ORDER OF WORSHIP
- Prelude – I Told Jesus, Spirit & Truth
- Welcome, Call to Worship & Prayer – Rev. Ohle
- Praise Song – Come, Ye Disconsolate, Spirit & Truth
- Prayers of the People – Rev. Ohle
- Scripture Reading – Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16 (NRSV), Romans 4:13-25 (MSG), Mark 1:9-15 (NRSV)
- Message – Walking With Jesus – Rev. Ohle
- Closing Anthem – Fires, Jordan St. Cyr
- Benediction – Rev. Ohle
- Postlude – The Seeker, Dolly Parton
How does Robin Williams say it in that movie? Gooooood morning, Union Grove! It’s Sunday, February 28th, the 2nd Sunday of Lent in the year 2021. I’m Rev. Val Ohle, pastor of Union Grove United Methodist Church in Friendsville and I want to welcome you to this morning’s worship service. I’m excited because today’s focus is on restoration and Heaven knows we are all in need of feeling restored.
For those joining us for the first time, we are journeying through Lent with Jesus. Lent is that 40-day season spent in personal and communal preparation for Easter … a season where we prepare to be made new in Christ.
This morning, we’re going on a bit of a walk, seeking the restoration that comes from changing direction through repenting, and much more, so grab some trail mix, comfy walking shoes, a water bottle, and get ready. Oh, and don’t forget to pick up your cross. Jesus says we’ll need it!
Before we begin today’s service, though, you’ll find information for how you can resume making your weekly offerings online or by mail at the end of this video, on our website, and in our weekly email worship bulletin.
Also, if you haven’t clicked “Like” on our Facebook page and you’re on Facebook, I want to encourage you to do so. I’ve been posting resources, devotions, prayers, and more there daily. It’s also a good place to keep up with each other.
And last, in case you haven’t heard, the Quadrennial General Conference, the “policy and decision making convention” of the UMC, has been postponed yet again due to COVID. The planning committee feels there is still too great a risk for in person gatherings the size of the General Conference which involves several hundred people, and they were unable to come up with a way to handle a multi-day meeting of this size virtually. The new target date is August 2022.
For us here at Union Grove, it’s a good thing as it gives us a year to talk about all that will be involved and decided in 2022, so watch the Facebook page for more info in the coming months.
That’s all the announcements I can think of right now.
Let’s start today with a Call to Worship and prayer:
Pilgrims, we are invited to journey through this season of Lent
towards the One who calls us each by a new name.
Disciples, we walk with Jesus wherever he leads us,
pulling our fears, our doubts, our longings behind us.
Believers, we seek to trust the God who always surprises us,
whose promises take on flesh and blood in the good news called Jesus.
What is your name?
Oh no, my sister, your name is not Sarai anymore — it’s SARAH!
What is your name?
What is your name?
[Say your name]
It does not matter if your name is Mona, Joanna or Maria, Sebastian, Steven or Juan. It does not matter if you use a nickname or an alias — or even if other people try to name you. What matters is that you are known and named by God. When God changed Abram’s name, he began the transformation from lonely wanderer to person of God. When Jesus changed Simon’s name, he was gradually transformed from sinner into saint. The same God that changed them invites each of us into a Lenten journey of change.
Today, we tell Jesus it would be all right if he changed our names. Change us, O God, from sinners into saints. Change us, O God, from lonely wanderers into children of God. Today, I tell Jesus it would be all right if he changes my name.
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE
Let us lay our prayers and petitions at God’s feet and ask for His help. For those of you who have sent me prayer requests for yourself or others, please understand I do not say their names in the prayer to protect their privacy, but I am lifting up any prayer requests you’ve sent me, and your unspoken prayers as well. There may be one or more moments of pause during the prayer for you to lift any private prayers of your own. There may also be points in the prayer where you will be prompted to respond out loud. Just watch the screen and, if words appear in front of me, say them with me.
