Salem United Methodist Church
Serving our community for over 200 years making disciples for Christ

Serving our community for over 200 years making disciples for Christ

News From The Pews

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UPDATE from Bishop McAlilly

Posted on May 23, 2020 at 9:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Tentative Date for Return to In-Person Worship Extended into June

Blog post by Bishop McAlilly on 5/21/2020

The Apostle Paul begins his letters to the Philippians by reminding them that, even though they cannot gather, they are still able to “advance the gospel” (Philippians 1:12).

In a very abrupt way, COVID-19 altered many of the paths we were journeying and inspired us to examine and begin new ways of living and practicing our faith. I use the word inspired because through the creativity and flexibility I have witnessed in the churches and leaders of the Tennessee and Memphis Conferences of The United Methodist Church, I remain inspired.

On April 24, I announced that in-person worship and congregational gatherings would remain suspended until the end of May. After careful observation of the current trends and most recent data surrounding the spread of COVID-19, consultation with medical professionals, conferring with the COVID-19 response task team, and deep prayer, I have discerned that our tentative date for churches to begin coming back together for in-person worship will be June 21, 2020.

This date is not a mandate for which you must return to worship. Many of our churches will not be equipped and ready to safely engage in in-person worship. Rather, June 21 is a tentative date that will allow for in-person worship in an organized, phased manner where it is safe to do so. It is also a tentative date which is subject to revision based on current COVID-19 data at that time.

In this season, I have often been reminded of John Wesley’s General Rules, “Do No Harm, Do Good, and Stay In Love With God.” As we navigate our cautious and phased return to in-person worship amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, I have been guided by these rules, particularly the first one, “Do no harm.”

Therefore, I ask you to observe the following:

• First, approach this transition with prayer, seeking wisdom and guidance as you move forward.

• Evaluate your local community and church context. What are the local, state, and federal guidelines? Is it safe to begin physically meeting again? Would it do harm?

• Have you assembled a local team to assist in guiding the congregation through the necessary steps to ensure you do no harm in coming back together?

• Do you have on hand, or a plan to obtain, an adequate amount of approved cleaners and disinfecting agents?

• Do you have face coverings available for those who may not have one?

• Do you have volunteers ready, and does your congregation know the protocols and plans your leadership has agreed to follow?

On May 9, I announced that I had named a task team to guide us through reopening in light of Wesley’s General Rules. This team, composed of laypeople, elders, deacons, local pastors, district staff, and current and former healthcare professionals from across our episcopal area, is diligently working to equip our ministries and local churches to come back together while being continually aware of our vow to do no harm.

Today I share the team’s initial guidance for coming back together while continuing to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. This guidance is compiled from the vetted resources of the CDC, HHS, OSHA, and state health departments.

Many of you have questions. I want to urge you to refrain from seeking out answers from sources that are unverified, unregulated, and unreliable. The task team I assembled was brought together to offer guidance and recommendation to assist me in guiding these Conferences. Please resist the urge to go to social media or other venues to solicit guidance and answers to your questions. Instead, contact your district office who can direct you toward the evidence and fact-based guidance vetted by our task team. I will remain vigilant in communicating this guidance to you with time to react on your local level.

As we anticipate returning to worship, I trust you are engaging in the best wisdom and guidance available. Worshiping our risen Lord is the highlight of our week. Our hope will always be to be together within our sacred places of worship. We can anticipate that our future worship will be unlike our past gatherings. It is likely that for the foreseeable future we will engage in adaptive worship practices that allow us to do no harm. Simply be mindful of those that are most fragile. We do not want one United Methodist to become ill because of our gathering to worship.

I remain grateful for all who have done their part to slow the spread of COVID-19 during this season. Stay calm, stay the course, and stay connected.

May the peace of Christ be with you all.

