The Episcopal Church of the Good Samaritan: Our Story
In the 1950s, the Cedar Bluff area of west Knoxville was scarcely more than a two-lane country road surrounded by farmland. Now 70 years later, the bustling Cedar Bluff area bears little resemblance to that quiet, pastoral setting – save for the thirteen-acre, wooded haven where you’ll find the Episcopal Church of the Good Samaritan.
In 1965, several energetic and compassionate families met in the living room of Jack and Helen Dance, and Good Sam, as it has affectionately come to be known, was founded. Stewart Henslee, the namesake of our parish hall, deeded the Cedar Bluff acreage to the Diocese of East Tennessee, and the Reverend James D. Curtis was called to be Good Sam’s first Vicar. Church services were held in Henslee Hall beginning in March 1967, and on Christmas Eve of 1975, the first service was held in the nearly completed church building.
Now led by Rector Cal Calhoun and Associate Rector Elizabeth Farr, Good Sam has grown exponentially and boasts a thriving and diverse community of several hundred souls who are proud to call it their church home. All are welcomed to the Lord’s Table each week.
Good Sam strives to live up to its name by making outreach one of its primary ministries. From building houses with Habitat for Humanity, to delivering and serving meals to the needy, to housing families who are facing the threat of homelessness, Good Sam parishioners welcome the opportunity to serve others, particularly the most vulnerable members of our society. Good Sam has partnered with Rise Against Hunger on several occasions to package thousands of meals to be sent to those in need around the world. Perhaps our proudest achievement has been designating the weekly cash in the plate to go to a specified charity, with a new designee each week. In just the last two years, our parish has been able to donate over $200,000 to those in need through the Cash in the Plate and Outreach Budget.
Our close-knit community also enjoys fellowship time together, highlighted by an annual outdoor worship service and parish picnic each autumn where we can truly marvel at the beauty of God’s creation all around us while we worship. Our parish motto is “Grow in Faith, Live in Hope, Share God’s Love,” and at Good Sam, we daily strive to meet these goals as our parish looks forward to the future together.