Now, please join me in prayer:
Almighty Creator, though people may turn their backs on us, you do not hide your face from us.
Though others may try to take away our hope, you assure us of that future waiting for us.
You speak your name, Inscrutable Creator, and it is enough.
When we try to dictate our fears to you, you invite us to follow you into self-denial and service.
As we struggle to shape our lifestyle to yours, you carry us with you wherever we go.
You speak your good news, Teacher of open hearts, and it is enough.
Though we have done nothing to earn them, you pour out the gifts of grace and mercy upon us.
When we stumble over our lack of trust, you set us back on our feet, to follow you into the kingdom.
You speak your peace, Breath of Holiness, and it is enough.
O Lord, we give you thanks for the example of Abraham and for all the saints who have gone before us – for those who waited in patience for your promises to come to pass – for those who lived in hope while around them it seemed to be only darkness, for those who witnessed to you when it was not considered the proper thing to do, for those who forgot their own selves in their desire to obey your commands and respond to your call upon their lives.
Help us today, O God, to examine the level of our faith – to look seriously at our resistance to talk about the cross and about sacrifice; and to consider in prayer our reluctance to give up the things of this world – to risk our reputations, our comfort, and our security for the sake of following you – for the sake of witnessing to you – for the sake of obeying you ….
Lord, hear our prayer, and in your love, answer.
We pray, O Lord, that you would make us bold in our faith. By our self-forgetting, our self-denial, help us make visible to all our brothers and sisters the reality of your power and care – that power and care that is so often made evident when we confess our weakness – and so often concealed from others when we are strong….
Lord, hear our prayer, and in your love, answer.
We pray, O Lord, for those people whose names, or faces, or needs are resting upon our hearts – for the members of our church whose health is failing as they age – for those believers whose families are struggling to deal with teenage rebellion and adult confusion and uncertainty – for those who have little or no faith and who seem to be lost even though your light shines around them and your word is close to hand….
Lord, hear our prayer, and in your love, answer.
We pray, O Lord, for those in our family, our church, our community and our world that you bring to our hearts and minds at this time – and we hold them up to you with the words of our hearts as we lift them to you in silent prayer …
Lord, be with them as you are with me.
All these things we pray to, through your Son Jesus, who died that we might live, and who lives that we might never die.
God in Community, Holy in One, it is enough that you hear us even as we pray as we are taught:
“Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever.”
Friends, hear the good news: God through Christ has remembered us with kindness and steadfast love. As far as east is from west, so has God removed our sins. Believe the gospel: in Christ you are forgiven.
Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16 (NRSV)
When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless. And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will make you exceedingly numerous.”
Then Abram fell on his face; and God said to him, “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You shall be the ancestor of a multitude of nations.
No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the ancestor of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you.
I will establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.
God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name.
I will bless her, and moreover I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall give rise to nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.”
Romans 4:13-25 (MSG)
That famous promise God gave Abraham—that he and his children would possess the earth—was not given because of something Abraham did or would do. It was based on God’s decision to put everything together for him, which Abraham then entered when he believed. If those who get what God gives them only get it by doing everything they are told to do and filling out all the right forms properly signed, that eliminates personal trust completely and turns the promise into an ironclad contract! That’s not a holy promise; that’s a business deal. A contract drawn up by a hard-nosed lawyer and with plenty of fine print only makes sure that you will never be able to collect. But if there is no contract in the first place, simply a promise—and God’s promise at that—you can’t break it.
This is why the fulfillment of God’s promise depends entirely on trusting God and his way, and then simply embracing him and what he does. God’s promise arrives as pure gift. That’s the only way everyone can be sure to get in on it, those who keep the religious traditions and those who have never heard of them. For Abraham is father of us all. He is not our racial father—that’s reading the story backward. He is our faith father.
