The News of Zion
Darkness cannot drive out darkness;
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate;
only love can do that.
~Martin Luther King, Jr.
July 17, 2020
Musings ~ The GIGO Principle

I was first introduced to the GIGO principle by one of my oldest friends when we were kids. He was considerably smarter than I was and exceptionally gifted when it came to working with computers. He explained to me that the GIGO principle was ‘garbage in, garbage out.’ What he meant was that if you put in bad coding instructions, the computer will give you nonsense or garbage output. I tried for a while to learn about programming when I was younger and realized I was creating more garbage than program but the phrase never left me. It popped up again later in life as I began to work in graphic design. People would ask us to design things but not really give us an idea of what they really wanted. They got whatever we could dream up with limited instruction, usually something they didn’t like. Again, garbage in, garbage out.

Discipleship can be a bit like this or have certain similarities to the GIGO principle. If you listen to teaching from questionable sources, hear sermons with faulty theology, practice things that originate from ideas that are not in line with the Way of Jesus, you may be practicing GIGO Christianity. It looks good until you really try to run the program, that is, until you get outside the confines of your personal group and start practicing in the real world. God doesn’t bless, the program doesn’t work, things fall apart.

You might wonder how a person can check the programming. For Methodists, we consider our method for checking the program the Wesleyan Quadrilateral: Scripture, Tradition, Reason, and Experience. The firs three of these things, Wesley borrowed from his Anglican tradition and the final was his own addition. These four things are the starting place for checking the programming to avoid practicing GIGO Christianity.

The way you do it is to take an idea and ask yourself these questions:

(1) Is the idea found and explained clearly in Scripture?
(2) Is the idea discussed and explained by church throughout its history? How much and how long?
(3) Is the idea one that makes sense?
(4) Is the idea one that resonates with your personal experience and the experience of others who are practicing non-GIGO Christianity?
(5) and I’ll add a fifth one to this, is the Holy Spirit teaching this to you through these other means?

This little exercise is a starting place, a way of dipping your toes in the water and learning to examine the ideas that are thrown at us day in, day out by a world that seems to be speaking constantly. It is also a way to avoid the echo chambers (places where everyone is saying the same thing without thought or question) that are so prevalent in our world today. May we all seek to clean up our systems and check our programming so it aligns with the Way of Jesus. 

Pastor Michael
As we continue to gather for worship together, just a few reminders....

