ORDER OF WORSHIP
- Greeting & Announcements – Rev. Val
- Call to Worship, and Opening Prayer – Rev. Val & Congregation
- Hymn – Holy God, We Praise Thy Name (UMH 79)
- Responsive Reading
- Gloria Patri (UMH 70)
- Pastoral Prayer – Rev. Val
- Scripture Readings – Isaiah 9:2-7 (NRSV), John 1:1-14 (NRSV), Luke 2:41-52 (NRSV) – Rev. Val
- Hymn – What Child Is This (UMH 219)
- Message: Welcome Home – Rev. Val
- Offertory Prayer – Rev. Val
- Doxology (UMH 95)
- Hymn – All of You Who Walk in Darkness (insert)
- Benediction – Rev. Val
WELCOME, CALL TO WORSHIP, & OPENING PRAYER
Good morning! Whether you’re joining us in-person or online, welcome and please make yourselves at home! I hope that, regardless of the circumstances, you found at least a bit of comfort and joy these last few days.
This is the first Sunday of Christmastide and Day Two of the Twelve Days of Christmas. Christmastide lasts through Epiphany, so if you were planning on going home after church and taking down those decorations, technically everything stays up until at least January 6, the official date of Epiphany or, if you’re going by our calendar, January 9 which is the Sunday we’ll be celebrating Epiphany.
I had planned on re-releasing last year’s watchnight service for this year as an online video, however, I’m having second thoughts on that as it’s the Covenant Renewal service and I’d really like to do that one at an in-person service this year. There will be a service online on the 31st one way or another. I encourage you to watch the Facebook page for an update and more information.
Lastly, beginning January 16, we will begin a new worship series called Afterfaith.
Save the date!
- *December 31 – Watchnight Service*
- January 2 – Second Sunday After Christmas
- Communion Sunday
- January 9 – Epiphany Sunday/Baptism of the Lord
*Online only worship. Videos will be available on our Facebook Page & website beginning at 6 p.m. Dec. 21 and 24, and at 11:25 p.m. Dec. 31.
Call to Worship
Adapted from Call to Worship, Opening Prayer by Rev Gord, re-worship.blogspot.com
L: We counted the hours, waiting for her first pains of labor to be felt.
P: Then the Light shone in the darkness, then the baby was born.
L: God once again broke into our lives,
P: coming in a way that is expected yet unusual, challenging our expectations and calling us to see life differently.
L: God of birth, God of light, in this time of song and prayer and silence,
P: reawaken in us the awe of Christmas.
L: Just as we heard the story of an ordinary young woman from an ordinary little town who received a surprising visitor,
P: remind us that we are called to respond to you in unexpected ways.
L: And when we leave this place,
P: may we be willing to sing praises for a young woman who said YES and the birth that we celebrate.
L: We pray in the name of the child who has pushed from the womb …
Attributed to Robert Louis Stevenson
Loving God, help us remember the birth of Jesus, that we may share in the song of the angels, the gladness of the shepherds, and worship of the wise men. Close the door of hate and open the door of love all over the world.
Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting. Deliver us from evil by the blessing which Christ brings, and teach us to be merry with clear hearts.
Sharletta M. Green, The Africana Worship Book for Year C (Discipleship Resources, 2008), 128
L: Creator God, in the beginning, you spoke all that is into existence and breathed life into the world. You made light in the midst of darkness, and all that you made was good.
P: What a labor of love.
L: You sent John the Baptist to be a witness to the light you would send into the world.
P: What a labor of love.
L: The Light of the World, through whom all things were created, came into the world, but the world did not recognize him. The Son came to his own people, and they rejected him.
P: What a labor of love; you loved until it hurt.
L: When you invite us each by name to draw near to you to find life in you, we turn away. We cause harm to others and scoff at your sweet grace and mercy each day. You continue to love us, protect us, and wait patiently as we find our way home to you.
P: What a labor of love, you love us though it hurts.
L: You give us the opportunity to be called daughters and sons of the Most High God. You call us to believe in the One you sent to us – a reflection of you, who reveals your love. Though we constantly reject you, and find love hard, though our thoughts and deeds are often evil, you still find ways to care for us and call us your own.
P: What a labor of love, you love us even when are hurtful.
L: “And the word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). What a labor of love.
P: What a labor of love.
Selected prayers from Revised Common Lectionary Prayers copyright © 2002
Friends, let us celebrate the coming of the Christ through prayer and petition for the needs of the church, our community, and the world.
