May 2020                                                                                                                              

"The mission of the Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world." 


 A Note From Our Pastor

I love to read Max Lucado.  He has a way of taking simple stories and common life events and putting them into an interesting perspective about God and God’s world.  My latest inspiration from him comes from: God’s Roadmap for New Beginnings – Let the Journey Begin.  Max tells the story of the boy who fell out of bed.  When his mom asked him what happened, the little boy replied, “I’m not sure.  I guess I stayed too close to where I got in.”

Max goes on to describe how that is the same way with our faith.  We become comfortable with where we are and we never move.  In other words, we stay too close to where we got in.  Max asks the reader to consider a time in the not-too-distant past, such as simply a year or two ago.  He then poses a number of challenging questions, such as:  How does our prayer life compare with then?  How about our giving?  How about our church loyalty, bible study, or our outreach?

Following Jesus is a journey and our goal as Christians is to continue to grow.  The challenging questions above simply are things to consider as part of our growth.  We often use phrases like grow, change, or get out of our comfort zone, but too many of us make the mistake of the little boy and stay too close to where we got in.

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen. (2 Peter 3:18)




I thought I would share these thoughts on being Methodist by Garrison Keillor (from a previous thought for the day).

We make fun of Methodists for their blandness, their excessive calm, their fear of giving offense, their lack of speed, and also for their secret fondness for macaroni and cheese.

But nobody sings like them. If you were to ask an audience in New York City, a relatively Methodist-less place, to sing along on the chorus of "Michael Row the Boat Ashore," they will look daggers at you as if you had asked them to strip to their underwear. But if you do this among Methodists, they'd smile and row that boat ashore and up on the beach! And down the road!

Many Methodists are bred from childhood to sing in four-part harmony, a talent that comes from sitting on the lap of someone singing alto or tenor or bass and hearing the harmonic intervals by putting your little head against that person's rib cage.

It's natural for Methodists to sing in harmony. We are too modest to be soloists, too worldly to sing in unison. When you're singing in the key of C and you slide into the A7th and D7th chords, all two hundred of you, it's an emotionally fulfilling moment. By our joining in harmony, we somehow promise that we will not forsake each other.

I do believe this: People, these Methodists, who love to sing in four-part harmony are the sort of people you can call up when you're in deep distress.

*If you're dying, they will comfort you.

*If you are lonely, they'll talk to you.

*And if you are hungry, they'll give you tuna salad.

*Methodists believe in prayer, but would practically die if asked to pray out loud.

*Methodists like to sing, except when confronted with a new hymn or a hymn with more than four stanzas.

*Methodists believe their pastors will visit them in the hospital, even if they don't notify them that they are there.

*Methodists usually follow the official liturgy and will feel it is their way of suffering for their sins.

*Methodists believe in miracles and even expect miracles, especially during their stewardship visitation programs or when passing the plate.

*Methodists think that the Bible forbids them from crossing the aisle while passing the peace.

*Methodists drink coffee as if it were the Third Sacrament.

*Methodists feel guilty for not staying to clean up after their own wedding reception in the Fellowship Hall.

*Methodists are willing to pay up to one dollar for a meal at the church.

*Methodists still serve Jell-O in the proper liturgical color of the season and think that peas in a tuna casserole adds too much color.

*Methodists believe that it is OK to poke fun at themselves and never take themselves too seriously.

And finally,

+ You know you are a Methodist when: it's 100 degrees, with 90% humidity, and you still have coffee after the service.

+ You hear something funny during the sermon and smile as loudly as you can.

+ Donuts are a line item in the church budget, just like coffee.

+ When you watch a Star Wars movie and they say, "May the Force be with you," and you respond, "and also with you."

+ And lastly, it takes ten minutes to say good-bye!



April; Operating Expenses:  $5,137.37

April Income:  $13,204

YTD Operating Expenses:  $31,428.22

YTD Tithes/Offering: $32,139.60

Weekly Average: $1,890

Weekly Needed:  $2,100

Any questions please contact:  Betty Carter-Gelfuso, Finance Chair



The June Session of Virginia Annual Conference has been postponed.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the June 2020 session of the Virginia Annual Conference has been postponed until September 18 -19, 2020.  Information regarding the location of the September 2020 Annual Conference is forthcoming.


Reminder about Admin. Council Notes:  Minutes are provided in the newsletter once they have been approved.  Keep in mind that this occurs during the meeting for the following month.


Zion United Methodist Church

CARES Act: Aid for the Local Church

Emergency Admin Meeting conducted via email

on April 3, 2020

Admin Council Chair, Arlene Crislip, forwarded via email to Admin Council members, the information on CARES Act which is specifically for churches who need some financial assistance during this time of Corona Virus quarantine.  A highlight of this Act is the loan can be forgiven.  The Council members were asked for immediate response because the date of filing is today, April 3rd, 2020.  (A secondary question about online giving was included, but that will be discussed during our online meeting next week.)