Bishop McAlilly






A Note From Our Pastor

Posted on March 26, 2020 at 4:35 PM Comments comments (1)

March 26, 2020


Salem Methodist Church Family - Sisters and Brothers.Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord.
“They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”



Especially in times like this, when God’s entire creation is in pain, fear and distress,
we need to hold on to the truth of God’s Word.
That is the truth of God’s heart.


So we direct our prayers to God in line with His Word. “Heavenly Father, we ask You, in the mighty name of Jesus
that You destroy this virus which has enveloped Your creation. We thank You that You love us with an endless and powerful love
and that Your plans for us are for good and not disaster.


We thank You for Your love demonstrated in the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus.


Thank You Lord Jesus for bearing all of our sins, sicknesses and diseases in Your body on the cross so that we may have healing physically, mentally and spiritually. We give you praise. We love you. Fill us with Your Holy Spirit and show us Your way. Thank You Father, in Jesus’ name. Amen.



Sunday, April 5, will be Palm Sunday and Communion Sunday. We will still be away from one another, but only physically. I would like for all of us to receive Communion together that morning in our homes. (more on that later).



All over Planet Earth the body of Christ must be in strong prayer during these days, not just for deliverance from the virus, but through this plague all people to be drawn closer to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ, God the Son.



Finally, let’s communicate through the technology of social media. Isolation can be greatly relieved by a phone call, a text, email, or other ways of touching base with folks who need a connection. This is an important ministry. Who do you know that could be uplifted by a call. It will also minister to you as you reach out to others.


You are loved, Jesus is Lord,



A message from the Admin Council

Posted on March 24, 2020 at 10:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Here is a message from our Admin. Council Chair

The church sanctuary and nursery have been cleaned and disinfected. The carpet and pew cushions were cleaned last Saturday. We will not meet this week to put the sanctuary “back together” due to the recommendations to stay home. I pray that all will comply with the recommendations to stay home and stay safe. Please let me or Brother Thad know if you need anything.



The normal community feeding program was cancelled this week. Because of a special request from our friends at Knight’s Inn, GROW is doing a modified feeding for them.



Please send me any updates that you would like to be passed on to the congregation. Pastor Thad will be contacting the newly formed worship committee to plan for our Easter service. The current members include: Erik Krusell, Linda Treby, Melonee Oatsvall, Laura Maas, Sylvia Gerhart and Brother Thad. Please let Thad know if you would like to serve on this committee.



God Bless,



And Now a Word From Thad Collier

Posted on March 22, 2020 at 11:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Dear friends - Brothers and Sisters of Salem.
I am Thad Collier, the interim pastor at Salem UMC.

Greetings and Grace in our mighty Redeemer, Jesus Christ!!

As you are aware we and many other churches are practicing “social distancing” during these days.
Our Bishop Billy McAlilly has asked us to refrain from worship gatherings through April 5 and perhaps beyond.
We miss being together in worship, but are blessed with “social media” for communication ministry.

If anyone is in need please let me (931-704-3710) or Beryl Pixley know so we can get you the help you need.
Phone calls are great ministry opportunities.

Our entire planet is reeling because Covid-19.
I have never witnessed such a world wide impact before.

Only in Christ is there reason for the fullness of joy and faith to overflow.

Easter is on the way, April 12 this year. The Lord of Life, Jesus covers us with His grace.
Here is our standard, our reason for strength, courage, hope and confidence as we look to the future. He is our sure foundation.
Through His passion and death for our sins, and resurrection for our salvation, He has brought hope to all who trust in Him.

Remember Psalm 23,
“though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me. Your rod and Your staff they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil. My cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.“

As we “hunker down” and stay to ourselves for a while, I’m appreciating my need to assemble together.

Being with others in worship who love the Lord is a precious blessing.
Social distancing is healthy for now, but is opposite to the call of the Spirit to assemble together.
So we walk in faith with the One who will never leave us or forsake us.

No one has ever experienced social distancing as did our Savior.
Whether it was in the wilderness temptation or prayer alone away from the crowd or in the Garden of Gethsemane
where He experienced agony even to the point of death.