O Holy One, heavenly angels spoke to earthly shepherds and eternity entered time in the child of Bethlehem. Through the telling of the Christmas story, let our temporal lives be caught up in the eternal in that same child, that we might join shepherds and all the heavenly host in praising the coming of Jesus Christ, our Savior.
God of glory, your splendor shines from a manger in Bethlehem, where the Light of the world is humbly born into the darkness of human night. Open our eyes to Christ’s presence in the shadows of our world, so that we, like him, may become beacons of your justice, and defenders of all for whom there is no room.
Light of life, you came in flesh, born into human pain and joy, and gave us power to be your children. Grant us faith, O Christ, to see your presence among us, so that all of creation may sing new songs of gladness and walk in the way of peace.
Nurturing God, remembering the exile of the holy family and Herod’s slaughter of the children, we remember all who need our sustaining love. Hear our prayers for the church and the community in the world.
God we lift up to you the afflicted, the struggling, the fearful, the lonely, the distraught. We lift up the outcasts, the rejected, the unwanted, the lost. We lift up those whose minds have been filled with untruths. We lift up those who have been treated unjustly. We lift up those whose humanity and rights are being eroded or completely eliminated. We lift up this church and offer ourselves as living sacrifices to you. We lift up our nation and ask for your help in healing the divisions that threaten our nation and other nations around the world. We ask that you bring justice where there is injustice, acceptance where there is rejection, healing where there is affliction, and truth where there are lies.
Come, Lord Jesus, and hear our prayer.
Dear heavenly Father, whatever else You see that we need—whatever is for the good of our neighbor and redounds to Your glory—we pray that You would grant to us, Your children. We ask it Jesus’ name who taught us to pray:
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be 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, the power, and the glory forever.
Gracious God, as we turn to your Word for us, may the Spirit of God rest upon us. Help us to be steadfast in our hearing, in our speaking, in our believing, in our living, and in our loving.
Isaiah 9:2-7 (NRSV) –The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness on them light has shined.
You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as people exult when dividing plunder.
For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian.
For all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire.
For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.
John 1:1-14 (NRSV) – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.
Luke 2:41-52 (NRSV) – 2:41 Now every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival.
When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Assuming that he was in the group of travelers, they went a day’s journey. Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him.
After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.
When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.”
He said to them, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he said to them.
Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor.
The scriptures of God for the People of God.
Thanks be to God.
MESSAGE – Welcome Home
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock, and my redeemer. Amen.
For four weeks, we’ve been talking about Coming Home for Christmas … where there’s hope, love, joy, and peace. Some of you hearing this may have thought it was an insensitive theme, especially for those who … for whatever reason … can’t go home. Some may not have a home to go to and others may have been cast out of their homes. Some may be at great physical or emotional risk if they were to go home.
Jesus came into this world essentially homeless due to the Roman census that had caused Joseph and his mother to leave their families in Nazareth and travel to Bethlehem Ephrathah. By the time the magi arrived … some scholars think as much as two years after his birth … Joseph and Mary had found a house there in Bethlehem. We know this because that’s where scripture says the magi arrived to visit him.
Then along came Herod’s paranoia that the “new king” reported to have been born would mean he wasn’t the king anymore, so he took measures to both overturn the birth and make sure it couldn’t happen again. He issued a decree to kill all male children two and under in the area of Bethlehem. Once again, Jesus and his family would become homeless and now also become refugees as they fled to Egypt to avoid Herod’s massacre of the innocents.
According to scholars, the Holy Family spent two or three years in Egypt before returning to Nazareth where Joseph would again take up his trade as a carpenter, eventually Jesus would learn that same trade from his stepfather, and their family would grow to include siblings … scholars tend to argue whether they were actual siblings born of Joseph and Mary, step siblings from Joseph’s previous marriage, or cousins born to Mary’s cousins … whose names were James, Joses, Simon, and Jude, and possibly one sister whose name is not known. Nazareth would remain the place where Jesus lived until he began his adult ministry some 20 odd years later.
It was from Nazareth that the family traveled each year to attend the festival of Passover. This annual trek to Jerusalem for Passover was a tradition of most Jewish people ever since King David had the Arc of the Covenant moved permanently to Jerusalem. That is yet another story for yet another day, but long story short … the Arc was where the Jewish people believed God was always present and Passover was a time when they wanted to be as close to God as possible. Because the Arc now lived permanently in Jerusalem ensconced in the Temple, Jerusalem was seen as God’s home on earth. Most Jewish people living in Judea made the annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem for Passover, and Mary, Joseph and their family were no different. They had gone every year since their return from Egypt.
Now I’m going to take a guess here. I’m betting that each of us has experienced that moment of panic when someone we were with was suddenly lost. I’m not sure that the panic is any less whether it’s a child that’s lost or whether it’s Mom or Dad that are lost, depending on the age you were when you felt that panic.
