September 2020                                                                                                                              

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


A Note From Our Pastor


Unless you have been living under a rock, you probably have noticed that we have an election coming in November.  Listening to many of the lively conversations about the election, it is evident that there are differences in opinions and these different perspectives often lead to arguments, if not verbal confrontations.  It has been observed that politics causes more serious disagreements between friends (and often family) than any other topic.  When I think about these political discussions, there is a passage from Paul’s letter to Titus that comes to mind:


But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.  (Titus 3:9)


I could make a lighthearted comment about “foolish controversies” associated with many discussions about politics, but certain beliefs about politics are not a “laughing” matter to some people.  There is something deeply personal about these political beliefs and that is why discussing politics too often leads to angry words and bitter feelings.


But just as political beliefs are deeply personal, our life in Christ also is deeply personal.  We need to remember that Christ did not come to save us for our political beliefs; he came as a sacrifice for our sins and he is calling us to follow him.  So, when it comes to discussing the election, keep in mind what deeply personal beliefs are truly (and eternally) important and remind yourself you are voting for Christ by trying to be one of his disciples.


Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.  Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.  Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children.  And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.               (Ephesians 4:31 – 5:2)







Neither rain, nor snow, nor pandemic can keep the dedicated Zion Quilters from their mission.  The quilters continue to meet and they have been very productive.  This past month, the quilters prepared 51 quilts that were donated to Project Linus.  As a reminder, Project Linus is named after the after the popular Peanuts characters and used the quilts to provide love and security for seriously ill, or children in need.  Many children find comfort in a ‘blankie’, and Project Linus delivers the quilts to hospitals, shelters, social service agencies, or anywhere else love is needed.  Special thanks to the Zion Quilters.




The monthly food pantry continues to serve clients (individuals and families) each month.  While following safe and healthy practices, the food pantry provides a carton of food with canned and boxed food items to area residents.  These items are supplemented with other items as available, including bread, fresh vegetables, and frozen foods.  Currently, the food pantry is helping approximately 30 clients per month.


In addition to the food pantry, Zion UMC offers a clothes closet providing, shirts, blouses, pants, skirts, dresses, sweaters, coats, shoes, and toiletries.  Donations are always welcome.  As fall approaches and the days become cooler, the demand for coats and sweaters will increase.  Please keep the clothes closet in mind for your donations.






We had a very successful collection of items for the recent Micah breakfast and a delivery including 60 breakfast meals with pancakes and sausage.   We want to extend a special thank you to the Zion Church family for the many donations.  Zion always goes big when helping the homeless.


Donna and I experienced the entire process that the Micah volunteers have been able to maintain every day for the homeless through covid-19.  We assisted delivering meals to the temporary motel location on Princess Anne Street.  This location also includes homeless folks, that are registered with Micah, and walk up to this location to receive meals but will not stay at the motel.


Chelsea Morse, Micah Event Coordinator, will share with Zion church the progress Micah has made with additional programs and reaching goals made possible by groups such as Zion church.


Thanks everyone again!  This is an outstanding mission to be a part of reaching out to this community.


The next fifth Monday Micah breakfast is November 30, which is right after Thanksgiving. Please mark your calendars and I will follow up as we get closer to that date.


Linda Struebing

Micah breakfast coordinator





At the Charge Conference, Zion UMC was recognized for paying both the district apportionments in full and the conference apportionments in full.  This is quite an honor.  There are very few churches in the conference that pay 100% of their apportionments.  Finances can be tight and people (and churches) are forced to make some difficult financial decisions.  But just as we pay to “Caesar what is Caesar’s,” we also need to pay to God what is God’s.  Zion UMC stepped up and did that in 2019.  Congratulations!!


This year the financial challenges for individuals, and churches, have been extraordinary.  Many people have had to live with smaller pay checks, if not unemployment.  The pandemic has created an atmosphere of uncertainty and it has forced us all to examine our priorities.  Giving to Zion UMC is down considerable from what was expected in planning the annual budget.  Keep in mind, the Administrative Council was cautious in developing the 2020 budget and the budget was reduced by over 10% from the previous year.  Even in consideration of a lesser amount needed to balance the budget, the weekly average has been over $400 less that what was anticipated (see Finance Corner for details).  The church has done an outstanding job of monitoring expenses during these difficult financial times, but Zion UMC is way behind in paying its apportionments.  Please give prayerful consideration to paying to God what is God’s and giving generously for the remainder of the year.





August Operating Expenses:  $8,511.29


August Income:  $4,335


YTD Operating Expenses:  $56,779.55


YTD Tithes/Offering: $58,693.35


Weekly Average: $1,677


Weekly Needed:  $2,100



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




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

Admin. Council meeting

Held Aug. 11th, 2020


In Attendance:

Arlene Crislip (Chair); Pastor Barry Blakley; Bill Crislip; Walter Rawls; Richard Reichert; Sue Rauch; Betty Gelfuso; Linda Struebing; Karen Robison; Sue Chamberlin; Vivien Richardson

Observer: Libby Hall.


Arlene welcomed all to the meeting.  Pastor Barry offered prayers for all people connected to Zion who are having medical difficulties at this time.


Minutes of July meeting: July’s minutes had been circulated earlier via email. Walter approved the minutes as recorded, Arlene seconded, all present agreed.



Sue and Arlene had met to discuss arrangements under Healthy Church Team (HCT) guidelines.



No report. Activities are suspended because of Covid-19.


Lay Leader

Richard said he has been continuing to work with Pastor Barry.