“Father,” He prayed, “All things are possible for You. Take this cup from Me. Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours be done.”

While we may need to be alone for a season, we will never be ultimately alone or forsaken. Jesus was forsaken so that we would never be.
He bore our sin so we could be free. He received our loneliness and sorrow so we could know His joy and fullness.

We have never known love like the love of God for us.

I pray for you as we worship apart but together tomorrow. And I ask that you pray for me as well.
Let’s stay in the Word, in prayer and in the Spirit together.


Google reminds us to

“Do the Five”:

1. Hands: wash ‘em often.

2. Elbows: cough into them.

3. Face: Don’t touch it.

4. Space: Keep a safe distance.

5. Home: Stay if you can.

You are loved.

Jesus is Lord.



A message from Bro. Thad Collier

Posted on March 18, 2020 at 11:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Salem Sisters and Brothers:

Easter Sunday is April 12 this year. Only four more Sundays. One of our Scripture readings for Tuesday 3-17-20 is
1 Corinthians 10:1-4,(NIV) Warnings From Israel’s History “For I do not in want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. 2 They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 3 They all ate the same spiritual food 4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.”


Through the wilderness the Israelites experienced many very difficult days.
But God was with them all the way encouraging, loving, often reprimanding, and disciplining them.

Paul is telling the Corinthians (and us)that even though we also go through tough times,
God is with us for we also walk with God through the fire and the sea.

But we eat the same spiritual food and drink the same spiritual drink as they did,
for we too drink from the same spiritual Rock which accompanies us.
That Rock is Christ.

Jesus is here for you as He was there for them. He is with you exactly right now. He will never leave you nor forsake you.
For you are greatly loved. Even though life sometimes is lonely and even fearful and tough Jesus is with us,
the Comforter, The Holy Spirit, is also with us.

Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you and empower you as you walk and wait and work and trust God our Heavenly Father.

You are a very important part of the body of Christ and you are greatly loved!!!

My phone # is 931-704-3710 if you ever need someone to talk to.

God Bless you. May you be filled with Resurrection Grace.

Bro. Thad

A message from the Admin. Council

Posted on March 16, 2020 at 2:30 PM Comments comments (0)

A message from Beryl Pixley (Admin Council)

The church and Belew house need to be cleaned and disinfected as per CDC guidelines.
This will require soap and water and bleach (Clorox wipes), buckets, Lysol spray, and cleaning rags.
Dana, Twila and I will head up the cleaning/disinfection efforts and all are invited to participate as your health and commitments permit.
This will start Tuesday morning at 9 am and continue until the task is completed.

We will not be working late.

 As a final step, the carpet will be professionally cleaned and the ozonater will be used to clean the air.
The church will be clean and ready for use when we resume services.



All those who participate will be asked to keep your safe space bubble and not cluster.
I have not set up a sign up list because I expect there to be no more than 5-6 of us available at one time.
People will be coming and going as their schedule permits.
Please bring the cleaning supplies you have.
Brother Thad is in agreement with this plan.




God Bless,



Church update

Posted on March 14, 2020 at 8:00 PM Comments comments (0)

There is no way to sugar coat this...
The Coronavirus has reared it's ugly head here at Salem...

One of our members has been exposed to the virus within
the last 2 weeks and has been asked to self quarntine for 2 weeks...

Currently this individual is symptom free and doing fine...

The individual who has been exposed was at our last
worship service on March 8th...

Here is a message from the chair of our Admin. Council

The risk of exposure is minimal but it reinforces the need for vigilance and social distancing to contain the spread of this virus.
The Salem leadership had cancelled church services for at least 2 weeks (5/15/2020 and 3/22/2020).
Please use the website to learn the latest and we will also use text, phone calls, and emails to keep in touch.
The church will be closed for group activities until the public health concern has passed. This will allow the facility to be cleaned and stand uncontaminated for the recommended time to ensure that the germs are dead.