That’s the kind of panic Mary and Joseph must have felt when they discovered Jesus wasn’t there with the group as they traveled back to Nazareth from Jerusalem. Well … maybe their panic would have been even greater than our panic as we remember it. After all, they’d lost the Son of God and if they didn’t find him and find him fast, they were going to have some serious explaining to do.
Before we go on, I want to share something that Fr. James Martin published on Facebook the evening of the 24th. Fr. Martin wrote: “In the Sacra Pagina volume on the Gospel of Luke, the New Testament scholar Luke Timothy Johnson says about the story of Jesus’s birth, “This passage is one of the most over-interpreted in the New Testament, making it difficult to sort out what comments are helpful to the reader.” Or believer.
So on Christmas Eve and Day, let me share what most moves me this year about the Feast of the Nativity.
First, an insight from Elizabeth Johnson’s book “Creation and the Cross.” In John’s Gospel, we don’t read, “The Word became a man.” Nor do we read, “The Word became human.” Of course the Word became both those things. But John’s Gospel is more revolutionary. It says, “The Word became flesh.”
The Greek word used is “sarx,” flesh, or, more basically, what covers the bones of both humans and animals. God enters our world completely. Becoming, in essence, matter. God enters into God’s own creation wholly, totally, not standing apart or above in any way. God became matter. The Word became “sarx.”
Second, God comes to us in the most vulnerable way possible: as an infant. Naked, needing to be held, fed, nursed, burped and changed. An infant relies on adults for everything, as did the Infant Jesus.
Jesus both enters the world naked and vulnerable, in a manger; and leaves the world naked and vulnerable, on a Cross. That’s how much God loves us.
Third, at his birth, according to Luke, Jesus is placed into a “phatne” in Greek, a “manger” in common parlance, the feeding trough for the animals that surrounded him. So from the beginning, in Luke’s Gospel, Jesus comes to us as food. It’s a beautifully Eucharistic image. And of course in French “manger” means to eat. Christ comes to nourish us.
Fourth, Mary and Joseph are poor. Luke Timothy Johnson, looking at the Gospel of Luke, describes them as “homeless.” As they were on that night. Seeking shelter. Later, as they flee into Egypt, they will become, in essence, refugees.
Now there is some scholarly debate over what social class a “tekton” (carpenter, workman, builder) would have fit into. This is Joseph’s profession and later Jesus’s. But the Holy Family is certainly not rich and is, most likely, poor. Nazareth, archeologists tell us, was a small, poor, marginal town, of only 200 to 400 people, mainly farmers eking out a living. God chose to side not with the rich, but with the poor. In his ministry Jesus makes this his choice too. “Blessed are the poor” he says. Like Mary and Joseph.
Fifth, Jesus comes to us in a time of darkness. This year the many references to darkness throughout Advent really stunned me. “The people in darkness have seen a great light,” says the Book of Isaiah (later quoted in Matthew’s Gospel). Yesterday Zechariah, at the birth of his son John. says, “In the tender compassion of our Lord, the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness.” And of course Jesus is born at night.
What a dark world we live in today, with the threat of Covid seemingly everywhere, with climate change threatening to displace millions of people and with political rivalries tearing apart countries! Jesus came into a dark world, and he comes into our today.
More specifically, Jesus came into a world of disease and pandemic. In her fascinating book “Stone and Dung, Oil and Spit,” the New Testament scholar and archeologist Jodi Magness paints a bleak picture of the sanitary conditions of first-century Galilee and Judea. Illness and disease were everywhere; medical “treatments” rudimentary. A tooth infection could kill you. Life expectancy was somewhere in the 30s or 40s. God willingly entered into this world of illness. Jesus experienced this world. In other words, Emmanuel, God with us, understands what we’re going through. And still does.
The Incarnation is a mystery that we will never, and can never, fully comprehend. But Christmas is a good time to try. And even beginning to understand it is a cause for joy. That’s why it’s called the Good News.”
That is an accurate description of the world that Jesus was born into and the world in which he was growing up. So, picking up where I left off, not only had Mary and Joseph lost the Son of God, but they’d also lost him in a world that was fraught with all kinds of dangers and risks! No wonder when they finally found him … and we know from the scripture they did find him … they were a bit put off by his behavior.
Here’s what strikes me about this passage: Where we most likely felt panic whether we were the parent with a lost child or the child with a lost parent, and where Mary and Joseph were clearly panicked, Jesus … when they finally found him … was perfectly calm.
