Cultivating Missional Community in Knoxville

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New City Arts in The Square Room

June 13th, 2014 · New City Notes

New City Friends,

Summer is great for vacations, a time to rest and refresh, usually in an environment or setting different from our work-a-day world. At their best, these times carry elements of sabbatical and reflection.

The Tennessee Smokies Baseball Team markets their games as “a nine inning vacation,” a chance to kick back and enjoy the best game on the planet played with exceptional skill by professionals—some of whom will be Major League stars in a few years. Yes, I’m a baseball guy and unashamedly biased.

In a similar vein, a lot of the entertainment we bring to the Square Room at Cafe4 is purposed to provide a mini-vacation of sorts, a respite in which to enjoy both emerging and accomplished artists and also push pause and get re-calibrated at the intersection of art and life.

Sometimes the recharge happens as we get lost in the metaphors and melodies of a master singer-songwriter like David Wilcox, an experienced pro who wove narrative and music through the course of an evening like no other on May 22.

Sometimes re-orientation occurs in the Square Room through a provocative work like Princess Cut, a locally written theatrical production that premiered May 30, and telling the disturbing yet hopeful story of a girl once enslaved in a sex traffic ring here in Knoxville.

Or perhaps that moment of clarity will come in the context of an up-close and personal performance of a favorite song from a homegrown talent like Dave Barnes on July 24 or the soulful execution of a Grammy-winning artist like Knoxville’s own Ashley Cleveland on August 28.

Or maybe, that new found sense of perspective will accrue to you over a meal in the Square Room’s ‘dinner theatre’ production of Neil Simon’s classic “Barefoot in the Park,” on August 7-8.

Whatever it is and wherever it might be, my hope is that one way or another you’d find a way—and the arts are a great way—to slow yourself down this summer and be reminded of what is most important. For a full calendar of events in the Square Room at Cafe4, please visit And don’t forget to hit the refresh button!

– Kenny Woodhull


New City and The Square Room – The Next Chapter

January 17th, 2014 · New City Notes, News

New City Friends,

Joseph’s tools included a hammer and a saw. His son Jesus built stories and crafted metaphors, giving structure to God’s kingdom through creative figures of speech.

One of Jesus’ best known constructions describes his friends as being the “salt of the earth” and “light to the world” (Matthew 5.13-14). Salt was used then—as now—to season food. Salt also performed a more critical function, preserving good meat from going bad. Light presumes a degree of darkness and also revelation.

Both these images—salt and light—have given shape to cultural engagement among God’s people through the centuries. I find in them, today, a twin call to the careful stewardship of culture and, if necessary, a loving prophetic stance against it, a creative tension that characterizes New City’s involvement with the Square Room at Café 4 on Market Square in downtown Knoxville.

As salt, we are delighted to preserve and promote artistic gifts for the flourishing of God’s good creation. As light, we are strategically positioned to offer shafts of kingdom truth and beauty and hope to a culture that all too often and easily loses its way.

Accordingly, it is for these reasons that I’m glad to share with you here about all that is going on in the Square Room @ Cafe4 this Winter-Spring: from the light that will be cast through the faithful musical lyricism of Sara Groves (January 17), David Clifton (February 21), Over the Rhine (March 6), and David Wilcox (May 22) to the salt sprinkled in the artful entertainment of Robinella (February 14), Levi Kreis (Feb 20), Andrew Ripp (March 1), Cereus Bright (March 7), John Mark McMillan (April 10), the Teetotalers (April 19), WakeOwl (May 3) and The Yanks (May 17)—all the way through the eclectic mix of Jazz with the KJO every Tuesday night, singer-songwriter and local band showcases every Wednesday night, and a sample of drama in the work of Fiction (February 7-8) and musical theatre in StarQueen (March 13-15).

Frankly, it’s not always easy to give integral expression as salt and light, being in the world but not of it, celebrating beauty and embodying love in ways that are real and redolent—and every now and then a little confusing, not unlike some of Jesus’ figures of speech.

