March 2020                                                                                                                              

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



A Note From Our Pastor

Cindy recently posted a note on the Facebook page for our subdivision which has received much favorable attention. I would like to share her comments with edits to reflect Zion UMC (I love to share a good idea and I can save myself some time coming up with thoughts of my own).

During the month of March, I get so excited about the upcoming NCAA basketball tournament, particularly as our family again competes with one another for the coveted Blakley Bunch March Madness trophy (for having the best tournament bracket).

My mind began wandering from March Madness to how great it would be to see our church community celebrate “March Gladness.”  March Gladness is when you introduce yourself to others and talk about the good things that are going on in your life. March Gladness is when you share the love of Christ by letting others know the joy you feel in your heart. Let’s extend ourselves for just a moment, say hello and seek to make a new acquaintance. Too often, we can feel so comfortable around established friends that we are reluctant to create new relationships.  Too often, we are reluctant to share the “Good News.” Church is a wonderful place for our entire community and the joy of God’s love is a gift we should be willing to share. So, with welcoming others on our minds and gladness in our hearts, let’s make March the month we intentionally practice, hospitality, kindness, and friendliness with others. Smile! Communicate! Be genuinely welcoming! And share the joy! March Gladness. Let’s do it.


Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with joyful singing. (Psalms 100:2)




Zion UMC will hold its annual Easter Sunrise Service on Sunday, April 12th, at the Pavilion for the Spotsylvania Courthouse Village.  The service will be at 6:30 a.m.  The service is open to the public, so please share the news and invite your friends.



I would speculate that if you’re asked to name your favorite hymn, you would have several to consider and it might ultimately be impossible to decide.  After all, there are so many Methodist hymns that inspire our faith and touch our hearts.  This is a historical summary of one of my favorite hymns.

Robert Robinson was only eight years old when his father passed away in 1743. His unfortunate circumstances were compounded when his wealthy grandfather disinherited his grandson because the grandfather disapproved of his daughter’s marriage to Robert’s father.  So, Robert worked hard through his childhood, gathering firewood to sell to others in his village and for his family’s own use.  He worked other odd jobs and had little time to study.

When Robert was about twelve years old, he began his occupational life as a barber.  It wasn’t an easy life, and he endured many hardships supporting his mother on meager wages in his hometown of Norfolk, England.  But despite the unfortunate circumstances Robert faced, he began to dedicate his free time to study and became quite enlightened through self-education.

While still a young man he became attracted to the great evangelist, George Whitfield.  After listening to a Whitfield sermon on December 10, 1755, Robert became unable to turn his thoughts from a phrase the famous preacher used “Oh, my hearest”.

The years passed and Robinson began to separate from the church and became unstable and depressed. His Christian beliefs and Christian studies moved from the front of his life to lesser importance roles. One day he found himself as a passenger on a stagecoach with a young lady. History tells us that she attempted to break the monotony of the ride by singing Come, Thou fount of every blessing.

When she finished singing the young woman asked Robinson what he thought about the song.  His startling reply was: “Madam, I am the unhappy man who wrote that hymn many years ago; and, I would give a thousand worlds, if I had them, if I could feel now as I felt then.”………..

I am unable to enjoy music as I once did, before my sudden and extensive hearing loss about ten years ago. But there are some songs I am still able to have an appreciative memory about.  Come thy fount is one of those songs.

If you have time, I encourage you to google Buddy Greens version on YouTube.  It is still beautiful to my defective hearing and I am sure you will feel the warmth of his rendition.

Tune my heart to sing Thy grace.

Dennis Gallahan



The Nurture-Education Committee of Zion UMC is responsible for coordinating member care and in coordination the educational experiences.

For member care, the following individuals are responsible for sending cards:

Illness – Cherie Sweazy

Sympathy – Karen Robison

Thinking of You – Vivien Richardson

Missing You – Karen Robison

For the educational experience, the following individuals are responsible:

Adult Sunday School – Maxine Hulon

Youth and Nursery – Nancy Hicks, Karen Robison, and Sue Chamberlin



The UMW has asked for help in collecting a special giving for A Call to Prayer and Self-Denial funds. Women, children, and youth across the world have felt the love of God through these funds. Money has been given by countless women gathered in circles of care. As UMW members, we bow to meet God in prayer and meditation, then rise to give sacrificially so that God’s vision of an abundant and beloved community for all can be realized.  The kingdom comes not only for those who receive financial gifts through A Call for Prayer and Self-Denial, but the kingdom comes to us as we live into the light of God’s vision for humanity, of mutuality, and of seeing one’s self in the eyes of another. Special giving envelopes for A Call to Prayer and Self-Denial can be found on the table in the Narthex of the Sanctuary.