Sue sent the following report:

·       During the two Saturdays Adult Sunday School had met since last meeting, there were 11 attendances and $17.25 had been collected.

·       Youth are still receiving worksheets on the Old Testament.

·       Cards are continuing to be mailed out.



Lisa Hockman couldn’t attend the meeting but sent the following report:

·       Some quilters are still meeting once a week.  Libby was making masks for the 208 Sale Trail but the UMW decided to skip this year due to Covid issues and the Charge Conference meeting being at Zion on the same day.

·       UMW has paid this year’s dues and still have some money to spare at this time.


Food Pantry

Bill reported we are still experiencing lower than expected attendance at Food Pantry.  One reason could be that Fredericksburg Food Bank is offering food boxes each week which may be why we aren’t getting so many clients.  He said there had been fewer store donations but the load we are expecting tomorrow does have more donated items.  Financially we are doing okay.

Coat closet is back in operation - a great benefit.



Linda reported:

·       Prior parsonage tenants moved out on July 31st. The utility bills have reverted to Zion UMC charge. Advertised for new tenants at $1500/month, received 3 responses. Married couple have been approved and will be moving in on Aug. 21st. The first rental deposit will be October 1st and will reflect prorated rental from Aug. 21st. Trustees have done any necessary repairs and repainting needed at parsonage.

·       Still considering holding a Low Country Boil when we are able.

·       The a/c in the trailer needs repair. The Hockman’s have been working on it.

·       After question by Richard, Linda said the fence which surrounded the dismantled playground is in storage and could be used again.



Walter reported via email “the PPR committee had made their recommendations for the Charge Conference. Our recommendations are as follows:

1.     Continue with a ¾ time Pastor.

2.     Give the Pastor a 3% cost of living raise.

3.     Keep the reimbursable account the same; and

4.     Keep the housing allowance the same.



Karen reported she has been receiving donations for the Coat Closet. She and Nancy Hicks meet occasionally to arrange the racks before each Food Pantry. During Coat Closet they give purple hangers, with Zion’s streaming information for Sunday services, to the clients who take clothes.


Karen wondered if we could advertise Zion UMC via, say, a flyer to residents in Spotsylvania’s new developments.  After discussion, a consensus was agreed we could mailout to the Keswick senior apts.


Motion:  Bill moved we support the Keswick senior apartments mailing.  Sue seconded, all agreed.  The motion was carried.



Betty reported via email:

1.     Since we make deposits on Friday during the pandemic, we had five in July, which gives the impression giving is up. However, there will be five Sundays in August, so it all evens out.

2.     If you notice, we have started paying the conference part of the apportionments again and will continue to increase a little each month to pay by December.

3.     We also started paying the extra on the loan from loan reduction this month. July is the last month I will be paying the loan out of loan reduction from the donation.

4.     The audit is being done by the finance chair at Hillcrest (who has an audit background), and their finance secretary.  Even though it was on a volunteer basis, a gift card of $150 each was purchased for when the audit is complete: that is well within the budget guidelines.

5.     I have added the Technology fund raiser in pink at the bottom of the attached report.  Looks like enough will be raised before the Low Country Boil in October.


Betty added at the Admin. Council meeting that one comment from the auditors was our counters’ and Amanda’s finance sheets should match.




Pastor News

Pastor Barry said he has been getting ready for Charge Conference which will be held Sept. 12th.  Reports need to be received by then.  He distributed the 2021 Lay Leadership Team list. There was one change: PPR Chair will be Christine Braxton and not Donna Lloyd.


Motion: Walter made a motion to accept the 2021 Lay Leadership Team list with change at PPR Chair. Linda seconded, all agreed.   [On Wed Aug 12th, it was announced via email Walter Rawls would be Treasurer instead of Dianne Williams.]


Barry then distributed the list of “Names to be Removed – First Year”, “Names to be removed by Death” and “Names to be removed by Transfer to a non-United Methodist Church”.  He would like us to look over the First Year Names to be Removed for any information about the members listed and let him know our findings.  He will give us a revised list at September’s meeting to vote on.  Walter thanked whoever was responsible for compiling the list as it mustn’t have been easy. [Angelia Yonts and Barry]


New/Old Business


Technology: Barry updated us on the latest in our quest to update our Sunday service experience.  $4,000 has been donated. Tim Alger has offered a proposal: two tvs and two stands for the tvs.  Tim has spoken to Tabernacle UMC technicians with the result he says we need a camera and other electronic materials also.  He will compose a proposal when he has finished his research.  Tim also said he could install the equipment. Barry said we would need a list of volunteers to run the technology each service – at least two to rotate on Sundays.


HCT: Arlene said Sue has created signs to remind us of hygiene regulations when we return to services in Stage 3.  Gloves will be provided for the people who will be required to wear them.  Barry said there is a new stipulation about contact tracing, but Zion will not have a formal contact tracing procedure due to HIPAA concerns.


Mail-out to target groups: Arlene had, about two weeks ago, emailed to Admin Council members a questionnaire as to which age groups we should contact first. It was thought the 50+ age range and see if we receive any responses.  Karen will mail the first set of flyers to Keswick Senior apts. We need to think of activity ideas, such as yoga, to encourage them to come to Zion.


Mini-meetings during Covid: It was suggested we could arrange to meet with a few people on the church grounds to reconnect. We would bring our own chairs and snacks. Will try to set up meetings once the weather is cooler.


Pastor Barry gave the closing prayer.

Next Meeting: September 8th, 5pm.


Respectfully submitted

Vivien Richardson

Recording Secretary