We call Abraham “father” not because he got God’s attention by living like a saint, but because God made something out of Abraham when he was a nobody. Isn’t that what we’ve always read in Scripture, God saying to Abraham, “I set you up as father of many peoples”? Abraham was first named “father” and then became a father because he dared to trust God to do what only God could do: raise the dead to life, with a word make something out of nothing. When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn’t do but on what God said he would do. And so he was made father of a multitude of peoples. God himself said to him, “You’re going to have a big family, Abraham!”
Abraham didn’t focus on his own impotence and say, “It’s hopeless. This hundred-year-old body could never father a child.” Nor did he survey Sarah’s decades of infertility and give up. He didn’t tiptoe around God’s promise asking cautiously skeptical questions. He plunged into the promise and came up strong, ready for God, sure that God would make good on what he had said. That’s why it is said, “Abraham was declared fit before God by trusting God to set him right.” But it’s not just Abraham; it’s also us! The same thing gets said about us when we embrace and believe the One who brought Jesus to life when the conditions were equally hopeless. The sacrificed Jesus made us fit for God, set us right with God.
Mark 1:9-15 (NRSV)
Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”
He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.
For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.
For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life?
Indeed, what can they give in return for their life?
Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
The scriptures of God for the People of God.
Thanks be to God.
MESSAGE – Walking with Jesus …
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my Rock and Redeemer. Amen.
Giving something up for Lent, sacrificing, is an act called “rending of the heart.” It’s become rather superficial these days when we’re prone to give up a favorite food or something that brings us pleasure. Rarely do we give up anything that brings us necessary comfort. But in the time of Abram and Sarai, rending the heart … making a sacrifice to God was far more serious business.
By the time we get to the part of Abram’s story told in our passage from Genesis, God has made a covenant with Abram and has already asked Abram for two sacrifices: first, that Abram give up his home and second, his security. In today’s passage, God makes a third request of Abram: That he gives up his name … a name Abram has carried for ninety-nine years. It’s hard for most of us to imagine living to age ninety-nine, let alone suddenly having to go by a whole new name.
Each time God asks something from him, though, Abram does what God asks of him because he has faith in God, so much faith that he spends twenty-four years carrying out the first two requirements to arrive at today’s passage, even though the covenant has not yet been fulfilled. And now, two decades later, here comes God asking for yet another sacrifice, another investment on Abram’s part: Walk before me and be blameless, God tells him.
We need to understand that all this time Abram hasn’t been without doubts, hasn’t had moments when he wasn’t so sure or when he felt a need to save that skin that God now wanted a piece of; when he had to count his chickens before God was ready for them to hatch. You can’t blame him, really. He was getting on in years. He and Sarah were seeing gerontologists rather than pediatricians. It’s a long time to hold on to hope; a long time to see a future that was so far from the reality in which they were living that it became laughable.
And how long in between conversations with God did Abraham have to last? Had it been days, months, years since the voice came to him? And now here it is saying that covenant word again. But now there’s this new condition. Walk before me and be blameless. Or is that two conditions? Walk before God … and also be blameless.
And what does blameless even mean, anyway? There’s only one other time in the Bible that the word for “blameless” is used. It comes earlier in Genesis when Noah is introduced. Genesis 6:9 says, “Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation; Noah walked with God.”
Blameless must mean, then, someone good enough to save humanity. No pressure there, right?
Maybe, since it’s only used twice in the Bible and in both those situations it’s combined with walking, there’s a clue in there somewhere. Maybe, just maybe, what God is saying to Abram is, “Keep moving forward. Keep moving forward with me; don’t give up on the promise. Even as the years pass and the body ages, keep walking with me, walking before me.”
There is a difference in the two situations, though. Noah walked with God and was blameless in his generation – among others his age. Abraham, on the other hand, is told to walk before God and be blameless.
Is it the same? Possibly. Before means on display, it seems. Before means to represent, perhaps. But perhaps most significantly, before means that Abraham had to walk without all the answers for most of his life of faith. He had to walk before God gave him specific directions. He had to decide for himself how to follow the path of faith.