There was no expression of relief on finally being reunited with his lost parents … no indication that he had even been searching for them. He wasn’t upset that they may have abandoned him … remember that it was three to five days before they were reunited. Jesus just looked at them and was like “no big deal. I wasn’t lost. I knew exactly where I was. Why would you think I’d be anywhere else. I was taking care of my Father’s business.”
Jesus, of course, returned to Nazareth with his parents and family and would remain there around another eighteen years … he was about 12 when the event in our passage occurred … until he began his adult ministry. At about age 30, Jesus left Nazareth again and the story picks up with his baptism at the Jordan river. From the point of his baptism on, Jesus is constantly on the move and so, once again, homeless.
But is he? Is he really homeless? Jesus wasn’t panicked for those three to five days when he was separated from his family and wasn’t searching for a way to get himself back to his home in Nazareth or back into the company of his family. I think that’s because he really did know where he was, and he knew what we’ve been trying to say since the beginning of Advent. He was home. There in Jerusalem, in the Temple, in that space where God was believed to be present, Jesus was never lost … he was home.
Looking back at everything we’ve learned about Jesus in this past year, it’s clear that Jesus wasn’t searching for anyone or anything. He spent his adult ministry “taking care of my Father’s business.” Wherever he was, whether living in a house somewhere with his family, staying with various disciples or acquaintances, or traveling the countryside, he was always and already home because he was always in and strove to keep himself in the presence of God. The presence of God is home, no matter where on this planet you are.
It’s been a long year … a long couple of years. In fact a long several years, maybe even decades. Years and even decades when the negative has grown steadily louder and more visible than the positive. Years and even decades when the message of too many churches has supplanted the presence of God with the politics of man. Years and even decades where fears have been fed and nurtured and groomed purposefully to foment division and where that division has crept into every single aspect of earthly life. Years and even decades where it seems Isaiah’s prophecy of “endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom” is at best a distant and faint hope and at worst a prophecy that didn’t hold true.
While we’ll be looking at the results of those years and even decades when we begin the Afterfaith series, we need to note now that all the division and fear nurturing has taken its toll on churches around the world … including this one, first among the youngest generations who recognize the problems and wash their hands of it, but also increasingly among the older generations that were raised in it. And, there are many religious leaders who are worried about whether the church will survive and many non-believers who are almost gleefully cheering its demise.
That’s a pretty dismal thing to say on the day after we celebrated a birth 2021 years ago that brought the Light into the world by way of God becoming flesh and living among us. I can see why you’d think that. But there is something I know … something Jesus knows … that overcomes the darkness of it all.
God is still very present, still very much at work, still faithful. And I want to assure all of you, those here in person, those watching online, and especially those who may stumble on this message at some future time … God is not only present, but God is home here at Union Grove. That’s why I chose the theme of “Come Home to Christmas.” I know He’s here.
How do I know? Because I see His light burning brightly in all of you.
Howard Thurman wrote in Meditations of the Heart:
“I will light candles this Christmas.
Candles of joy, despite all the sadness.
Candles of hope where despair keeps watch.
Candles of courage where fear is ever present.
Candles of peace for tempest-tossed days.
Candles of grace to ease heavy burdens.
Candles of love to inspire all of my living.
Candles that will burn all the year-long. “
I know from talking with each of you that you probably don’t see in yourself what I see in you, but you shine brightly … and you shine the brightest on the days when you feel like the dark has overwhelmed you.
You come through … for one another … for neighbors and strangers … for the ones the world sees as unclean and unholy. You open your arms and your hearts to one and all. And you’ve opened this church to them as well.
We spent four weeks preparing for, waiting expectantly for the coming of the Messiah. We celebrated his birth with our families, friends, or some of us just in quiet solitude. The people of Israel waited for what they believed was going to be a mighty sword wielding warrior king on a white charger coming to vanquish their enemies and install them as the rightful and chosen people of God. We waited, knowing the rest of that story to celebrate the coming of the one who would ultimately give his own life on our behalf and defeat both sin and death in his resurrection. But there was more to the miracle than that.
Just yesterday, Mark Sandlin wrote on Facebook: “For me, the miracle of the Christmas story is not a virgin birth or a star shining brightly in the sky. For me, the miracle of the Christmas story is the lifting up of the unexpected and unusual as holy. The miracle of the birth narratives is found in how everyone from lowly shepherds to well-respected magi saw through societal veils that tend to make people invisible. They did not let the fact that this family had no home to stay in for the night stop them from seeing the value of the family. They did not let the fact that a child had been born in an animal stall prevent them from caring for the child. The miracle of the story is not high and holy; the miracle of the story is common and ordinary… in the most beautiful way. The miracle in the birth narratives is that of a love that did not allow societal expectations and standards to define who is in and who is out. The Christmas story should remind us all that the labels society places on others cannot take away from them the intrinsic value of their lives — and, likewise, we should not allow those labels to prevent us from seeing the value of their lives either.”
