form and turn it in to the Church Office.  You will receive confirmation from the Church Office once your application has been reviewed and accepted. 

Prayer Support

First-Centenary is a praying congregation and our members share their love for Christ and one another through prayer.  Some specific areas of emphasis for covering our church in prayer are listed below:

Prayer Team

A group meets weekly to address the prayer needs of the congregation, the community, and the world. Confidentiality of all prayer requests is always honored.  If you are interested in being in ministry with our prayer team, please contact Rev. Michelle. 

Prayer Chain

Members of the Prayer Chain receive confidential prayer requests each week and pray daily. 

How can we pray for you?

Congregational Care Team

This team includes clergy and laity who care for our congregation in various ways.

The Upper Room Mailings

The Upper Room is a United Methodist publication that includes 2 months of daily devotions. To provide comfort and connection, these publications are mailed to members as needed. 

Hospital visits

Clergy and trained lay persons visit those who are hospitalized and in rehab to provide support and comfort. Confidentiality is always honored.   

Nursing Home/ Assisted Living

Clergy and our faithful volunteers visit our nursing and assisted living congregants.  During the visit we provide Holy Communion, compassionate listening, and faithful friendship. 

Phone Ministry

Volunteers and clergy provide support and care through regular phone calls to our church family as needed. 

Card Care Ministry

To maintain relationships with people in our church family who are over 80 years old, we mail birthday cards and cards of encouragement. 

Annual  70+  Luncheon

To celebrate and honor church family members age 70 and above,we host an annual luncheon. During our fun-filled time together, we reflect on lives well-lived and offer gratitude for each other. 

If any of these outreach ministries would be helpful to you or a loved one,

 please contact Pastor Michelle at or call the church office at (423)756-2021

Bereavement Support

Congregational Care includes care of persons in our church family and their loved ones during loss due to death and bereavement after death. We are dedicated to supportive care for those who are grieving.

We provide a guide to families and individuals that is helpful to use when considering making a plan for this time. Please refer to our Memorial Services and Services of Death and Resurrection guidelines. Clergy are available to counsel with you during your pre-planning efforts.  Please contact the church to speak with our Congregational Care Minister, Rev. Michelle Hunter, or send an email to to set an appointment.

Congregational Care office - 423. 756.2021 ext. 3106

Grief Support


We all face seasons of grief at some point in our lives and First-Centenary is here to aid in getting you through the tough times.  You can find encouragement and help to support you through the death and loss of a variety of relationships. GriefShare is a program delivered through a support group over a specific number of weeks for those who are bereaved.  A group will be planned as interest arises.  Please call Rev. Michelle Hunter if you would like to participate in a group.


Led by Gordon Campbell, this group is designed to support those who are widowed. They meet for 7 consecutive weeks 2 times are year. Please contact the church office for the upcoming meeting dates (423) 756-2021.

The Compassionate Friends

This group provides support for families who have experienced the loss of a child. They meet at First-Centenary the 2nd Sunday of each month at 3pm.

Rev. Michelle Hunter

Minister of Congregational Care

Michelle joined the First-Centenary clergy staff in June of 2022. Reverend Hunter is from Tuscaloosa, Alabama and is a graduate of Memphis Theological Seminary. She is joining us from the Northern Alabama Conference where she is an Ordained Deacon. Michelle has had extensive experience in pastoral care and hospice ministry. Her most recent ministry has been serving as the Chaplain at Hospice of Chattanooga. Michelle has an adult son, Drew, who lives in Auburn, Alabama. Her constant companion, Hamilton, is a 13-year-old Shih Tzu whom she adores.