The News of Zion
Love God
Love People
~Luke 10:27
September 10, 2020
Musings ~ Calling....

Since the pandemic started in earnest this past spring, I have been driving Heather to work and back most days. It started as a way to have a little time together since our family was at home all the time during the early days of Covid but over time it became the norm. With school starting back, it has become a necessity since we have two kids going to school at different times and one of them driving herself on a different schedule than the rest of us. Suffice it to say, this little daily activity has given Heather and I a lot of time to talk while going to and from her office.
One of our recent conversations found us talking about the idea of vocation and life calling and she asked me, “What is your calling?” For those in ministry this is a common question that we ask ourselves on a regular basis. Many ministers—myself included—find the answer to this question changes with the seasons of life at least in terms of the details and way the calling is carried out. At first, I tried to answer her by talking about various ideas about calling and the purpose of calling and vocation—seminary speak in truth—but my wife was asking a very specific question and was not dissuaded by anything other than a very specific answer.
Finally, I quit the theology and got to the personal answer of calling. My answer: to be a disciple to make disciples. Sounds simple, right? It’s the answer found throughout the gospels especially when Jesus is talking to his disciples at the end of Matthew 28 and gives them their marching orders going forward: Go, make disciples. Get out into the community and the rest of the world and find people to teach the stuff I taught to you so they can mature in their faith and understanding of the Way of Jesus and then in turn teach other people.
As I thought about my calling and Jesus words of calling to the disciples, I began to think about the state of the church and how we find ourselves here and now with declining membership and communal influence. Many would say it has to do with everything from a changing world and values to liberalism to conservatism to the imminent return of Jesus. While those things might play a part in it, I don’t think it has to do with any one of those things. I see them as results more than causes. I think the problem is we have become a religion that has made church members but failed to make disciples. We have traded a lifestyle and way of being for creeds and confessional statements. We have become a people who says things about God rather than a people who follows the Spirit of God.
For years now, centuries even in some expressions of the Church, we have used the litmus test of believing rather than being. The test of believing calls us only to offer intellectual assent or mental agreement to certain statements about God or the church: The Apostle’s Creed, The Nicene Creed, The Articles of Religion, and others like them.
 While these things are good at helping us understand certain ideas about God, they are not a substitute for the Way of Life we are called to as disciples. I believe the true calling, the calling that will draw people to presence of God and the Way of Jesus are teachings of Jesus from the gospels: The Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 25’s discussion of sheep and goats, The Fruit of the Spirit from Galatians. These are not just statements about what we think, these are teachings about how to be and encourage others to be. I believe many people in the Church has come to think that the statements and declarations of and about God are more important than how they are supposed to live out the Way of Being those documents point to, even when people say otherwise. In this case, the proof is in the actions and the current state of our Church has seen little to no action. Being a disciple—as the gospels illustrate—is giving up the life you thought you wanted for a better life in the Kingdom. It is putting aside self and embracing Jesus as master (one who knows the greater way and is willing to teach you) and lord (one whom you submit to having authority over you and your life). Being a disciple is learning from the teacher to become one who teaches others and the curriculum is a Way of Life and being not a set of propositions to argue about.
There seems to me to be a massive divide in our Church culture between those who declare and those who do. Declaring is easy. Offering your assent or agreement to an idea is easy. Living the way of Jesus is challenging. Living the Way takes work. When it comes to being a disciple, we are called to a Way of Life and being, to not only know but to do what we know. It is my hope that those who claim the title of Christian as those who profess belief will be willing to exchange that for the title of disciple as those who follow Jesus, for the sake of the Kingdom and the Creation it is here to restore.
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.
You are invited to a drive up wedding shower honoring
Brittany Jordan and Mitchell Montgomery
this Sunday, September 13, 2:00-3:00 pm. 
Please, don’t leave your car! 
Just drive up to the car drop
off at Zion’s Thompson Family Life Center
and the happy couple will greet you! 
In case of rain, please drive under the carport
entrance to drop off gifts. 
Brittany and Mitchell are registered at
Amazon and Belk. 
Gift cards to Home Depot and Walmart would also
be greatly appreciated. 
Our church leaders are working on nominations and
budget requests for 2021. This is quite an unusual year in the life of the United Methodist Church and in the life of our church of Zion. If you have any concerns or
requests, please contact the chairperson of the committee that oversees that area of outreach. If you have any other specific questions regarding budget, please feel free to reach out to Susie McDonald, our Finance Chair (803-283-7476) or to Missy Snipes, our Financial Secretary (803-804-2434). We are all in prayerful consideration of our church’s financial direction and our ministry outreach for the future of Zion. 
Zion Homecoming ~ September 20, 2020
This year’s Homecoming for Zion will be quite different than in past years. The saddest part is that this year marks our 150th year as a church known in the community of Lancaster as Zion and everyone is not able to gather together for worship and fellowship. We had been planning many things however, our plans were changed by circumstances beyond our control. We pray each one who can will gather at Zion at 11 AM on Sunday, September 20 for worship or to gather at home with family and worship online together to thank our Lord for all of our blessings here at Zion!!! We may not be able to celebrate as we have done for many years together with worship, fellowship and sharing in a meal together but we can celebrate the work of Zion in our community and our town and celebrate the missional outreach that is accomplished by all of our combined efforts. Zion has always been a very mission minded church and has never hesitated when there was a need by one or many and missional outreach has continued even as we have not been able to gather together. We look forward to the day when we can gather again, worship ALL together, and to celebrate and fellowship with one another.
A virtual Charge Conference will be held on Thursday, October 15th at 7:00 PM via Zoom. We need to prepare for our nominations and our budget for 2021. Please watch for scheduled socially distanced meetings so that we can complete the business needed for the New Year for our church. 
Be a 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
Chance Bowers
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
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
David Woodruff
Kim Yost
Our President and 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 page 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 on the table as you enter the life center 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. There are large and regular print copies available.
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.
September 10:Todd Hall
September 11: Mr. & Mrs. Tony Broughton
September 12: Breanna Melvin
September 13: Carly Robinson, Dennis McAteer, Janice Bowers, Renee Plyler, Bonnie Sears
September 14: Rick Hammond, Harris Plyler
September 16: Crystal McKenna, JoAnne Smith, Wade Adams, Drew Burn, Mark Whitley, Mr. & Mrs. Scott Phillips, Mr. & Mrs. Eric Everall
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:
Mike and Diane Rape, Tommy Knight, Danny and Nancy Ackerman, Eric and Courtney Broughton, and Lib Preslar by Beth Craig
The Wesley Sunday School Class by Tom Salisbury
In Memory of:
In loving memory of Crystal Fields, Peggy Knight, and Clyde Walters by Hazel and Terry Robinson
Ed Everall on his birthday by Claudia Hartley
Clyde Walters and Gary Weathersbee by JoAnne Smith
Gary Weathersbee by Barbara Hall and Carolyn Massey
Special Gifts to the Building Fund
In Memory of:
Clyde “Shorty” Walters by Peggy Ann and Jackie Knight
Our seven confirmands, who have concluded their classes online with Pastor Michael, will be joining the church on Sunday, September 13 during worship in the TFLC!!! We look forward to rejoicing in these new members of our church!!
The Record Speaks....
September 6, 2020

Present for Worship: 35
Needed each week for the General Fund $4,360
Received for General Fund $5,963
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,,
803-285-3864 -