And guess what? He got it wrong sometimes. He made decisions that got him into trouble, and he put loved ones at risk. He messed up, in short. But none of that prevented him from continuing to walk before God.
Sure, sometimes he had to pick himself up and go a different direction. Sometimes he hurt those around him by making the wrong choices. But he kept walking. He kept seeking. He kept asking for God’s guidance. And when it came, he changed direction. He changed identity.
Or rather, God changed his identity. For ninety-nine years, he had been Abram which meant exalted father, but now … at a word from God he became Abraham, which meant father of many.
What’s the difference? Well, perhaps the exalted one needed to be God, and what was needed from Abraham was a sense that there were or would be others who would follow his example. In the literal interpretation, a nation of people would eventually come, albeit slowly, but they would come.
But, equally notable, is the spiritual interpretation. Abraham’s faithfulness created a multitude of children … children of God … from Abraham’s time forward for all time in those of us who come after him and seek to walk before God with as much faith, albeit in fits and starts, as did Abraham.
And let’s not forget Sarah, because God didn’t forget her. She was included in this story in a way that women often weren’t included in the stories within the Bible. Her birth name, Sarai (Suh-rye), is sometimes translated as contentious or quarrelsome.
But now her name would be Sarah, meaning princess, and she would take her place as a leader, as a ruler, in shaping this nation that would come to be.
Names have meaning and, for me, significant meaning. My first and middle names mean strength and merciful. My oldest daughter’s names mean pure and merciful (she bears my middle name), and my youngest daughter’s names mean little fire pledged to God. My daughters’ names were chosen with great care and, while they may not realize it themselves, they live into their names fairly well.
When you consider Abram and Sarai, they too, lived up to their given names. Abram had long been the exalted father figure of those who followed him and lived within his care, even though they weren’t his own children. And Sarai could be … and often was … contentious and quarrelsome.
So when God asked them to give up their old names for new ones, the renaming changed them.
And, just as he gave new names to Abraham and Sarah, God renamed Jacob to Israel, and Jesus renamed Simon to Petros or Peter, and the renaming changed both Jacob and Simon.
Now, while our generations tend to expect things to happen sooner rather than later, to expect instant gratification, and we might expect the changes that Abraham, Sarah, Jacob, and Peter went through came instantly with their respective renamings, none of the changes were instant. They came eventually, but it took time and walking with God or, in Peter’s case, walking with Jesus.
Speaking of walking with Jesus, where Noah walked with God and Abraham walked before God, Jesus tells us to pick up our crosses and to follow him.
I’m not sure Noah and Abraham didn’t have it easier. Jesus sets the example, shows us the way to walk in order to follow him. It’s our job to pick up our crosses and follow his lead.
What does he mean when he says, pick up our crosses? At the time Jesus first said it, Rome was literally using the cross as a form of the ultimate punishment, the death penalty. Was he telling his then followers to pick up a literal cross and follow him to Calvary? Or was there another meaning?
To paraphrase Rev. Erik Folkerth, pastor of Kessler UMC, there is a tension or point of confusion in this passage from Mark. Jesus calls for the listener to “deny yourself,”, but then to “take up your cross” … not just Jesus’ cross, not your neighbor’s cross … your cross. It seems like a difficult task to deny yourself while trying to figure out what your cross is, doesn’t it?
More likely, what Jesus is ask us to do isn’t to totally deny all of ourself, but to focus in on a specific part of ourself … the part that carries the cross … and put the rest of ourself aside … to deny the parts of ourself that aren’t focused on changing direction and doing what we need to do to get right with him, with God.
Like Jesus suffered in carrying his cross and through his crucifixion, we too may and most likely will suffer as we lift and carry our own crosses. But, the suffering is worth it, because it will take denying our self-centered-selves and focusing on our cross-centered-selves to find our purpose which is the kind of servanthood he expected of us. And, in the suffering we do in order to pick up our crosses and follow him, we are transformed … our identities changed. Just like Abraham, Sarah, Israel, and Peter were eventually changed.
