Mama Weaver lives out nickname given to her by students Reply

KNOXVILLE—For Jerilyn Weaver, hearing someone calling Mama Weaver from down a hallway would be a usual turn of events.

Weaver is the Student Services Coordinator in the Student Life office, and is the wife of Brent Weaver, Tour Choir director and the Director of Worship program at JUTN.

Her job may be in the Student Life office, but her connection to students is in the choir. She sings and travels as part of the choir, and everyone who is a part of the choir knows her as Mama Weaver.

“There were a couple students one year that started it, and I don’t know if it was out of love or because I was nagging them on what to wear, but once it started it never stopped,” she said.

Whatever the origin was, it has long since become a staple term of endearment for those in the choir. It means a lot to Weaver that the students continue to call her Mama Weaver.

“Its funny when the new people come into choir to see how long it actually takes them before they catch on and start,”Weaver said. “It isn’t something I gave myself, but it came from the students.”

And to Mama Weaver, her involvement in the choir is how she connects to students rather than through her work in the office.

She said it makes every graduation sad as she has to say goodbye to students who she has become close to, but she looks forward to seeing them all at homecoming.

Jerilyn and Brent Weaver moved to Johnson in 1994 when Brent Weaver was hired as a music faculty member. Jerilyn Weaver began working for JU in 2002, and during the past 15 years has worked in teacher Ed, the Financial Aid office and the Student Life office.

While Jerilyn Weaver is known for singing, she is also passionate about other forms of artistic expression.

For Jerilyn Weaver gymnastics has been a constant, on and off, throughout her life. At the age of 3 she was in a dance class, but the very next year she moved into a tumbling class, a precursor to gymnastics for her.

When she turned 9 she joined a gymnastics studio. In high school she was on the school’s gymnastics team.Later in life, when she started her daughter at a gymnastics studio, she became involved as a coach at the studio.

Outside of her time in the office or in choir she enjoys hiking and photography. She said she finds both to help her slow down and see the wonder of God’s creation that is so easily looked over in every day life.

Even after her children moved out the echoes for Mama Weaver are still heard on campus by students who know her well.


Wolf clears up confusion over chapel requirements Reply

KNOXVILLE — Chapel is required for all Johnson students, both traditional and non-traditional.

Chapel requirements are broken down based on full-time or part-time status.

If you are a full time student you are required to go to three chapels a week, whether you are a traditional or non-traditional student. You can either attend or attain credit for these three chapels, through chapel make-ups.

Online students that are still in an on-ground program have the same chapel requirements as traditional students. They make up every chapel online since they can not attend on-ground.

You can miss up to three chapels and still have an A. You can miss up to six and still have a B. Any more than six misses and you fail. That is the same for both students that are attending chapel and making up chapel.

“Where there is some distinction, is what sorts of absences are allowed to be made up,” Dean of the Chapel, Bill Wolf, said.

There are five options for missing a chapel that are excused, a work schedule conflict and illness are two.

For commuting students, if they do not have a reason to be on campus directly before or after chapel, can make up the chapel without an ordinary excuse or conflict. Therefore they are not required to come to campus early or stay late just for chapel.

Chapel make-ups are posted on Sakai in the Chapel tab. Chapel makeups are only available online for seven days after the original chapel occurred.

“The reality is, no chapel absence is excused,” Wolf said.

Every absence is an absence, whether that be a personal absence or an administrative absence, which means the University/administration caused the absence.

Administrative absences include; basketball trip, tour choir trips, baseball trips, conferences for classes, etc.

These kinds of absences do not have to be made up.

“The reality is, the only kind of absence that will be excused or doesn’t count against you is one the school has caused,” Wolf said.

An example of an administrative absence that does not need to be made up is if the student misses due to work study.

If a student works during chapel for one or all three of the required meeting days, no make-up is required.

However, the administration that caused the absence must notify Wolf before the absence will be excused.

Presently the JU Tennessee campus and the JU Florida campus have different chapel requirements.

When JUFL was first adopted by Johnson, their chapel met once a week at 11 a.m. on Tuesday’s. They also had D-Groups that were not connected to chapel.

To bring the JUFL and JUTN campuses into alignment, JUFL’s chapel was moved to 9 a.m. and the D-Groups were attached to chapel requirements to resemble JUTN Wednesday chapel groups.

For the Thursday chapel requirement, JUFL meets five or six times each semester. This is a step towards them having chapel every week on Thursday, to match the JUTN campus.

As of right now, JUFL and JUTN chapel requirements are not the same.

