Scottie Burkhalter comes to the area from South Carolina, his home state. He has been at Holy Trinity for almost two months now and is already looking at ways to expand the church’s reach in the community.
“For me, it’s important to walk with people,” Burkhalter said, “to meet people where they are and then to pray together and see where God’s calling us to go next.”
Burkhalter has been married for 37 years and has five adult children and four dogs. He studied business at the University of South Carolina and worked in business for 12 years before making a career switch to ministry.
“I answered a call to ministry when I was married with four children,” Burkhalter said. “I went to seminary in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to the Lutheran Theological Seminary. I did an internship during that time in Arkansas, and then once we finished — it’s a four-year process to get a master of divinity — our first call was in New Sweden, Maine.”
From there, Burkhalter and his family relocated to Maryville, Tennessee, and then to Greer, South Carolina. He did a chaplain residency at Spartanburg Regional Hospital before accepting the position at Holy Trinity.
“I love it; it’s wonderful. I couldn’t be happier,” Burkhalter said of the area. “When God called me back to Northeast Tennessee, I was thrilled.”
Burkhalter’s first day on the job at Holy Trinity was Sept. 1, and since then he’s been spending time learning about the community. He’s begun meeting church members and others in the community on Tuesdays at 8 a.m. at Bagel Exchange to have coffee and conversation.
His passions include evangelism, stewardship, working with young people and teaching scripture with music. He said the Holy Trinity congregation is already very servant-minded and active in the community, something he feels is important.
“I have a little saying: I believe we love the God we don’t see by serving the neighbor we do see,” Burkhalter said, “and when we serve the neighbor we do see, I believe we see God.”
To start with, Burkhalter said he’d like to see the church develop more programs to connect with people. He’s also looking forward to the church’s upcoming events and offerings, including a community Thanksgiving service with Church Circle churches and the Christmas services.
“My emphasis for ministry is two things,” Burkhalter said. “One is to be in the word, and two is to be with the people. … Loving God by serving people is where it’s at.”
For more information about the church, visit www.holytrinitykingsport.org.