New Pleasant Hill Community Church, United Church of Christ minister Joylynn Graham says her ministry is one of love.

Pleasant Hill Community Church, United Church of Christ, has called the Rev. Joylynn Graham as its minister beginning Jan. 16.

Graham says she initially was attracted by location — close to grandchildren in Knoxville — but she is coming because of love.

“Mine is a ministry of love,” she said. “I knew immediately that this was where I was meant to be.

“Within this community are people who have been all over the world trying to make it a better place,” Graham added. “There is a commitment to community, and to following in the footsteps of Christ, as well as a commitment to the global community, the earth, and all its creatures. There is a passion for justice and mercy and healing, and all of it is grounded in love.”

Graham graduated from Eden Seminary in 2014 and has since been serving as pastor of Plymouth Congregation UCC Dodgeville in rural Wisconsin.

She is a lifelong student of Scripture and church history.

“There is nothing I love more than a good group discussion about matters of faith,” Graham said. “Church history informs who we are today as Christians. It is instructive in understanding different viewpoints within Christianity.”

Congregation members are thrilled to welcome their new minister.

“The excitement that was expressed on Oct. 23, when Rev. Graham led worship and then was elected by the congregation, was palpable,” said the Rev. Lyle Weible, moderator of Pleasant Hill Community Church. “We experienced a certainty that our coming together as pastor and congregation was guided and inspired by God.”

He added, “Rev. Graham will bring both stability and creativity, comfort and challenge to our church. Her many and varied gifts and our multifaceted backgrounds and experiences will refresh this church that welcomes everyone and witnesses to the love of God freely and fully.”

Pleasant Hill Community Church draws members not only from Pleasant Hill, but also from Crossville, Fairfield Glade, Monterey, Sparta, Cookeville and other communities.

The Rev. Graham values this larger community context.

She is looking forward to meeting other area clergy and joining in ecumenical activities.

“Ecumenical relationships help create more robust ministry for all involved,” she said.

Sunday worship is at 10:45 a.m. at Pleasant Hill Community Church, 67 Church Dr. The service also can be viewed on Facebook and YouTube. Visit for more.

Pleasant Hill Community Church is an Open and Affirming, Whole Earth, Global Mission, and Just Peace congregation of the United Church of Christ.

With roots in the post-Civil War work of the American Missionary Association and connections with Uplands Village, a UCC-affiliated retirement community, the church remains a vibrant center for social justice work and theological exploration.

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