“We are moving toward the requirements being aligned perfectly,” Wolf said.

Wolf said that the reason Johnson has such a focus on chapel is embedded in the mission statement of the University which ends in “To extend the Kingdom to all nations.”

“Chapel is a time in which we come together as individuals who are hopefully living our lives as living sacrifices through pleasing acts of worship,” Wolf said.

Wolf compared chapel to breathing in the air of the Kingdom.

“This Kingdom we want to extend is not just a theory, it is not just an idea, it is a living breathing reality that we experience in Christ,” Wolf said. “In order to extend that Kingdom we need to breath in the air of that Kingdom, and chapel is the time that we put away our books, put away our laptops, put away our homework, put away disagreements we might have with our roommate, we put that stuff aside and just focus on Jesus.”

Wolf said another important aspect to having chapel is in the identity of JU as a whole.

“It is important to our identity. We are Christians, and as Christians we worship God. That is our identity and it is our identity as a University,” Wolf said.

Wolf said that this is most clearly seen in Johnson’s Homecoming celebrations.

Wolf said that where other schools have special sporting events, Johnson worships. Gathering together for sessions of study, teachings, and praying.

“When we contemplate Christ, the Spirit transforms us into the likeness of Christ, so we come together to contemplate, focus on Jesus and believe in his Spirit to transform us into the likeness of Jesus,” Wolf said. “That is part of how we extend our mission, we gather together to worship.”

Zimbabwe to Johnson:Mission professor brings on field experience to classroom Reply

KNOXVILLE—Brent Brewer has diverse experiences apart from teaching and his love of global missions.Brewer earned a Bachelor of Science in preaching and youth ministry from Johnson University Tennessee in 1982.

He then earned a Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in Secondary Science Education from East Carolina University and a Master of Arts in Intercultural Studies from Columbia International University in South Carolina.

Brewer attributes the influence of his father, who was a pastor, for leading him to the mission field.Brewer said he always knew he wanted to be a part of evangelism both in and outside the church.

Growing up near Kentucky Christian University, Brewer knew he wanted to go to Bible college but did not want to attend KCU.

“I came to Johnson without ever going on a college visit,” Brewer said.

Brewer graduated in 1982 and while at Johnson, met his wife Jondra. With no background in missions he “didn’t think that missions was the path” his life would take.

After gaining a degree in secondary education the Brewer family moved to Zimbabwe where he taught Bible and science which he calls an “interesting combination.” Brewer taught in Zimbabwe for 12 years.

Six months after returning to the states, Brewer began to teach at JUTN.

One of the most difficult things to adjust to was “practical aspects of living and working cross-culturally,” Brewer said. “My first five years I made a lot of mistakes, but I used this to help my fellow missionaries who had not realized mistakes, to then learn from them.”

In Zimbabwe, Brewer had a very different teaching style than here in the U.S. In Zimbabwe the students do not speak English as a first language, therefore Brewer had to teach “using simple words and speaking slowly.”

Outside of his field experience, Brewer is known for his love of the outdoors. He enjoys running, hiking and backpacking in the mountains. He also started the cross-country team at JUTN.

Princeton keeps missional mindset even while off field Reply

Paulette Princeton spends her days looking at blueprints, measuring yards, answering phones and teaching French.  For Princeton, an odd combination of skills and interests have led her to a very missional job at Johnson University.

Her job at Plants Services includes many different responsibilities. She helps keep and distribute the documents required for renovations like electrical and plumbing information. These jobs may not seem missional in nature, but for Princeton everything she does is a chance to serve God.

“I love helping people,” Princeton said. “I love when I solve a problem. I love serving.”

In addition to Plant Services, Princeton also teaches French at JUTN.

As a teacher, Princeton wants her students to be involved in learning new ways they can help others as well.

“When I teach, I want to inspire my students to become better servants, and to better serve others and God,” she said.

The passion Princeton holds for serving God and others is rooted in her past.

She was born on the Island nation of Haiti before her family fled the country from the Duvalier dictatorship in the 1960s. They immigrated to New York.

“I have a large family,” she said. “I am the youngest of nine, and I’m spoiled rotten,” she said with a smile.

After growing up in New York City Prince went to City College in New York City to study architecture.

Princeton met her husband Jerome Princeton at a Church Wednesday night small group. After getting married they decided to go to Haiti together as missionaries.

Jerome and Paulette Princeton worked for 15 years in Haiti as a missionaries.

Jerome Princeton, founded a school called Christian Ville College. Paulette Princeton was an administrator, teacher, and architect at the school.

