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         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 http://grayumc.org/news
Please note that under guidance from our conference, worship will be ONLINE ONLY for this Sunday, March 22. Please watch our service on Facebook starting at 10:30am on Sunday.   Sunday School, children and youth activities, and Bible Studies will also not meet Sunday, March 22.  We will update with more information as it becomes available.  Thank you!

From Pastor Dennis 

 
Coronavirus Update

       Bishop Mary Virginia Taylor of Holston Conference has mandated all churches in the Conference suspend gathered worship for two Sundays of March 22 and 29.  In light of a recent CDC statement on school closures for 8 weeks, it’s possible our current suspension on public worship may be extended.  We have put a lockdown on all meetings within our church building including classes, committee meetings, social gatherings through Mar. 28, including suspension on all outside groups until further notice.  If our current suspension is extended beyond two Sundays, then church leadership will need to meet and determine whether we continue with the weekday lockdown or allow small gatherings back in our building facilities.  In the meantime, what other options have we?

ONLINE CLASSES AND PHONE CONFERENCES
Two options include phone conferencing and online classes.  Our Staff Parish Relations Committee is already planning a phone conference meeting scheduled for this Tuesday evening. Also, Pastor Bryan and I discussed this day offering online classes.  We are meeting this week to explore the possibility of taking the N.T. Wright study we offer on Sunday nights and making it an online class we offer on Sunday night from 5 pm to 6 pm.  Both phone conferencing and online study may be a different way of doing church for many of us, but it provides a venue that allows us to stay connected, take care of the work of the church, and be discipled in a way that respects the social distancing we are asked to give during this time of crisis.

LIFEGROUPS
As to LifeGroups, since LifeGroups meet in homes, we (Bryan and Dennis) decided to leave it up to the discretion of each Life Group and let each group decide whether they wish to continue their meetings.
       In the meantime, let’s pray for each other and stay connected through social media.  Pray for all impacted    by this virus.  Pray and be safe.      
        
 Pastor Dennis
 
 
 

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.


Anita Fleenor - Wallace Grills - prognosis: two weeks to live


Thank you for your prayers.



 

Thank you for your prayers.

News and Events

What to expect during our Worship time this Sunday

 Sunday, March 22 


We will worship together ONLINE Only.  We are trying a different approach this week to have a better quality of video.  This week you will see the video on Facebook as an uploaded video, and on our Vimeo site.

http://facebook.com/grayumc

https://vimeo.com/grayumc

 



 

Financial Giving to the Church


How?
       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?
ONLINE GIVING

       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.
MAIL CHECK

       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

BRING CHECK TO CHURCH OFFICE
       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.

LifeGroups:


If you are currently active in a LifeGroup you can expect to receive a call from your LG Leader sometime this week.  The recent mandate from our Bishop, in response to the spread of the Covid 19 Virus, calls for the suspension of gathered worship (all gatherings) through the 22nd of March.  It is likely that this suspension will be extended but no decision has yet been made.  Your LG Leader will simply be reaching out to assess how you feel about gathering with your group in the coming weeks; based on consensus your LG Leader will make the decisions for moving forward.  Peace to you all in our shared new normal😊
Youth Group Volunteers

Adrian is looking to establish a regular group of volunteers in the youth program. There are a variety of ways to get involved from providing food to helping facilitate activities. If you would be interested in volunteering in any capacity, please email Adrian at Adrian@grayumc.org
 Please note that the March 21 birthday party for Louise Fox’s 100th birthday has been cancelled. The Elmcroft Assisted Living Facility where she lives, along with other similar senior living facilities, are not allowing patients to leave and no visitors are allowed into the facility. This is a precaution to protect the residents.
The Three Rivers District United Methodist Women “Day Apart Service” scheduled for Sunday, March 29, 2020 has been cancelled.
Expect an update concerning this Bible Study in next week’s newsletter.

“The New Testament You Never Knew: Exploring the Context, Purpose, and Meaning of the Story of God” 
Well-known Bible scholars N.T. Wright and Michael F. Bird team up to take you on a tour of the story behind the New Testament.  You will discover things you never knew about Jesus’ baptism and journey into the wilderness, the meaning behind his parables, miracles, his death and resurrection, the expansion of the early church into the Greco-Roman world, and how the transforming mission of Jesus can still turn the world upside down today.  
Teachers – Pastors Dennis Flaugher and Bryan Orchard
Holston Home 5th Sunday Offering is March 29

Please consider giving generously to Holston Home for Children this Fifth Sunday, March 29 so that young people will continue to experience God’s grace, love, and hope for a future.


Community Outreach:  Every first Thursday each month (sponsored by G.O.D.S. Small group).
 
Free-Free-Free Community Meal, April 2, 6-7 pm at GUMC Family Life Center.   The first meal will be spaghetti, bread, salad, dessert. We welcome help with financial donations, dessert (cakes, pies, or cookies) help with set up and take down of tables/chairs.  This is a great way to fellowship with our Gray Community!  For more information contact Emilee Little.
 
THANK YOU to everyone who donated Sunday, March 8 to the Holston Conference Response to Tennessee Tornadoes.  We were able to send $ 625 to help our neighbors in need.  Thank you for your generosity!

Food Pantry



Food Pantry News:


Food Pantry News: Effective immediately, Alex Beverly has graciously accepted the role as Food Pantry Coordinator!  Alex has played an integral role in our recent pantry initiatives, and is well acquainted with our policies, procedures, and great volunteers!  If you have any questions/concerns regarding the ministry of the Gray Food Pantry they can now be directed to alexbeverly2011@hotmail .com.   Thank you Alex for your willingness to serve!

The most urgent needs for our Church Pantry this week are sugar, shampoo, and toothbrushes and toothpaste.  Thank you for all your donations!



Thanks again to all of our volunteers!  If you’d like to get involved, simply email pastorbryan@grayumc.org


 

The Food Pantry Volunteer Schedule for the remainder of February and March is:
 
Friday, March 20th – Dennis Zollinger/Jean Holt
Monday, March 23rd – Randy/Cathy Humphries
Friday, March 27th – Bryan Orchard
Monday, March 30th – John/Joanna Baker
 
 
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