Weekly Update!

Welcome to our weekly update, which is planned to arrive weekly on Tuesday or Wednesday. If anyone you know would like to receive the update, please direct them to

Worship services and gatherings have been suspended indefinitely at Gray UMC, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  This includes all Sunday School, children and youth activities, and Bible Studies.  Please watch our worship service on Facebook starting at 10:30 am Sundays.  We will update with more information as it becomes available.  Thank you!

 Click here to be taken to our Facebook Page. 

You do NOT have to sign up with Facebook to view our media.  
The Importance of Theology

       It’s so true.  I sometimes listen to T.V. evangelistic preachers just to keep in touch with what’s out there.  Some of what I see is good, and some of what I see is, well, anything but good.  Take the time I heard one of them say, “We don’t need theology.  We have God’s Bible.  The Bible is from God.  Theology is from man.”  

       Well, we do have the Bible, but theology plays an important role in what we do with the Bible.  Let’s say I take the Bible off my table, open it, read it, get a hard word of correction or a warm feeling from it (or both), close it, put it back down on the table from where I first picked it up.  Then go about my day as if I never read it.  Yes, I can do that with the Bible.  But if I want to follow what it says, then I must practice theology, which is interpreting what God is directing me to do in the Bible.

       C.S. Lewis, Christian apologist from the 20th century, once said of this about the importance of theology: “Theology is like a map… a map based on the experience of hundreds of people who really were in touch with God.”  Lewis says theology is practical and necessary if you want to grow your understanding of God.  This is not to say you can’t have ideas about God if you just read the Bible, but you might have a lot of wrong ones if you don’t know how to interpret the map of Scripture correctly.  In the United Methodist tradition, we encourage people to read the truths revealed in the Bible in the background of knowing all that has been illumined by church tradition, inspired by experience, and confirmed by reason.  To do this is to practice theology.  For John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, he believed that while the Holy Scriptures are primary, the three roles of tradition, experience, and reason are used to correct what may be overzealous or erroneous interpretations of the Bible.

       Today, let me invite you to read the Bible with the eyes of theology as practiced through our understanding of the historic teachings of the church (tradition), the witness of the Holy Spirit working within us (experience), and the impartial use of reason to help us understand the essential truths of the Bible.  Consider it your road map to unlocking the truths found in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.”

Pastor Dennis 

News and Events

What to expect during our Worship time this Sunday


We will worship together ONLINE Only.  This week you will see the video on Facebook as a premiered video at 10:30am, and later on our Vimeo site.

You do not have to be a member of Facebook to watch our media.
Latest news:

To comply with the latest order from Governor Lee, the Church office will be closed to the public starting Monday.  Our Church Staff will be working from home, and the worship staff will film the services.

Should you need to contact the staff, please email Dawn at for a list of phone numbers.
New Opportunities to re-imagine what it means to be the church

In the midst of these unsettled times we have a wonderful opportunity to re-imagine what it means to be the church.  We have several in our community of faith who are especially vulnerable to the effects of the Covid-19 Coronavirus.  In an effort to limit their exposure and vulnerability to the virus it is necessary for them to refrain from visiting food stores, pharmacies etc…  however, this remains a critical need that must be met.  

To address this need we will begin to provide “Shoppers” for these individuals.  If you, or another member of the Gray UMC family you are aware of, would like to take advantage of this ministry you simply need to call Dawn Rambo @ 423-477-3792 between the hours of 9am-2pm Monday through Friday, and she will put you in contact with one of our volunteer “Shoppers.”  Once you have made contact with your “Shopper,” he or she will make arrangements with you to form an item list, payment process, and a plan for drop off.  If you would like to be added as one of our Gray UMC “Shoppers” you need only call Dawn and she’ll add you to the team.  Let us continue to be the church😊 

Financial Giving to the Church

       One of the challenges for churches who do not meet and gather in their sanctuaries for public worship is “how do we support our church financially?”  Many of us still give to the church by placing our offering in the offering plate that gets passed on Sunday.  What do we do now?  Well, let me tell you what not to do first.  Don’t hold your offering and wait until we gather again in public worship in the sanctuary.  We just don’t know how long we will be doing only online worship.  The current suspension is for two Sundays, March 15 and March 22, but given the CDC recommendation for schools to be out 8 weeks, our suspension on services could be elongated.  And there are still bills to be paid and salaries to be paid.  So, what are your options?