Jerome Princeton was offered a job at Johnson University and in the summer of 2005 Paulette Princeton moved to Knoxville with her husband and three daughters.

The Princetons’ youngest daughter is studying Music and Linguistics at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Their middle child also went to UT, and is a graduate working as a civil engineer. Princeton is quite excited for her eldest daughter, because she is getting married in the fall.

In looking toward the future, Princeton said the only two things she can think about right now are her daughter’s wedding and her 30 year wedding anniversary that she and her husband will be celebrating this summer.

“Day to day we give it to the Lord,” she said. “Whatever the Lord opens up for us, we are open to whatever the Lord has in mind.”

In both work and life Paulette Princeton lives in joyful service to both the Lord and those around her.


Future of Hope Institute soon to implement vision projects Reply

KNOXVILLE — The Future of Hope Institute had their 5th plenary meeting Jan. 21 at First Baptist Church. During this meeting, six different teams presented their vision projects that they have been planning since September.

Each team had the opportunity to present their vision projects to a panel of Knoxville community leaders. The six vision projects presented included the following concepts:

  • Soccer outreach program for refugee and immigrant families
  • Re-entry program for juvenile offenders
  • Youth summit for East Knoxville students focused on economic development
  • Mental health awareness campaign and peer training in high schools
  • Mentorship through the arts and music
  • Single parent resource fair

The refugee and immigrant sports outreach team has a vision plan to build connections between young immigrants and refugees and youth from Knoxville. This team plans to implement soccer as a way to bridge the gap and develop relationships in their community.


Pictured is a member of the refugee and immigrant sports outreach team presenting their vision project.

The juvenile justice advocacy team is seeking to provide a community and resources for youths that have gone through the Bean Juvenile Detention Center.

The east Knoxville community development team has a vision to address issues in the community such as gang violence, dying businesses, lack of job opportunities, lack of public citizenship and the lack of unity in the community.

The mental health care and awareness team desire to address mental health among Knoxville’s youth. This team hopes to address mental issues related to suicide, depression, and self-esteem.

The arts mentorship team has a vision to combine their passions for music and community. This team seeks to use the power of music to influence culture in a positive way.

The single parenthood support team has a vision to provide resources for single parents and their households. Some resources include helping single parents through job opportunities, mental health services and after school programs.


The panel and audience listen to the vision project presentations.

The Future of Hope Institute will have their recognition banquet April 6.

At the banquet, the selected groups will present their finished projects to an assembly of peers and community leaders.

Upon completion of the program, students will be awarded with a $2,000 scholarship to any college of their choice. Participants that choose to attend Johnson University will receive an additional $1,000.

For more information on the Future of Hope Institute, email or visit the Urban Alliance website here.


Royal Wellness offers more than just fitness classes Reply

KNOXVILLE — Johnson’s Royal Wellness program is being revamped this semester to attract more members and show it is more than just exercise.

The mission of the  Royal Wellness program is to “encourage and assist the continuation of the pursuit of holistic well-being of the Johnson Community.”

Senior Brandon Crussel, who is part of facilitating the program, said that Royal Wellness is meant to improve the health and spiritual prosperity of Johnson students on campus by taking care of the body, the temple of the Holy Spirit.

In an effort to attract more people to become members, the Royal Wellness program has created a new logo and a new Facebook  page to communicate more easily with Johnson students.

Crussel said he works closely with Associate Professor of Sport and Fitness Leadership, Trevor Egli, who is in charge of the program.

“We got a logo because we needed people to recognize us, to know who we are,” Crussel said. “It gave us a new look, a fresh feel. We’re trying to get the message out that we’re more than just fitness.”

A session on holistic wellness is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Feb. 28 in Private Dining Room 3.

“We believe in holistic well-being, and a lot of people don’t know what that is,” Crussel said. “We hold to it being mind, body, and spirit. We believe that there is a biblical and spiritual aspect of taking care of yourself physically and mentally.”

Royal Wellness offers several different classes including Zumba, yoga, power yoga, and Royal Fit, the Johnson University variant of CrossFit, dialed back in intensity to meet the Johnson community’s needs.

Egli, the founder of Royal Wellness, has made sure to pick instructors who are certified to lead their classes.

Zumba is from 6-7 p.m. Monday and Wednesday nights in the old gym.

Power yoga is from 6-7 p.m. Mondays in RH 167.

General yoga is from 6-7 p.m. Thursday nights in RH 167.

Royal Fit is from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays in the EACU racquetball courts.

Fuller brings years of experience to future educators Reply

Education is always changing and education professor, Patricia Fuller understands that.