The Trustees are planning to hold its annual Low Country Boil on Saturday, April 25th.  Ticket sales will start soon for Adults ($15.00) and Children 12 and under ($7.00). More information on how you can help with food donations will be provided in the near future, but the list of anticipated donations is provided below:

30 lbs small potatoes

33 lbs kielbasa sausage

130 small corn on the cob

55 lbs shrimp peeled

1/2 c. cajun or old bay seasoning

Ice tea 6 gals. (Instant)

Bottled water



Condiments, including mustard, hot sauce, cocktail sauce

Four 5-gallon buckets (to carry boil from outside)

Heavy duty plates

Small dessert plates

Plastic utensils (knives, forks, and spoons)

Plastic cups


Take out containers
Thank you for your help with this fundraiser.



The Food Pantry continues serving about 45 families each month. Approximately 24 pounds of non-perishable food items are provided each month. The Holidays were particularly successful in that donations enabled us to provide turkeys, roaster hens or hams to each family on both Thanksgiving and Christmas. These special offerings also covered all Christmas for Others families.

We will be supporting the Heartwood Summer feeding program this summer. We will need both labor and monetary gifts to offset costs for one weekend effort (TBD). We will have more details by May. Doug Clark is our point of contact.

Financially, the pantry has been well supported for many years. We are well set for the remainder of this year but we will need an extra $1,000 as we enter next year. We ask that each of you prayerfully consider an extra gift during the next 9 months to make sure we enter 2021 in good financial shape. We will also apply for grants that may be available. Should you have any questions, please contact Bill Crislip.



On Sunday, April 26th, the Zion UMW will host a “Shower for the Shelter” to benefit the Thurman Brisben Center and you are invited.  Following 11:00 a.m. worship, there will be a Potluck Luncheon and time of fellowship.  At that time items will be collected for delivery to the Center. The Thurman Brisben Center is a full-service residential emergency homeless shelter serving the area. The Center offers homeless individuals and families an onsite safe and structured program to help them achieve and maintain self-sufficiency and independence. A "Wish List" of items will be available for your review on the table in the rear of the Sanctuary. For further information contact Vivien Richardson or Dianne Williams.



February Operating Expenses:  $9,862.13

February Income:  $6,028

YTD Operating Expenses:  $19,194.42

YTD Tithes/Offering: $13,160.60

Weekly Average: $1,645

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

Minutes of Admin. Council meeting

Held on February 4th, 2020

In Attendance:

Arlene Crislip (Chair); Bill Crislip; Pastor Barry Blakley; Karen Robison; Lisa Hockman; Linda Struebing; Sue Rauch; Betty Gelfuso; Sue Chamberlin; Diana Wolfrey; Walter Rawls; Vivien Richardson.  Observer: Libby Hall.

Arlene welcomed all, especially new members Sue Rauch and Diana Wolfrey, to the meeting.

Minutes of December 2019 meeting:

Betty motioned to approve the December minutes, as amended.  Lisa seconded, all agreed.


Arlene advised us the committee were meeting on Friday afternoon to discuss Lenten arrangements.  Pastor Barry said the Lenten schedule will be included in the bulletin this coming Sunday. Zion UMC will host the Lenten luncheon on March 4th.  Five local UM churches are involved with the Lent Wednesday services.


The 2020 Outreach committee consists of Diana Wolfrey and Glenda Payne.  Diana gave an outline of activities the committee had discussed Zion UMC might entertain during this year.

·       Soft yoga.  Diana has contacted Missy Jarman who is willing to hold classes but wishes to check our facilities.  People would pay the fee each time they come to the class.  It could be advertised to people outside the church also.

·       As well as our annual Fireman/EMT/Police Appreciation ministry, it was suggested we could extend the appreciation collection to SPCA.

·       Diana is negotiating a meal discount with El Patron management for Food Pantry workers after FP on the third Thursday of the month.

·       Wondered if a gun safety course (including concealed permit), would be appreciated by Zion members. Pastor Barry said he would check with the VA Conference on whether we can allow a person to bring a weapon into church.

·       Diana will check with the Fire Department about a class on CPR. There was mention of obtaining a defibrillator machine for the church.

·       Could have an auction later in the year as a fundraiser for the church.

·       The three main Outreach activities during 2020 will be Easter Sunrise Service, Blessing of the Animals and Fireman/EMT/Police events.


Sue reported 29 attendees during January at adult Sunday School.  $72 was collected during Sunday School classes.  Karen is now coordinator of the Nursery while Sue will take over the Youth Sunday School.


Lisa reported the Food Pantry and clothes closet is going well although, after serving approx. 60 clients during Nov. and Dec., the number dropped to 40 in January.

UMW will coordinate the Lenten luncheon on March 4th.  At their January meeting, UMW planned their activities for 2020.