  • If you are sick or have been sick in the last week before gathering, please stay home. We want to see you but more importantly, we want to see you get better. If you are immune-compromised or part of an at-risk group and concerned about your health, we suggest you consider staying home for your safety.
  • On Sunday mornings, we will continue to gather underneath the covered walkway that leads into the family life center nearest the sanctuary. The ground will be marked by at least six-foot intervals to keep people separated as we enter. Once inside, there will be more markers. Once inside the gym, an usher will direct you to chairs that will be at least six feet from any other chairs. Please stay in these areas during the service. Please do not hug, shake hands, or make physical contact with   others gathering, for their safety and yours. When the service is over, we will file out one area at a time, going out the doors nearest the area where the buses are parked.
  • Masks will continue to be available for folks to wear during the service. These are not optional. Please expect to wear a mask if you join us for worship.
  • We will continue our prohibition of all other activities other than worship for now.
For the safety and well-being of each person that gathers with us, we pray that you will be willing to abide by these safety measures. We also STRESS the need to SOCIALLY DISTANCE! Please do not compromise the health of yourself or others during this time. May we all continue in prayer for our church family, community, and country.
Annual Conference has been rescheduled for Saturday, August 1 at the Florence Center and will be live streamed at
Be the light in the Darkness
Please remember to call and check on your church family and friends during these troubling times. Many of our members are unsure or afraid of returning to worship  together and have also lost the connection of Sunday school. A call or a card can make a world of difference to those who are struggling with fear, loneliness, and isolation. 
Pastor Michael continues to offer morning prayer and Bible study. Join us each morning at 7:00 AM for Prayer and meditation. Join us, also on Thursdays at 12:00 Noon for Bible Study. Pastor Michael is hosting these from our Facebook page. If you are unable to log in LIVE, these offerings remain available for viewing after on our website and FB page.
While the church office remains closed, you are encouraged to reach out if you have a need or know of a need. You may call Pastor Michael at 1-859-475-8800, call the church office, 285-3864 and leave a message, call Missy at 804-2434 or email or; these emails are being monitored daily. The answering machine will also be checked daily. During these times, we ask everyone to pray together for each other, our church family, our community, our country, and our world. May God be with us all.
Please remember these in prayer:
Nancy Ackerman
Angela Bailey
Francis Bell
Phillip Bell
Rick Black
Marion Boswell
Carol Boyles
Randy Boyles
Caleb Catoe
Sue Catoe
Carol Cauthen
Brandy Champion
Ann Chappell
Linda Coker
Sandra Cope
Bill Dingler
Sophia Dixon
Angie Dobson
Heather Elder
John Elder
Ashley Fort
Betsy Gardner
Mike Gay
Steve Ghent
Judy Goodnight
Travis Gordon
T.R. Grier
Ovedia Griffin
Catherine Hammond
JoAnn Hinson
Rev. Shelly Holder
Kevan Horton
Eric Hough
Libby Hunter
Melinda Hunter
Rick Joyner
Henry Ray Knight
Mary Jane McAteer
Kevin McCorkle
Ann McManus
Tammy McMillian
Debbie McWaters
Marie Moree
Rusty Mosier
Bell Perry
Betty Jo Phillips
Ann Powers
Vicky Pickett
Ann Reed
Kathleen Robinson
Mayme Jo Robinson
Nancy Rushing
Bonnie Sears
Eva Small
Greg Smith
JoAnne Smith
Mike Smith
Billy Sowell
Robbie Stepp
Matthew Sweatt
Jim Thomas
Laverne Thompson
Mike Vick
Pat Vick
Ellen Walters
David Woodruff
Kim Yost
Our President & Troops
Those affected by the COVID-19 virus
Even as we offer in-person worship, our services will still be made available online on our Facebook page. Log in to our Zion United Methodist Church Facebook this Sunday for our service if you are unable to make it to church!! The service will also be available on our website at
Current Upper Room Daily Devotionals are available for pick up at the church. We will place some of these in the life center foyer and some in the plastic communication box outside of the life center doors where the buses are for those who do not have access to the church for you to pick up.
While our United Methodist Women will not be meeting for now, our thoughts and prayers remain with each one of you and with all in need during these trying times! If you know of a need that our women can help with, please contact an officer in the women’s group so that we can try and meet any needs! Executive officers are Sharon Haile, Darlene Hallman, Terry Robinson, Missy Snipes, Dianne Sweatt, and Mary Knight.
July 17: Jessica Bailey Steele
July 18: Angela Bailey
July 19: Terry Robinson
July 20: Dennis Knight, Mr. and Mrs. Dale Jenkins
July 22: Drew Curtis, Carsten Salisbury
7:23: Alyssa East, Mr. and Mrs. Robin Smith

Our United Methodist Men's third Sunday meeting and our weekly Saturday Bible Study meetings have been suspended until the stay at home order has been lifted and we are told that we can begin to gather again.

To all church members: please understand that we are unable to allow folks to meet inside the buildings at this time. If you had a reservation for personal use inside of one of the buildings over the next few weeks, we are unable to honor those reservations at this time and will announce when we will again be able to honor reservations. As it is, gatherings inside our facilities is not possible.
The members of Zion ARE CONTINUING
to support the ministry and outreach
of the church!!!
Thank you to each one of you who have adjusted to this change in our lives and have continued to support the ministry and outreach of Zion UMC and for your continued presence at online worship!!! You can continue to give online through the website, by clicking on the donate tab. You do not need to have a PayPal account to use this option, simply click on the donate button and follow the prompts, you can text your giving to 803-525-1834 and follow the secure link, or you may give by mailing your tithes to the church at 1665 Zion Road, Lancaster, SC, 29720. If you have misgivings about online donations or mailing your donations, a locking mailbox has been installed under the covered carport where the buses are. You may place your contributions in the box and it will be checked daily.
Together we can move forward.
Together we can continue and make a difference!
Special Gifts to Zion Church
In Honor of:
Clyde and Ellen Walters, Pat Threatt, and Marion and Sonny Curtis  by Dianne Martin
Matthew Sweatt and family and Harris and Marcene Plyler by Hazel and Terry Robinson
Matthew Sweatt and Ethan Moss by Carolyn Massey

In Memory of:
Eugene Blackmon by Hazel and Terry Robinson
Our seven confirmands, who have concluded their classes online with Pastor Michael, will be joining the church in the next few weeks. We look forward to rejoicing in these new members of our church!!
The Record Speaks....
July 12, 2020

Present for Worship: 33
Needed each week for the General Fund $4,360
Received for General Fund $3,177
Received for Building Fund $60

"...because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to."
Deuteronomy 15:10,,
285-3864 -