Centenary's Weekly Newsletter July 8, 2016
A Message from Our Pastor
Pastor Matt 
Dear Centenary Family,
Those of you who worship with us know that we follow the lectionary in the planning of worship and preaching. For those who may not be familiar, the lectionary is a three-year cycle of readings based on the Christian year. When I was in seminary, I had teachers and role models in ministry who were strong advocates of following the lectionary. There are other valid methods for planning worship and preaching. Some preachers preach through books of the Bible or develop sermon series based on current topics of interest. I've tried some of those approaches at different times. But I always come back to studying the lectionary.
For one thing, the lectionary binds us to Christians of other denominations who follow those assigned readings. There's something powerful about knowing we're worshiping in concert with other Christians in places far from us. But the other thing I've come to value is that the lectionary takes us to and through the Scriptures in ways we might otherwise neglect. I don't mean to sound critical of other methods, but when the preacher selects the subject and goes in search of a text, it's easy to avoid texts and topics that might make us uncomfortable. Or maybe I lack creativity. I agree with the Lutheran preacher, Nadia Bolz-Weber, who quipped about this subject something like, "How am I qualified to decide what my people need to hear?"
So, this summer I'm working through Luke, the assigned Gospel for Year C of the Revised Common Lectionary. I am always amazed how the lectionary speaks to questions brought to us in our life together as a congregation or events happening in our city or the world. Of course, I'll admit those questions are on my mind and heart as I study texts for preaching each week. The Bible may contain an old, old story we all love to hear and tell, but it never ceases to speak to us right where we are. That's because Jesus, the living word, the word made flesh, speaks to us through the written words of Scripture.
This week's gospel reading is so familiar it is almost cliché. It's Luke 10:25-37, Jesus' parable of the Good Samaritan. You learned it in Sunday School. You've tried to embody the ideal of caring for people in their time of need. That's what this text is about, right? In part, it is what this story is about. But what I have been thinking about a lot is that the hero of the story is someone despised by Jews - a Samaritan. So, maybe one thing this story is about is not just the challenge we face in caring for others in need. What if we're the one beaten and robbed and left for dead on the side of the road?  The question this parable raises is, "Who is the Samaritan for you and me?  Is there anyone who might come to offer us aid and we'd be tempted to say, 'No, thanks, I'd rather die than to be helped by someone like you...'"
Let's wrestle with that this Sunday. On the other side of that struggle within ourselves is an encounter with one who shows kindness and mercy to all.

P.S. I'll be out of town July 11-17. Rev. Cheryl Owen-Watson will be preaching at both services on July 17.  
This Week at Centenary

Important Notice about the Back Entrance on Sunday
The back entrance of the church is closed now  on  Sund a ys due to the construction. You will be able to enter through the choir room doors to the right as you enter into the courtyard. For those individuals  unable to navigate stairs, we hope to have someone at the nursery door entrance to let you in. There is only a little step up into the nursery.  Please be sensitive to the babies and toddlers in the room  as you walk through. 

Important Notice about Sunday Parking on 4th Street
Please re member that on Sunday mornings if you park on 4th Street in one of the handicapped parking places (right hand side of the street as you head north - see photo on the left), you must display a  handicapped parking tag or risk being ticketed. 

New Adult Sunday School Class
A new study for adults is being offered in the Fellowship Hall on Sunday mornings at 10:00 am. All are welcome! Led by a rotating leadership,  The Call:  The Life and Message of the Apostle Paul  is a study by Adam Hamilton that follows the journeys of Paul from the road to Damascus to the sun-drenched lands of modern-day Greece and Turkey, to a Roman prison. You'll see exactly where some of the most dramatic events in the spread of Christianity took place, and gain a better understanding of Paul's missionary travels.  
Upcoming Events

Sunday, July 17 at 6 pm:  Summer Movie Night
Centenary's Fellowship Hall is being turned into a movie theatre (yes, with popcorn!) one Sunday night each summer month. The featured movie in July is The Finest Hours from  Walt Disney Pictures . The screenplay  is based on the book  The Finest Hours: The True Story of the U.S. Coast Guard's Most Daring Sea Rescue  by  Michael J. Tougias  and  Casey Sherman,  and chronicles the true account of the 1952  United States Coast Guard   rescue of the   SS Pendleton  after it split apart during a  nor'easter  off the  New England  coast. Rated PG-13.
Please Remember in Prayer

Joe Ciucci
Goldie Craig's niece Morgan 
Ruth Ann Davis
Susan Dobyns (friend of Leah Hundley)
Grace Hinchman 
Jack & Lois Hinerman
Judy Holland          
Jean Jones
Mike Jones
Troy Nelson
Marcus Smith (Suzanne Ray's uncle)
John Seyfarth
Ann Michael Sturgeon's family (A.J. Crick's sister, who recently passed away)
Kevin Watson (upcoming surgery on September 1)
Celebrating Birthdays in July

Bob Almond
Sarah Anzelmo-Steele
Jacob Armstrong 
Ryland Bailey
R.B. Bennington
Reggie Bristow
Bill Brock
Vikki Brock
William Brock
Judy Brown
Laurie Cardoza
Madeleine Chasse
Frank Childrey, Jr.
Nikki Cullather
Les Dobbs
Mary Dobbs
Scottie Estis
John Ford 
Joe Hudgins
Bob Hundley
Kate Hundley
David Jarvis
Suresh Joel
Carter Johnson
Isabel Junker
Edna Knight
George Little
Mary Alice Nesbitt
Jonathan Nuckols
Charlie Petty
Opel Pritchett
Dean Simpson
Sonia Smith
Geraldine Stallings 
Emmeline Steele
Matthew Steele
Olivia Steele
John Stottlemyer
Susan Thomas
Beth Vetrovec
Mary E. Vetrovec
Sylvia Whaley
Phillip Wood
Photo of the Week
A busy Thursday night on our block of Grace Street with four restaurants open for dinner.
Centenary United Methodist Church | (804) 648-8319 | www.centumc.org 
Visit Us: 411 E. Grace St., Richmond, VA 23219