“Education is a moving target,” she said, thinking about her many years of experience in the field.

Fuller is the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Templar School of Education.

She graduated with her undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee where she also received her education specialist degree. She attended Tusculum College in Knoxville to complete her masters.

“I was working on my Ed.S. when I came to JUTN which is the between a masters and a doctorate, ” she said. “But I still had to learn a lot. I still do.”

This is her 10th year working as a professor at JUTN, where she teaches language arts methods, introduction to teaching, child development classes and various other education classes.

Fuller felt qualified for her new teaching job when she arrived at JUTN.

Before coming to work at JUTN, Fuller had worked as a speech and language therapist in the Knox County school system for nine years, been a fourth-grade teacher for seven years and a human resource coordinator for five years.

Her favorite thing about JUTN is the people.

“Oh, the people – I love the people. I love the people I work with and I love the students,” Fuller said.

Fuller was born and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee and had one sister.

She graduated from Bearden High School.

Fuller is married to Anthony Fuller and they have two sons, Adam, 32, and Nathan, 29.

They go to Laurel Church of Christ where her husband has been an elder for about 15 years and where Fuller teaches third grade Wednesday nights.

Some of Fuller’s pastimes include reading, walking, jigsaw puzzles and spending time with her cat Sophie.

She enjoys historical fiction and her favorite author is Jacqueline Winspear.

In the future, Fuller wants to try writing her own fiction.

“I love reading so now I am going to try my hand at writing,” she said.

JUTN Freshman, Abby Barron, right, spent two weeks serving in Guatemala in 2015. She is returning during week of E.  Check ouT Barron's story in this mini podcast.

Student returns to Guatemala for Week of Evangelism Reply

KNOXVILLE — JUTN Freshman, Abby Barron, spent two weeks serving in Guatemala in 2015. She speaks on her return to Guatemala with For the Love of Missions below.


Photo: Barron, pictured right, smiles with Lidia on the rooftop of a hotel in Guatemala City in 2015 (Photo/Madison Hughes).

Produced by Regan McSherry


The Missions Network logo

Missions Services merges with ICOM to further the Kingdom Reply

KNOXVILLE — After 70 years in operation, Missions Services has decided that it is in the best interest of the organization to merge with International Conference On Missions.

Missions Services was started when Harrold McFarland, who had been serving in World War II as a chaplain, came home to find out he had been replaced as the minister of his church.

Reggie Hundley has served as the executive director of Missions Services for the past 20 years, being their longest served executive director.

“Harrold and Adele, his wife were really visionaries,” Hundley said. “Prior to that time the Christian churches and the restoration movement had some emphasis in missions but we were not the force that this group of churches is now in world missions.”

Harrold created a magazine called Horizons to encourage the missionaries who were serving around the world. The magazine recently stopped publication.

Hundley said that Missions Services had a slightly difficult beginning.

“The goal in the beginning was a little bit undefined,” Hundley said. “But, over the next five years it became evident the role that we needed to fill was to help missionaries communicate with supporters back home.”

Hundley said that Missions Services has worked to stay up to date technology.


Harrold McFarland, founder of the missions network

“About five years ago, we created a website, a podcast, and an app called The Missions Network,” Hundley said. “About 90% of what we do now has to do with electronic communication.”

Hundley said that there is some difficulty in communicating all of the work that Missions Services has done.

He quoted one missionary to Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, Zilden Nutt, to explain.

“’Unless someone is deeply involved and interested in world missions, it is impossible for someone to understand the impact that Missions Services had both from the recruiting end to the encouraging end,’” Hundley said.

In August 2016, Hundley announced that he accepted a request from the Christian Churches Pension Plan to become the new CEO starting in July 2017.

“The board took that opportunity to say ‘what is the best way for the work of Mission Services to be done,’” Hundley said. “’What is the best way for it to fit into the Kingdom?’”.

Hundley said the board questioned whether they should find a new executive director or join their efforts with another ministry.

“The director of ICOM and many of their board members said they would love to have the opportunity to continue the work of Missions Network and what we do,” Hundley said.

Hundley said that Harrold McFarland was very involved in helping with the first missionary convention that ICOM held and now their organization will be helping Missions Services.

“As of July 1, [ICOM] will not only be doing the electronic part of Missions Network, the podcasts and the app, but they will also be doing the printing of the newsletters,” Hundley said.

Missions Services is also selling their building that sits on E. Magnolia street.

“The work that we do is not going to stop,” Hundley said. “So, while the name Missions Services won’t exist, the work will continue through the ICOM.”