Lay Leader:

In the absence of Richard Reichert who is sick, Bill (who is filling in for Richard), said Dennis Gallahan will be Lay Leader while Bill is away for the next two weeks.


Linda reported:

·       She and Dennis Gallahan met the Spotsylvania County Museum curator, Terry Dougherty, to transfer Zion UMC’s civil war sword to be displayed at the museum for the next 3 years. If Zion wishes to borrow the sword for an event at the church during these 3 years, that will be possible. This event was mentioned in the Free Lance Star.  The new museum will open in February.

·       Tru-Green have been contracted to care for the cemetery trees.

·       A walk-through of the parsonage was conducted by Trustees to assess the needs and maintenance projected during the next five years to enable budget planning.

·       The classroom thermostat was corrected.

·       Purchased a portable heater (with thermostat and timer), for the church office.

·       Next Trustees meeting will be on Feb. 9th, 2020.

SPR (has been renamed Pastor Parish Relations):

Walter informed the Council of the renaming of SPR.  He said he will chair for 2020 and Sue Rauch will chair in 2021. As a result of mutual agreement, Pastor Barry will remain at Zion UMC for another year. Sue, Donna Lloyd and Glenda Payne attended the PPR training seminar held at Hillcrest UMC.


Karen elaborated on the transfer of the sword at the museum.  She had alerted Free Lance Star about the event on Jan 15th and so they sent a reporter, Cathy Dyson, to report on the event. Subsequently, there was an article in the paper notifying Spotsylvania citizens about the sword at the museum.

Hunger Ministries:

Bill reported he will be checking during the year for Food Pantry grants.


Betty reported the total budget for 2020 is $107,621.00.  She distributed the 2020 Budget sheet to the Admin Council members for their consideration.  After budget obligations are met, $20,000 (mostly from parsonage rent), is available for unexpected expenses. Arlene asked which budget line the kitchen supplies would be taken from – Betty said Church/Office Supplies.

Walter motioned to accept the 2020 budget as presented by Betty.  Bill seconded, all agreed.

After passing round the January 2020 Financial Report, Betty suggested she email the monthly Financial Report to Admin Council members prior to the next meeting: this was agreed upon.  The last page of the Report reflects our deposits. “Preservation” is now included in “Capital Fund”. Betty will be attending a Finance training session on Thursday.

Pastor News:

Barry asked committee coordinators to submit a short paragraph on their area of concern to the newsletter: a different committee coordinator each month.

He would like the S.S./tithes/general offerings income for the month to be included in the monthly newsletter as well as in the Sunday bulletins, also the expenses for that month. He would like congregants to be made more aware of what income is being received by the church.

Barry reminded us of the prayer meeting for Richard after this meeting.

Old Business

1.         Karen is now the Nursery Coordinator.  Lisa mentioned acquiring age-appropriate toys.  Karen asked if a mural could be painted on one of the nursery walls and the furniture, etc. in the nursery be updated.  Arlene suggested a sub-committee be formed to help Karen. Betty mentioned a person connected to one of the memorial funds suggested the fund could be used for the nursery.

2.         Ministry Activities and Missions Outreach for 2020. Before sending the sheet to be included in the Feb. newsletter the following amendments should be made:

·       Delete “Trunk or Treat” activity;

·       Add coordinators Worship & Outreach for “Easter Sunrise Service”;

·       Add Worship & Outreach as helpers for “The Christmas Story Comes Alive”.

Arlene asked if there was anyone who had a pickup truck or similar vehicle which could transport chairs from the Fellowship Hall to the Pavilion for the Easter service (this would entail picking up the chairs on Sat. evening and transporting them before the service Sunday morning).

3.         The Christmas Story Comes Alive. Arlene generally received positive feedback. Comments were made that the actors should practice more before the service (there was really no practice time in 2019), and it would be more effective if they could stay up the front for a bit longer. Also, might be helpful if the actors could be fed before the service. Arlene asked if the wooden stable we used at the Pavilion in years past could be set up outside the church a couple of days before the Christmas Story Comes Alive.

4.         District Meeting.  Pastor Barry reported on the Protocol for Separation announced last year.  A District meeting has been planned. General consensus is, even though the protocol will be presented in May, there is no certainty it will pass.  Some districts will hold prayer vigils prior to the Conference to help participants choose wisely.  If the vote is for inclusion, then the conservative congregations would leave the main body of United Methodists.  Most of the local UM churches are saying “all are welcome”.  Global Methodists are not in favor.  The split could impact the money given to the global church.  Some districts are taking a “wait and see” approach.  If you have any questions, please see Barry.

New Business

Pastor Barry mentioned he appreciates the way the church has rallied during the last six weeks where there have been two deaths and serious illness issues.

Pastor Barry prayed us out of the meeting.

Next meeting:  March 3rd, 2020 at 5pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Vivien Richardson

Recording Secretary