A small seed planted by St. Joseph the Worker pastor Father P. J. McGinnity has grown to be a very large tree with the establishment of a full council of the Knights of Columbus at the Madisonville parish. The council is known as Blessed John Paul II Council 15585.
It all started with Father McGinnity expressing his vision for the parish, which included a Knights council among other items. Its success is largely due to Ed Harless, who became a Knight recently at Council 12633 at St. Thomas the Apostle in Lenoir City and who brought his skills of leadership, organization, and planning to bear at St. Joseph the Worker. He soon began discussions with Father McGinnity on how to make his vision a reality.
A preliminary planning meeting was scheduled with Mike Wills, state deputy, and Jerry Dougherty, district deputy, on Dec. 5, 2011, during which they suggested that a Parish Round Table be established at St. Joseph the Worker and sponsored by Council 12633. They explained that once the Round Table had grown to 30 members, an application for a full council could be made. A goal of 18 months was established to achieve the 30 members.
Mr. Harless got the ball rolling and quickly formed a small planning team of parishioners Jim Parmelee, Dr. Dan Callan, and Terry Chmel, who were already Knights, and the Round Table came into being in January 2012. A plan was developed that focused on recruiting new members, and by April 2012, 20 new members had been successfully recruited. The new Knights soon became involved in community efforts, raising $800 for the MR drive and also becoming involved in lawn care, with other councils, at the diocese’s newly acquired Christ Prince of Peace Retreat Center in Benton.
Six months after the Round Table had been established and working, Bishop Richard F. Stika transferred his membership to become the 30th member, which qualified the Round Table to become a council. The Round Table at St. Joseph the Worker had 40 members when the council’s application was submitted to the head office in October.
The newly installed officers for the council are Ed Harless, Grand Knight; Dan Russell, deputy Grand Knight; Gerry Schlueter, chancellor; Chase Nipper, recorder; Jim Alexsa, financial secretary; Richard Smith, treasurer; Father P. J. McGinnity, chaplain; Ron Catton, lector; Terry Chmel, advocate; Denis Wilson, warden; Joe Lannutti, inside guard; Richard Gaston, outside guard; and Jim Parmelee, Dr. Dan Callan, and Frank Urban, trustees.