Family: Married to Darryll Rasnake. They have two sons: David Rasnake, 27, and Nic Rasnake, 23.
Occupation: Director of Children's Ministries at New Providence Presbyterian Church
Melanie Rasnake and her husband are both in the ministry… just at different churches.
Melanie is director of Children’s Ministries at New Providence Presbyterian Church, and her husband works in the ministry at Church Street United Methodist Church in Knoxville.
“Darryll and I grew up together, and he’s a United Methodist minister. We’re in a ‘mixed marriage.’ People ask how that works out and how we manage to do that, but it is really not an issue with us,” she says. “It just seems like it is more an issue with other people. We don’t go to church together -- it is just the way things are.”
Melanie says one of the aspects of both their jobs is that they each work a lot of evenings. “A lot of weeks, we don’t see each other very often. Thankfully, both of our churches are pretty OK with it. He is in a large church, and they don’t get too worked up if they don’t see me every week.”
Melanie says she was born in Middle Tennessee, grew up in Madisonville, and she and her husband lived in Durham, N.C., when their children were young, moving to Blount County in 1994. She graduated from Maryville College in 2000 with a B.A. in English. She’s in graduate school at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, Va.
“I started doing youth and children’s ministry on a volunteer basis in my early 20s and really enjoyed it. I worked part-time with those ministries when my children were small.”
After Melanie graduated Maryville College, she was director of Christian Education and Children’s Ministry at Green Meadow Methodist Church. Then she worked four years at Maryville College with their Lilly Grant Program, which funded 18 initiatives funded by a $2 million grant. “Then I went to New Providence Presbyterian Church six years ago, and I have been there ever since. I love it.”
Melanie says youngsters sometimes grasp the idea of faith better than adults. “Children have probably the most pure theology I’ve ever encountered. They don’t feel like they have to think through everything and understand everything to believe. They can have faith without knowing all the answers,” she says. “They give me lot of insight into things and help me see things in way I’ve never seen before or haven’t seen in a long time.”
Here is Melanie Rasnake:
Who are you most like, your mother or your father and why?
“My mom, Lucy Ervin, says that I’m just like my dad (the late Marvin Wright), which I think is probably true. I look like him, and she says I act like him, and I have an enormous amount of respect for my father. I miss him very much. He’s been gone 14 years and I can’t think of anyone I’d rather be like.”
What is your favorite quote from television or a movie?
‘“You should never, ever doubt what nobody is sure about,’ from ‘Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.’”
What are you guilty of?
“Thinking that everything I do has to be perfect.”
What is your favorite material possession?
“My house. We’ve been working on remodeling it for seven years, and if I didn’t love it, I’d have probably given up by now.”
What are you reading currently?
‘“Hannah’s Child,’ by Stanley Hauerwas.”
What was your most embarrassing moment?
“Oh, I’ve had lots of them, but one of the worst was probably the day I accidentally went into the men’s restroom at the movie theater and then spent 10 minutes hiding in a stall waiting for everyone to leave so I could escape. That was awful. It was a strange place and wasn’t paying attention to where I was.”
What is one word others often use to describe you and why?
“The one that’s been coming up quite a bit lately is ‘quirky.’ I have no idea why. I really don’t.”
What is your passion?
“Learning. I love being both a teacher and a student.”
With whom, living or dead, would you most like to have a long lunch?
“My dad. He passed away in 1996, and I still miss him.”
If you could go back in time for a week, what time period or year would you visit?
“When I was a student at Maryville College I was an English major and my favorite subject was 17th Century literature. I would love to go back to that time and see what it was like when people like Milton and John Donne and Ben Jonson and George Herbert were around.”
What is the best present you ever received in a box?
“A tortoise-shell kitten from the Knox County Animal Shelter. My husband got her for me one year for my birthday, and we had her for 16 years. Gracie passed away last July. She had intestinal cancer.”
What is the best advice your mother ever gave you?
“’Never be afraid to stand up for yourself.’ The first time I remember her telling me this was when I was in kindergarten, and it’s still great advice.”
Other than your parents, who has had the biggest influence on your life and why?
“My children. I had them really young, and they have totally shaped the person I am now. They turned me into a grownup, and they teach me things all the time.”
Do you Myspace, Facebook or Twitter?
“I do Facebook, but I’m not very committed to it. I probably post something about once a month.”
Are you a cat person or a dog person?
“I like both cats and dogs, and all kinds of animals really, but right now I’m in a cat phase. We have three - Gypsy, Bella and M.C., which is short for Man Cat.”
What is your theme song that best describes you?
‘“Simply,’ by Wes King. The first line of that song is, ‘Should’ve talked it over, should have thought it through, might have bitten off a little more than I can chew.’ I always think I should be able to do everything, and I need to learn to simply let things go.”
What irritates you?
“People who don’t follow through on their commitments.”
What’s one place in Blount County everyone should visit?
“Cades Cove, definitely.”
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself at 18?
“Try not to take yourself so seriously. I’m very good extending grace to other people but not so much myself.”