When I came to Union Grove 18 months ago, I recognized that this was unlike other churches I’d been in and trusted God to reveal his plan. I spent 11 of those 18 months talking to my own face in the video screen of my cellphone to deliver worship to an unknown congregation during the COVID lockdowns. When we were finally able to return to in-person worship this past May, I prayed again that I wouldn’t be standing in this pulpit looking out on an empty church … and you all came … you lit the candle of hope and you have kept it lit and burning brightly. And, even more importantly, you have done just as Mark Sandlin described. You have set aside the labels and “societal veils” and extended the invitation to come into God’s presence here to one and all. You came home and you invited others to come home as well.
The team at Scripture Lullabies wrote: “Hope dawned that day when Jesus arrived. It had been dormant, buried beneath the soil of a broken earth — it had disappeared in the garden of Eden. Yet under a starry night in Bethlehem, hope rose, pulsed with life through the veins of a tiny child. Hope reappeared and was again made available to each one of us. Today we pray God fills you to overflowing with this hope that does not disappoint. In the exhale of that baby’s first cry, hope won.”
For those out there watching this video or reading the transcript of this message on our website that have walked away from church because the church was unkind or uncaring or even apathetic, because the church rejected you, because the church didn’t live up to the gospels it preached, I am sorry for your pain and I want to assure you, again, that you will not find any of that here at Union Grove where we know who the Master of this house is and where we strive to live the gospel He preached. My hope is that you will find it in yourselves to see for yourselves.
For those of you who’ve made it here, Welcome Home.
For those of you still hesitant, still undecided, still hurting, still doubting … we’re waiting to welcome you, too, and we’re keeping the Light on for you.
Please join me in a prayer for our gifts this morning:
God of our salvation, we are still feeling the Christmas glow. Our heads are filled with the sounds and smells and memories of the joy and love and the stable and the baby in the manger. When we read about the twelve-year-old Jesus being left behind, we sometimes wish we didn’t have to head back into the world. As we make our last gifts of the year to you, Lord help us see the mission you’ve put before us. Bethlehem is just the beginning of our work! We pray it in the holy name of Jesus, the Christ.
Bruce Prewer, Uniting Church in Australia. Posted on the website of the Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren, and John H. Armstrong, Reformed Church of America
I especially want to thank those of you who made it here this morning whether in-person or online and don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone you may have napped a little here and there. I don’t blame you. Christmas is one of those times when we don’t get as much rest as we most likely need.
If you’re watching online, this is one of those rare occasions where you’ll hear me make this ask, but here goes. It’s the end of the year. If you’re looking for one or more organizations to contribute to before this year ends, please consider making an offering to Union Grove. You can do so through Tithe.ly or by mailing a check to the church. You’ll find all the information you need on our website at uniongroveumc-friendsville.org. Your offering will help us continue this ministry and this church as we move forward in the new year.
Now hear this benediction:
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
those who lived in deepest night, are lit up with a brilliant sight.
Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given.
The spread of his influence and of his peace will never end.
Therefore, go out into the world with great joy,
and the grace of Bethlehem’s matchless Child,
the love of the God who never ceases to amaze,
and the fellowship of the Spirit who never wearies,
will be with you this holy night and evermore.
Thanks be to God!
May you be filled with the wonder of Mary, the obedience of Joseph, the joy of the angels, the eagerness of the shepherds, the determination of the magi, and the peace of the Christ child. Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit bless you now and forever.
Go in peace to share hope, to share love, to share joy, and to share peace as you love and serve the Lord. And may you find it in yourselves to say one small yes.
- All works cited within the text above except as follows:
- All of You Who Walk in Darkness Copyright © 2012 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
(While the text of the hymn is not included in this transcript, the hymn is sung in the video.)
Copyright Disclaimer: Under §107 of the Copyright Act of 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for educational purposes. No copyright infringement is intended. All rights belong to their respective owners.
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 https://tithe.ly/give?c=4118449 and follow the instruction for making your offering. You may be prompted to create an account with them. There is no fee for the account or for making your offering through Tithe.ly.
If you are not comfortable using a debit or credit card online, you can mail your offerings/tithes to:
Union Grove UMC
1151 Lane Drive
Friendsville, TN 37737
Please be sure to make your checks payable to “Union Grove UMC Friendsville“.