The News of Zion
Love God
Love People
~Luke 10:27
July 29, 2020
Musings ~ A Farewell to. . .

I’ve just finished reading a book by Brian Zahnd called A Farewell to Mars , a book about the author’s journey toward a biblical understand of the gospel of peace. Throughout the book the author makes his case for the church needing to separate itself from the politic of war and the economic ideals of the state and toward a biblical understanding of these things. In one part he says,
In political conversation these days, we hear a lot about “right” and “left.” People have a lot of passion bout these teams, but I have no allegiance to either the political right or the political left for this simple reason: Jesus has his own right and left! In the Jesus right-left divide, you definitely want to be on the right. (The goats on the left are sent away into hell prepared for the devil and his angels!) [1]
He, of course, goes on to reiterate the story of the sheep and the goats from Matthew 25 where Jesus basically says that those who care for the poor (food, water, clothes), the sick, the prisoner, and the foreigner are those who will be at his right hand and those who don’t will hear,
Get away from me, you who will receive terrible things. Go into the unending fire that has been prepared for the devil and his angels. I was hungry and you didn’t give me food to eat. I was thirsty and you didn’t give me anything to drink. I was a stranger and you didn’t welcome me. I was naked and you didn’t give me clothes to wear. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me. – Matthew 25:41-43
Reading this, and other things of late (especially a lot of church history), I have found a personal need to examine the idea of what puts us in a right relationship with God or what does it mean to experience salvation. A lot of people talk about salvation as a transaction: say the prayer, believe a few ideas about Jesus, and punch your heavenly ticket. As I look at the New Testament, particularly the words of Jesus, I find that there is always something said about how we treat others in connection with those who face judgment. Believe in Jesus—that is the Jesus Way of living—and you will be judged by God as being sheep. Live otherwise—regardless of what ideas you subscribe to—and you endanger yourself before God.
I think Martin Luther did some great things for Christendom, but I think his most famous ideas ‘only faith’ and ‘only scripture’ have been misinterpreted and re-misinterpreted to make the church a rather lazy institution. It’s created what some people in my seminary referred to as Jesus, the bible, and me in rowboat theology—all I need for this life is Jesus and a bible and a quiet place to get away from the big, bad, terrible world. By using the mantra ‘only faith’ as a rallying cry, the revivalists of the nineteenth century (1800s) were able to offer a fire insurance version of salvation to a scared people in a scary world. In the process, American Christians learned to lean into the idea of ‘believing for salvation’ without realizing that believing calls for something other than sitting in a pew. Believing requires acting on the ideas that Jesus taught—and the Holy Spirit reteaches to us—in everyday life. This version of Christianity is still prevalent if not predominant today in most American circles.
The Jesus Way of salvation calls for a complete and total lifestyle overhaul with the goal of becoming a living imitation of Jesus and his Way. This living imitation has its core in passages like the one above, the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7, the Farewell Discourse of John 14-17, the living way of Jesus presented in Mark and Luke where the poor and disenfranchised are center-stage with Jesus as those whom Jesus spent his time teaching and healing. His criticisms were almost exclusively leveled at the religious authorities, the greedy rich, and the Roman governmental systems who abused those that Jesus championed.
The current political climate has politicized faith on both sides of the divide and quite honestly, I think to the detriment of historic Christianity. We have traded in the true Way for an easy way in order to fit into the society of comfort that we live in. The Jesus Way calls for the imitation of love and sacrifice that our namesake lived into during his life and ministry. It is time to change.
When we choose the Jesus Way, right and left don’t matter—except for sheep and goats.
[1] Brain Zahnd, A Farewell to Mars , p. 165-166

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.
The United Methodist Women's “Virtual Mission U" will be held on July 18, July 25, and August 8. The theme this year is “Finding Peace in an Anxious World”. Visit and click on the tab for 'UMW Virtual U' to find out more information and to register!
August is our month to support HOPE in Lancaster with donations of food for those less fortunate. Particular needs in August are canned vegetables, canned fruit, peanut butter and jelly, canned pasta (beefaroni, lasagna), and spaghetti sauce. Please place your donations either in the hallway as you enter the life center or at the double doors as you leave worship.
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. 
Elfreida Plyler has turned off her landline and is using her cell phone, 803-416-7057. Please update her contact information in your church directory. 
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
Suzanne Evans
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
Billy Sowell
Robbie Stepp
Matthew Sweatt
Jim Thomas
Mike Vick
Pat Vick
Ellen Walters
Shorty 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 28: Mr. and Mrs. Brett Craig
July 29: Karen Steele
August 1: Jennifer Bridges
August 2: Alaina Anderson
August 3: Wayne Craig, Cierra Hartley
August 4: Patricia Steen, Clyde Walters, Ricky Steele, Ali Steen
August 6: Mike Vick, Jerry Moree
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:
Steven Duell on his 14th birthday by Claudia and Cierra Hartley
Clyde and Ellen Walters by Barbara S. Hall
In Memory of:
Eugene Blackmon by Barbara S. Hall and Ryan and Miriam Griffin
Happy Birthday Billy! By Max and Myra Funderburk
Special Gifts to Building Fund
In Honor of:
Shorty Walters by Doreen Catoe
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 19, 2020

Present for Worship: 33
Needed each week for the General Fund $4,360
Received for General Fund $2,770
Received for Building Fund $155
Received for Needy Fund $2

"...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 -