Monitor any symptoms of fever, cough, shortness of breath, and flu-like symptoms.
Contact your health provider for additional instructions. We want everyone to remain healthy.

God Bless Our Church Family and our Nation.

Beryl K. Pixley, C. Administrative Council


Statement from Bishop McAlilly (Coronavirus)

Posted on March 13, 2020 at 7:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Guidance for Churches with Regard to COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Statement from Bishop McAlilly on March 13, 2020

These are confusing, uncertain times.
Our Episcopal Area is still responding to devastating tornado damage and now we are advised to beware of our potential role in spreading a deadly disease.

After consulting with a number of leaders across the Area, I am convinced the faith community has a very important role to play in slowing the speed of COVID-19 disease transmission.

We must be proactive rather than reactive. Our action could avoid potentially disastrous consequences for our communities.Therefore, I am advising our churches to consider suspending worship and other large gatherings for at least two weeks in order to slow
the rate of transmission of the COVID-19 virus, also known as the coronavirus,
and to support the work of our medical community.

I ask that our churches find other ways to practice and sustain our faith.
Our witness and our example may save many lives, especially the lives
of those at risk in our own congregations.

Social distancing may seem to be an unnecessary reaction to those of you who are not sick, but medical professionals are telling us that if we wait until the need is obvious - it will be too late.

If we use social distancing now, patients will arrive at hospitals at a much slower rate, and life saving treatment for the critically ill will remain available.

Given that so many depend on our church ministries, we hope you will be mindful of the need to continue to support these ministries.

Our contexts differ across our Episcopal Area.
Please use your best judgment in continuing your outreach.
Be wise and use precautions recommended by the CDC.

We want to continue to love people well, but we also need to take care to do no harm.

My former bishop, Hope Morgan Ward framed it well. She wrote: “Your prayers, presence (in spirit), gifts (including financial support), service, and witness are still important and needed to sustain and strengthen our ongoing mission.”

We encourage congregations to continue to support local church ministry by using online giving or by simply putting a check in the mail and sending it to their church.

Many of our congregations will be offering online worship opportunities. If your church does not offer this, our conference website will provide a selection of avenues to participate in worship. Please encourage those in your community to take advantage of this United Methodist connection.

Our Wesleyan roots have always included the concern for those most vulnerable. The people called Methodist established some of the first hospitals in this country. Now is an especially important time to live out our calling to love one another and to take care of those around us.






Pastoral Visits

Posted on March 8, 2020 at 2:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Rev. Thad Collier has set aside Monday
afternoon for church visitation...

Of course, shut ins and hospitalized members
will be priority, however, he would like to visit
you and your family when the schedule allows...

There will be a sign up sheet so that you can
choose a Monday for Thad to visit...

A Storm Update From Rev. Chip Hunter

Posted on March 3, 2020 at 12:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Storm Update


I know you are praying for those impacted by last night’s storms. Please add to your list the folks at Dodson Chapel and East End. Preliminary reports indicate that both churches suffered significant damage. Bishop McAlilly and Cumberland River District Superintendent, Scott Aleridge are reaching out to the pastors of those churches today. I will update you when I receive more information.


I am thankful for your willingness to support our neighbors. Many of you have already called to ask how you can help. Government Officials ask that only those trained as first responders report to impacted areas at this time. In the days to come there will be opportunities to help in tangible ways and the Tennessee Annual Conference is already working on organizing those efforts. The chair of the Tennessee and Memphis disaster response ministry, Robert Craig, has met by phone with UMCOR and the communication team for the Tennessee Annual Conference. You will receive information later today on how your church can help. Robert Craig’s email address is and here is a link to our conference disaster response web-page. Tennessee Annual Conference Disaster Response Web-page.


Once again, thank you for your prayers and for your warm heart.
I look forward to witnessing all the ways God works through you to bless our neighbors.