The News of Zion
Love God
Love People
~Luke 10:27
September 17, 2020
Musings ~ Learning New Things....

About a year and a half ago, I sent in a DNA sample to ancestry.com. The initial results came back and were not much of a surprise. It said I was mostly English/Norman French, a little Scots-Irish, and slight bit Norwegian. The thing about Ancestry and other companies that are engaged in this kind of work is that they are always updating their techniques and technology. The hope is that they have better diagnostic tools that can give more in-depth answers by digging deeper into the genetics.
On a whim, I decided the other day to check on my account and found that there had been some updates, big updates in fact. As of their best guess now, I am 59% English/Norma French, 24% Scottish, 7% Norwegian, 5% Swedish, 3% Welsh, and 2% Irish. For a guy that grew up being told his family was predominantly Irish, this was a bit of a surprise. This was a bit of a revelation to me as I never knew I had any Scandinavian blood and no idea that I had that much Scottish blood. For anyone other than me, this is a glut of boring, positively meaningless facts. But they are, to me, an explanation in part of the genetic makeup that is me.
All the test results aside, what fascinates me is that the results can change because there are better tools available to the scientists doing the testing. The newer tools at their disposal found certain genetic markers that would not have shown up in the past. These refinements allow for future testing to be even more accurate as the science continues to be refined and developed.
In much the same way, my faith has been refined through the years. While God is no different, my understanding of God and who God is and how I relate to God has changed considerably. First, it had to do with learning about the bible by being given certain tools like topical bibles and concordances to help me begin learning to study. As I learned more about these tools in college, I was also given other tools—books from noted scholars through the ages, and new ways of studying God and the bible. I began to accumulate more and more of these tools and then in seminary I acquired even more precise tools that helped me to learn things like biblical languages, historical context, cultural definition, and other means of study that speak to the bible and our understanding of God in both academic and personal ways.
In all of this I have discovered something very important: I don’t have God figured out and I never will. I daresay neither does or will anyone else for the simple reason that if their finite mind were able to understand the infinite God we claim our belief in, then God would no longer be infinite because we would have explained God. And a God that can be defined and figured out to that degree isn’t much of a God. When it comes to our advances in understanding the ancient text and culture it was written in, we find tools that have gotten better through the years—history, archaeology, anthropology, and other social sciences—and can now open the doors of understanding even wider. Yet even with all that, we are still as Paul says “seeing through a glass darkly” or in other words, seeing shadows of things but not the thing itself.
I thought about all this considering the passage from a week ago from Romans 14,
Welcome the person who is weak in faith—but not in order to argue about differences of opinion. One person believes in eating everything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Those who eat must not look down on the ones who don’t, and the ones who don’t eat must not judge the ones who do, because God has accepted them. Who are you to judge someone else’s servants? They stand or fall before their own Lord (and they will stand, because the Lord has the power to make them stand). One person considers some days to be more sacred than others, while another person considers all days to be the same. Each person must have their own convictions. Someone who thinks that a day is sacred, thinks that way for the Lord. Those who eat, eat for the Lord, because they thank God. And those who don’t eat, don’t eat for the Lord, and they thank the Lord too. We don’t live for ourselves and we don’t die for ourselves. If we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we belong to God. This is why Christ died and lived: so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living. But why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you look down on your brother or sister? We all will stand in front of the judgment seat of God. Because it is written,
As I live, says the Lord, every knee will bow to me, and every tongue will give praise to God.
So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.
I say all that to simply say this: don’t be quick to pass judgement on what you think you know when none of us knows nearly enough. What might seem clear and direct to our understanding may not be so much so if we were better informed of had better tools to work with. Our experience may give us insight into our way of seeing but it cannot give us complete insight into all things otherwise, we’d be God. Be patient with those who disagree with you. Be encouraging to those who, like you are still walking their path on their journey. Be open to instruction from the Holy Spirit, even it means learning things you may not have always thought of in that way.

 
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.
On Sunday, September13, we had the honor of 5 of our 7 confirmands to join the church. Alaina Anderson, Abbigail Conwell, Gavin Love, Will Moseley, and Kaylee Snipes formally joined the Zion Church Family, The final 2 confirmands will join at a later date. Thanks be to God for His blessings on us here at 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.

The flowers for this Homecoming Sunday are
being placed as follows:
Happy 150th birthday to Zion! 
Desmond Tutu said, “You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.” 
Thank you, God for bringing us together as one church
family and guide us as we continue to do Your Work. Amen!
The Council on Ministries is asked to meet on Sunday, September 27 at 5:00 pm in the TFLC. Everyone is asked to wear masks and to sit socially distant. Committee members are Keli Thomas, Dianne Sweatt, Missy Snipes, Carol Cauthen, Barbara Hall, Terry Robinson, Diane Rape, Earl Hinson, Jimmy Neal, Sharon Haile, Hazel Robinson, Jeffrey Thomas, and Brooke Collins.
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 lmjarrell@umcsc.org or zionumc@comporium.net; 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 www.zionumc.com
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 17: James Mackey
September 18: Anna Massey, Adam Fields
September 19: Dale Jenkins
September 20: Ryan Griffin, Josh Moree
September 21: Mr. and Mrs. Micah Seegars
September 22: Sydney Cauthen
September 23: Bethany Hayes
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, www.zionumc.com 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!
TOGETHER, WE ARE the CHURCH!!
Special Gifts to Zion Church
In Honor of:
In loving honor of Carol Cauthen by Max and Myra Funderburk
Barbara Hall and Carol Cauthen by Mary P. Knight

In Memory of:
Chris Crook, Gary Weathersbee, Patsy Plyler, and James Rollings by Mary P. Knighta

Special Gifts to Building Fund:
In Memory of:
Michael Walters on his birthday September 14 by Frances Parris
BIRTHDAY CLUB
In Honor of Harris Plyler Love, Libby, JoJo and Alicia
The Record Speaks....
September 13, 2020

Present for Worship: 74
Needed each week for the General Fund $4,360
Received for General Fund $2,577
Received for Building Fund $28.50

"...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 - www.zionumc.com
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