       Gray United Methodist Church provides an ONLINE giving option on our website and this may be expanded to our FACEBOOK page, if we can make that happen.  It is easy to use, and you can set it up for one-time gifts or do weekly or bi-weekly or monthly ongoing gifts.


       For those who like to write checks, you can write a check and mail it into the church office.  The office is open Monday – Friday from 9 am to 2 pm.  Here is how you make out your envelope.

Gray United Methodist Church
P O Box 8068
Gray, TN 37615
Attention:  Connie Helton

       Again, the church office is open Monday – Friday from 9 am to 2 pm.  Dawn Rambo is the Administrative Assistant in the front office.  You can drop your check off at the office with Dawn anytime Monday through Friday from 9 am – 2 pm.
       If you have any questions about how to give online, just call the church office and talk with Dawn.  She will walk you through it over the phone.  Thank you for your continued support of Gray UMC during the Coronavirus.

Our Prayer Requests for the Week.

These prayer requests were collected by our prayer team, and we ask that you include them in your prayers this week.  Prayer is very important in our lives, and we believe that praying together as the body of Christ is essential.

Please remember these people as often as you can this week.

The prayer requester is listed first, followed by the person they are requesting prayer for.

TR Barnes - Mae Lucas - admitted to hospital w/ heart issues (new rules: no visitors)
TR Barnes - Paul, Rachel, & Alice Lucas
Bo Sheffey - Aunt Vira - at home to manage w/ medication - quarantined for 12 days
JB - divine guidance for world leadership and thanks for our dependence on Him

Thank you for your prayers.

Online Bible Studies

Due to the church closure “The New Testament You Never Knew: Exploring the Context, Purpose, and Meaning of the Story of God” Bible Study has been cancelled.  Pastor Dennis and Pastor Bryan are both leading online Bible Studies through Right Now Media.  Pastor Bryan’s has started this week; Pastor Dennis will begin his at the end of the week.  If you have questions about these studies, you are welcome to call either of the Pastors or the church office.
Gray UMC G.O.D.S. Lifegroup
feeds community.

The G.O.D.S Lifegroup feed the community in a drive thru meal, and caught the attention of WJHL.

Click here to watch the story on WJHL
One Acre Cafe

Our friends and ministry partner One Acre Cafe continue to meet the needs of our community in these uncertain times.  With limited volunteers and alternative protocols for serving the vulnerable in Johnson City, the cafe served 110 meals on Monday🙂.  The remaining front-line staff at One Acre Cafe covets your prayers and wants to thank Gray UMC for their continued support.  If you feel compelled to give directly to this ministry, simply visit 

Food Pantry

Our food pantry has remained open, Mondays and Fridays, 10 am to noon.  Our volunteers meet those in need of food assistance at the front door of the church, and help them carry the food to their car, if needed.  The most urgent needs for our Church Pantry this week are cooking oil, canned chicken, pasta sauce, sugar, and flour.  Also needed are laundry and dish detergent.   Thank you for all your donations!

Thanks again to all of our volunteers!  If you’d like to get involved, simply email

The Food Pantry Volunteer Schedule
for the remainder of March and April is:


Friday, March 27th – Bryan Orchard

Monday, March 30th – John/Joanna Baker


Friday, April 3 – Laura Weaver, Becky Olterman

Monday, April 6 – Alex Beverly, Wendy Brock

Friday, April 10 – Bob and Sandra Denney

Monday, April 13 – Connie Ripley, Connie Helton

Friday, April 17 – Dennis Zollinger, Jean Holt

Monday, April 20 – Randy and Cathy Humphries

Friday, April 24 – Rev. Bryan Orchard

Monday, April 27 – John and Joanna Baker

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