First Presbyterian to install Rev. Yates as new pastor




First Presbyterian Church in Tullahoma will hold an installation service at 5 p.m. Sunday for its new pastor, the Rev. Dr. Stephen G. Yates.

The service is open to the community; a reception will follow.

Yates is a 1998 graduate of Vanderbilt University Divinity School. His first pastorate was at First Presbyterian Church in Rockwood, where he served for four years.

In August of 2002, he moved to Destin, Fla., to serve as pastor of First Presbyterian Church in that city before accepting the call from the Tullahoma church.

Yates grew up in Knoxville after moving there with his family from Ann Arbor, Mich., when he was four years old. He attended Knoxville’s Westminster Presbyterian Church, where he was active in a variety of ways.

After graduating high school in 1988, he enrolled at Albion College in Albion, Mich., where he was a dual major in anthropology and religious studies. While at Albion he spent two semesters and one summer in Honduras working on an archaeological project.

He said his work in Honduras was the major influence that led him to the ministry.

“It was while in Honduras, one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere, that I began to genuinely sense the disparity between the way God wishes the world to exist and the way it actually does,” he said.

“Informed by my reading of the Bible during that period of time, in particular the Gospel of Luke, the Christian tradition began to provide my life with a deeper sense of purpose and direction than it previously had. Perhaps not surprisingly, with the benefit of hindsight, I now see my calling to ordered ministry as originating primarily from my time in Honduras.”

Pastor Yates is an avid runner and has participated in seven full marathons and numerous half marathons.

He and his wife Audrey have two sons, Luke, 8, and Jonah, 10. Mrs. Yates is an accomplished artist and photographer and also serves as an active elder.

First Presbyterian is located at the corner of Washington and Grundy streets.