But what is our cross? What does he mean? Is it all our guilt and shame? Is it our symbol of being above others because we’re believers?
Pastor Steve Garnaas-Holmes suggests none of the above, that “The cross is not a burden, not an insignia of some entitlement: the cross is the cost of love.”
Asking us to pick up our cross, then, is asking us to put everything we have, every fiber of our being, into following him as his disciples, to keep moving forward with him, never give up on the sacrifice he ultimately made for us, no matter how old or tired we get or how hard and heavy the cross becomes. To stay with him to our end. To be willing to live into the life he has taught us to lead. And to pay the price of loving one another … even those we’d rather not.
But … what about that servanthood part? In this age of COVID, we’ve become insular and isolated to a point that a church-based community service project like a food ministry or gathering to build a handicapped ramp for someone or organizing a summer recreation program for kids in the community seems almost unimaginable.
We’ve gotten out of the habit of doing things that require leaving the house and much of our “service” these days is most likely limited to donations to various causes, dropping off the things we’ve cleaned out of our closet at the local mission, maybe putting some groceries in the local blessing box. And all of these are good. All of these are better than not doing anything at all because they all ultimately serve the least among us.
That’s what the followers of Christ do. We serve the least among us. And, while we may feel that’s the most we can do right now, as followers of Christ we are each called to do all the good we can. So then, while we go forward doing the most we can physically do, perhaps we need to start talking about the future when we can get around and do more … or brainstorming ideas for additional things we could do now … maybe we need to think outside the walls of implied limits we’ve boxed ourselves in with and see what new things we can come up with.
I’ll let you in on a little known fact. The more we work to move forward, the lighter and lighter and lighter our crosses will become. That’s the restorative part. As we grow more into not just following Jesus as we walk with him, but living into the lives he’s taught us we should strive for, things become easier to do. We become accustomed to praying and worshipping daily. We become adept at caring for the least among us. We become skilled at sharing the Good News and making new disciples to join us in our labors. All that adds up to a lighter cross and the restoring of peace to our souls. And heaven knows we could all use more peace in our lives and in our souls, right?
“Oh, but Rev. Val, it’s so hard … just more than I can do. I’m doing all I can and I just don’t want to go that way” … or, “But we’ve always done it this way …” or, “Me? I’m nobody. I don’t have the network, the clout, the knowledge, the resources …”
Let me share something with you by Aviva, a Jewish friend of one of my clergy sisters. Aviva writes:
Almost every story in Judaism starts with some shnobody being approached for a mission.
And it’s fascinating to me how different the reactions are.
Abraham: Say no more. I’m in.
Moshe: Uh…I guess I’m in? But only if I can bring my brother.
Jonah: I am NOT in. In fact, I’m hanging a Do Not Disturb Sign on my door and taking a cruise and this plan will not go wrong in any way.
Esther: *crickets* … not a word.
I really love Esther so much. Especially because unlike these other shmoes, she didn’t get the call straight from God herself. She was basically Megan Markled into queenship.
So she has imposter syndrome. Like me, and a lot of us I assume. And sure I can diagnose her (one, because she is LITERALLY an imposter – hiding her identity from the palace).
AND because Mordechai has to convince her that she’s in the right place at the right time. After she informs him that going to the king to plead for her people may lead to a….certain someone’s death (a very passive protest), Mordechai employs some tough love. ‘You’re in. Whether or not you *think* you deserve or need to be there, you’re there. And this may be the reason you were chosen in the first place.’
After this little pep talk, and armed with the always helpful, fire-under-your-backside knowledge that if she does nothing she’ll die either way, Esther gets to work. She gives in. It’s only then that she can write back a ‘command’ to her uncle to fast/pray.
Then she starts forming the plan that eventually saves the Jews.
Far from the ‘hey, so like, sorry, this might be a dumb question…’ message she sent earlier.
