Good morning. My name is Rev. Val Ohle, pastor of Union Grove United Methodist Church. Welcome and thank you for joining me today!  

Those of you who were present or have viewed this past Wednesday’s live prayer session are aware that it is highly unlikely we will be able to open until sometime after the first of the year. This is due to the continued increases in COVID-19 cases here in East Tennessee. To give you an idea of what that is, as of November 20, Georgia Tech’s risk assessment tool puts the potential risk of exposure to COVID-19 at public events at 76% for Blount County, 67% for Knox County, and 64% for Loudon County. I can’t put you at that kind of risk, so the building must remain closed to in-person worship.  And that’s okay because the building is just that … a building. You and I are the church and you and I are not going to let this thing take that away from us.  

I have some new tools and opportunities for us to worship and grow together as we celebrate the holiday season of Advent and Christmas that I’ll be announcing in a separate video I’ve been working on since last Sunday.  Meanwhile, I have a special treat for you.

We have been gifted with a team of guest pastors, musicians, and lay leaders from around the country who are providing this morning’s worship for you.  It is my honor and privilege to introduce to you the Reverends Blair Trygstad Stowe, Melinda Teter Dodge, Rachel deBos-Haigler, and Won-Seok Yuh, with Musicians Mandi Miller, Kaleb Brasee, the Placentia UMC Choir, and the Faith UMC Choir, and narration from Andrew Stowe, as they bring you this morning’s worship service – The God Who Returns – from Ezra 3. 

There is no transcript for today’s service. 

Even though we can’t meet together in person, the church still has expenses that need to be met. If you are able, please consider making an offering or paying your tithes through the online service provided by Holston Conference. It’s safe. It’s free. It will help us continue ministry at Union Grove.

Just visit, and follow the instruction for making your offering.  When asked, please choose Smoky Mountain District and Union Grove UMC Blount – Friendsville.

If you are not comfortable using a debit or credit card online, you can mail your offerings/tithes to:

Smoky Mountain District
Holston Conference
PO Box 905
Alcoa TN 37701-0905

Please be sure to make your checks payable to Smoky Mountain District and write “Union Grove UMC Friendsville” on the memo line!