Betty Gelfuso motioned Zion UMC Finance and Trustee officers apply for a loan from the CARES Act.  Arlene Crislip seconded.  Members Walter Rawls, Sue Rauch Glenda Payne, Karen Robison, Vivien Richardson, Lisa Hockman and Sue Chamberlin agreed.  The motion was carried.

Zion United Methodist Church

Online Admin. Council Meeting held

via Zoom app. on April 7th, 2020



Arlene Crislip (Chair); Pastor Barry Blakley; Betty Gelfuso; Karen Robinson; Walter Rawls; Lisa Hockman; Sue Chamberlin; Richard Reichert; Linda Struebing; Sue Rauch; Vivien Richardson.


Minutes of March 3rd, 2020 meeting

There were no corrections or amendments made to the minutes emailed yesterday.  The March 3rd, 2020 minutes were approved as transcribed.



Walter mentioned the Paycheck Protection Program offered to small businesses, which includes churches under the IRS classification 503(c)(3). The PPP will cover 2-2½ months of employees’ salaries.  This loan will be forgiven so long as the employers do not lay off their employees during this time. Walter commended Betty for working hard on this application last weekend to submit it as soon as possible.  This topic had been emailed separately to Admin Council members on Apr. 3rd at which time the Council voted to go forward with the application for PPP.


There was a second part of the District’s email dated Apr. 3rd asking if we wished to join in the VA Conference’s online giving program. The majority vote of Admin Council members present was not to participate. Walter said the best way for people (if they didn’t wish to give via the offertory plate), was via bill pay.


We were informed the June VA Annual Conference has been postponed until September 2020.


A family had donated $4,000 in March which they wished at the time to be put toward Zion UMC’s loan.  They have been contacted and have agreed to have this money put to other expenses if needed.


Family Memorials

Joyce and Dennis Fairbanks memorial: In consideration of Joyce’s love of music, her family agreed to use the money to purchase a new computer on which our UMC hymnal music could be stored.  Any money left over will be used for the nursery.


Marjorie Peterson’s memorial:  Marjorie’s family have agreed to use the funds to update the office computer. Again, the remainder will be put towards updating the nursery.


Team reports:

Since the beginning of March and for the foreseeable future, most of the US population has been under a stay-at-home request because of Covid-19. Consequently, many of Zion UMC’s usual activities have had to be postponed or canceled.



Diana Wolfrey sent report saying there was nothing to report this month.


Nurture and Education:

Sue reported 11 attendances at Sunday School since our last meeting.  $36 had been collected during that time.

The number of cards sent out since January is approximately 40.

She is still collecting cancelled stamps [cut ¼ inch around the stamp].


Lay Leader:

Richard is anticipating returning to Spotsylvania by the end of April.


Trustees report:

Linda emailed her report:

·       Re-set the classroom thermostat: it is working.  Adjusted all thermostats for non-use during March and April.

·       Cleared the wood and bricks from the church garden and cut the grass in the field.  We are looking for Zion UMC volunteers to cut the grass in the back field only for the remainder of 2020.  Please contact Linda at 540-295-6228 or, if you are interested to be put on a scheduling list.

·       Installed the second refrigerator in the church kitchen. Both refrigerators have been donated: a. Stacy and the hamburger/hotdog donations collected at the 2019 Sale Trail and b. Lisa and George Hockman.

·       Installed weatherproof, locking mailbox to keep regular mail, including checks, safe. Keys are required to remove the mail. Mailbox was donated by Linda Struebing.

·       Prepared annual parsonage review report for May 3 filing with the District Office.



As reported previously by Walter, our pianist, Alex, has taken another position and will be at her new appointment before we return to church.  We wish her well.

Will begin searching for a new pianist when Zion UMC is open and church finances are healthier.


Hunger Ministries:

Food Pantry will be open on April 16th on a drive-by basis.



Betty had earlier emailed to Admin Council members the monthly financial report sheets for March and also the update below:

·       Starting in April we will only be paying the district apportionments and not the conference apportionments for now.  This will save us $1,245.  We have received information from the district that apportionments will change due to the Covid-19 pandemic (not sure when that update will happen).

·       In March we received a $4,000 donation for loan reduction and was going to put that amount straight to principal for the March 24th payment. Since the pandemic, I was able to contact the family and ask if the money could be used for payments during this rough time instead of going to loan reduction. They were delighted I had asked and said however it can best be used! Therefore, we will be making the payment from the loan reduction line for five months and not use the budget line.

·       With approval from finance advisory, we have been lucky enough to hire a new payroll company (Ministry Works), who will charge less than what we pay now and, also, everything will be electronic.  Pay will be deposited right into staff accounts monthly.  There will be no need for handwritten checks twice a month.  All tax filing will be electronic, and they will do State as well as Federal taxes (which our current company would not). Payment will come directly from the checking account.

·       I have officially applied for the payroll protection program loan.  It is on a first come, first serve basis. If we are approved, it will cover eight weeks payroll as a forgiven loan.

Pastor Barry asked if there were any more comments or business to report before we sign off.  There were none.


Next Meeting: May 5th, 2020 and 5pm

Respectfully submitted,

Vivien Richardson

Recording Secretary