My hope is that New City’s work would function as one of Jesus’ kingdom parables, a work that might resonate and reveal, and even risk a measure of misunderstanding in an effort to creatively engage the imagination of our city through the Arts for missional purposes.

Your support and patronage of the Square Room @ Cafe4 ( are greatly appreciated. Hope to see you soon…and perhaps even with a friend who might benefit from a little salt and light. Thanks for your time here.

Kenny Woodhull


August 19th, 2013 · Uncategorized

New City Resources is proud to present…



Three of our favorite artists will come together to bring you an evening of beautiful songcraft presented in the context of the stories and communities where it is formed.  Tickets are available at Concerts.FellowshipKnox.Org.  We hope to see you there on October 3rd!


Michael Card in Concert

January 30th, 2013 · Events


Michael Card graphic

Extraordinary wordsmith Michael Card will grace the stage of The Square Room on Tuesday, February 12th, at 8pm.

For over 30 years, Michael has endeavored to engage with the text of Scripture through the writing of music, books, and in the context of the conference or classroom. The fruit of this approach has been well known and loved through songs like “El Shaddai,” “Immanuel,” and more recently, “Come Lift Up Your Sorrows.” In the course of 30 albums, 23 books, and thousands of concerts, Michael has invited listeners and readers to honestly wrestle with the Bible, seeking to grasp the meaning of the text by way of the imagination to connect heart and mind.

Come and enjoy a unique adventure in what Michael calls “Biblical Imagination.”

Tickets are ONLY available through the Square Room website.


New City and the Square Room

January 18th, 2013 · New City Notes

Dear New City Friend,

 As you may or may not know, New City is now shepherding the SquareRoom ( on Market Square at Cafe4.  The room is a state of the art listening venue positioned perfectly in the middle of Knoxville’s downtown.  I say perfectly because The SquareRoom has the capacity—like the downtown itself—to serve as a bridge between the various communities that make us who we are as a city, linking east and west, north and south. 

 At least this is the vision we are carrying into the SquareRoom, and it is this vision that will shape and inform the diverse and eclectic artists, events, and conversations we plan to cultivate within these walls in the coming weeks and months.

 I am both happy and humbled to be in this position.  Above all, I consider it something of a sacred trust, an opportunity to engage the imagination of our culture in creative ways and for redemptive purposes in a space specifically set aside for such a purpose.   

 Here are a few items to keep an eye out for.   First, starting Thursday, February 1 the Square Room will launch a weekly singer-songwriter community.  Here, in an environment committed to fostering local and regional creativity, we will develop a unique experience for artists and audiences alike, an organic gathering that will consistently provide unprecedented access to the creative process as well as opportunity for artistic growth and experimentation.    

 Second, please get in the habit of watching out for national touring artists like Michael Card ( and Andrew Peterson ( gigging in the Square Room.  Michael will be with us as soon as Tuesday, February 12.  Tickets are now available.  I’m thinking it’s a great date night Valentine’s week, guys!  Andrew will do a revised version of his Light for the Lost Boy show with the very cool band, Caleb, Friday, April 12.  Heads up: if I have my way, we will get Andrew to read a snippet from Book IV (which is not yet released) of his critically acclaimed Wingfeather series.

 Third, on March 2, we have the privilege of hosting four of East Tennessee’s best loved storytellers (Jim Claborn, Bill Landry, Elizabeth Rose, Sam Venable).  The show is called “Talk is Cheap.”  In fact, the evening of songs, stories, remembrances, and reflections is a rich experience—and one that we are happy to host in what will be its Knoxville premier.   Come find your story in theirs, and be enhanced.    

 Details for all this—and much more—are available online now, or will be very soon, both here and at The Square Room.  Hope to see you and yours soon.  Thanks. 

 Kenny Woodhull