Her motivation and personality aren’t necessarily driving her, her circumstances are.
Ester says: Who am I to do this?
Mordechai says: Who are you to *NOT* do this?
I suffer GREATLY from imposter syndrome. I am constantly second guessing any initiative or project I start. I am considering deleting this whole post. I cringe thinking of failure. I feel unqualified for almost everything I do in my life.
Who am *I* to volunteer?
Who am *I* to lead?
Who am *I* to create?
Mordechai and Esther’s conversation reminds me, if we have the opportunity, who are we to NOT?
Who are we opt out?
Who are we say no?
Who are we to think that if we don’t jump in, things will just ‘work out’?
It’s not passive to let our situations silence that nagging voice questioning whether we’re the right people for the job and go along for the ride. It’s an action. And it’s brave.
Sometimes we just need to let our circumstances take over and give us the freedom to complete our missions.
And go all in.”
Aviva knew what she was writing about.
No one says it will be easy. In fact, quite the opposite. Jesus warns us that it won’t be easy … but the suffering, the pain, the sacrifice will be worth it. And, if we’re walking with Jesus as he calls us to do, there is not a fire, not a struggle, not a roadblock we can’t get through.
Gracious God, you reached into Abraham and Sarah’s lives and asked them to dream the impossible dream—that you would transform what appears to have been a barren and lifeless situation into one overflowing with promise and hope—and, through faith in you, they believed your promises.
Forgive us, O God, if we never get beyond thinking of your call on our lives as an impossible dream or even as an unwelcome interruption.
Faithful God, the apostle Paul emphasizes Abraham’s complete trust and faith in your promises and how he grew ever stronger in faith, fully convinced of your ability to fulfil what had been promised.
Forgive us, O God, when we find it hard even to hear your promises above commercial assurances of transformation—promises tempting us to trust the newest and trendiest product to realize our dreams.
Merciful God, Jesus revealed the great depth of your love in his determination to defeat evil even when this meant giving up his own life.
Forgive us, O God, when we allow the power of evil to flourish because we fear that taking up one’s cross would be just too costly an exercise.
Gracious and loving God, forgive our lack of trust in you;
Have mercy on us and forgive us.
Help us when we hesitate,
and strengthen us when we are weak
Breathe your Spirit afresh into our hearts and minds—our lives—so that we have the courage to follow Jesus wherever he takes us.
Faith was reckoned as righteousness…to us who believe in the One who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was handed over to death because of our sins and was raised for the sake of our righteousness. (Romans 4:20-25)
Hear and believe these words about God’s amazing grace, grace experienced through Jesus’ sacrificial love, as forgiveness of sins. Amen
Thanks be to God!
Thank you, again, for worshipping with me today. Again, if you can, please consider making your weekly offering just as if we were meeting in person. The information for doing so will be on your screen in just a moment.
Now hear this benediction:
Go, in God’s power that moves through acts of faith.
Open your ear to God’s divine revelations.
Depend on God, who is wise beyond the laws of this land.
Do all these things so that all that is right and good permeates each day until we meet again.
Stay safe, wash your hands, wear a mask when you go out, get your COVID vaccination as soon as you’re eligible, really truly love your neighbors … even the ones you’d rather not. God be with you. Now go in peace to love and serve in the name of the Lord,
……..In the name of Christ. Amen.
- Call to Worship & Opening Prayer – Thom Shuman, Lectionary Liturgies, and Sophia Fosua, Discipleship Ministries
- Pastoral Prayer – Thom Shuman, Lectionary Liturgies, and Rev. Richard J. Fairchild, Kir-Shalom
- Portions of Message – Rev. Dr. Derek C. Weber, Discipleship Ministries
- Closing prayer – Moira Laidlaw, Liturgies Online
- Benediction – Linda Furtado, Lenten Liturgical Resources from African Writers
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 http://www.holston.org/churchoffering, 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
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!