A Message From Centenary
Dear Centenary Family,
There are some things so familiar to us, that we cannot imagine ever seeing anything new in them. We travel the same route from home to work so often we could almost do it with our eyes closed. When someone asks, "Did you see the 7-Eleven on the corner," we confess that we hadn't. We just weren't looking for anything new. The same thing happens with people we've known for a long time. They may change their hair style or lose weight. All of a sudden, one day we realize there is something different, but we can't quite put our finger on it.
The same is true with our faith. Some of us have been around the church since childhood. We've gotten familiar with certain hymns and know what to expect in most worship services. The continuity gives us comfort, but often obscures the new word God has to speak or the new way God calls us to go.
That's true with Scripture. After time, we've heard and read and studied certain passages so frequently that we assume we've exhausted their meaning. The Ten Commandments, the Lord's Prayer, the Sermon on the Mount - what new thing could such familiar passages possibly have for us?
One of those familiar texts is Psalm 23. Old Testament scholar John Holbert notes that though less than 20% of our culture these days is active in a church, it's hard to go many places where folks haven't heard some snippet of this text. How many scenes in movies or television shows have you seen where people begin to recite this familiar text at a graveside or in a funeral service?
Psalm 23 is the Psalter reading for this coming Sunday. Some of the commentaries I've studied warn against preaching on this text because it so familiar. It's easy to become sentimental with a text like this and try merely to recover the feeling of comfort it gave us in a time of trouble, stress, or loss.
But, against that counsel, I'm working on a sermon on Psalm 23. And I'm finding that as I slow down and meditate on these six verses, there are things here I've overlooked, or forgotten, or never seen. For instance, the Psalm begins, "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want." Stop there! That's an amazing claim, isn't it? If it is true that the Lord is our shepherd, that means that we never lack anything we truly need. It means that God's grace and provision are always sufficient for those who consider themselves God's sheep. That's a powerful, sweeping statement, isn't it? I've been asking myself, not so much whether that claim is true, but whether I live as if it were true. Because I must tell you, there are a lot of days when I feel like there are a lot of things I lack, want, desire, don't have, or am not capable of accomplishing. Why is that the case? Have you ever felt that way?
And I've wondered this, also. This Psalm is given to us in the season of Easter. I've not found a definitive answer to this yet, but I've been pondering, "What role did this Psalm play in the life of Jesus? Was it one he thought of often, that gave him strength and comfort in the face of suffering and trial?"
I invite you to go back over that Psalm - slowly - before you come to worship Sunday. I'd love to know whether, through these well-worn words, you hear God saying something new to you.
Centenary 2020 Strategic Planning Update
In 2016 the Centenary 2020 Strategic Planning Committee worked hard to develop the recommendations for a plan for our church. You may recall the open meetings we held in October to discuss some of our initial recommendations and strategies.
A decision has been made to engage a professional consultant to help us finalize the plan. Dr. John Wimberly with the Congregational Consulting Group will meet with members of the Planning Committee and the Administrative Council on Saturday, May 13, from 8 am to 1 pm to begin the process of reviewing, editing and discussing how to best implement the recommendations in the plan. Dr. Wimberly was a pastor for 30 years and now consults with churches around the country that are engaged in the process of developing strategic plans for their church. We are excited to have this opportunity to work with him for the next couple of months. The process of implementing the goals and objectives in the final plan will be challenging and we want to ensure we are making the best decisions possible for our church.
It is our intention to keep all church members informed about this important planning process. Before any final decisions are made there will be additional open meetings for church members to share their thoughts and opinions. Additionally I will be glad to speak to anyone individually about the plan or the implementation process. My email address is
or you can call me at home at 804-320-3254.
This Weekend at Centenary
8:40 am - Informal Worship Service
10:00 am - Sunday School for all ages
11:00 am - Traditional Worship Service
Senior Pastor Matt Bates will preach "If the Lord is Our Shepherd" based on the scripture reading Psalm 23.
Tuesday, May 9 at 6:00 pm: Quiche Dinner and Fellowship
This annual event will be held at the home of Mary E. Vetrovec. Bring a quiche, a salad, or a dessert to share.
Friday, May 19 and Sunday, May 21: "Mozart's Requiem"
The Central Virginia Masterworks Chorale will be performing "Mozart's Requiem," as well as two other Mozart selections, on Friday, May 19, at 7:30 pm at River Road Presbyterian Church (8960 River Road in Richmond) and on Sunday, May 21, at 3:00 pm at Duncan Memorial United Methodist Church (201 Henry Street in Ashland). If you would like to attend, see Nancy or Vic Grand (phone 804-276-5362 or firstname.lastname@example.org). Tickets are also available online at www.cvamc.org or call 800-838-3006.
Sunday, May 21 at 2:30 pm: Theatre Outing to A Bad Year for Tomatoes
A group from Centenary will be attending a Huguenot Community Players' production of A Bad Year for Tomatoes by
Fed up with the pressures and demands of her acting career, the famous Myra Marlowe leases a house in the tiny New England hamlet of Beaver Dam, and settles down to write her autobiography. She is successful in turning aside the offers pressed on to her by her long-time agent, but dealing with her nosy, omnipresent neighbors is a different matter.
Huguenot Community Players is located at Huguenot United Methodist Church (10661 Duryea Drive in Richmond). Tickets are $12 each. Sign up on the bulletin board across from the kitchen.
Attention All Class of 2017 Graduates
If you or someone in your family is planning on graduating from high school or college this spring or summer, please call the church office at (804) 648-8319, or send us an email at email@example.com, by Sunday, May 21, with the following information so that we can announce it in the bulletin.
1. Name (first, middle, and last)
2. Affiliation (child of, grandchild of, etc.)
3. School attended
4. Future plans
Thanks so much and congratulations, graduates!
Saturday, June 3 at 8:45 am: Rise Against Hunger Meal Packing Event
We will meet at Centenary to pack meals for Rise Against Hunger! Mark your calendars. Invite family and friends. Have fun while serving a good cause.
Thursday, June 29: Centenary Travels Trip to Staunton, VA
The tentative date for our next Centenary Travels Trip is Thursday, June 29, and will be to Staunton, VA. We will leave from Lakeside UMC at 8:00 am, traveling in our own vehicles, and returning around 5:00 pm. We will visit the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library, as well as downtown Staunton. Lunch will take place at Mrs. Rowe's Restaurant - for some good country cooking! Then we will visit the P. Buckley Moss Gallery in Waynesboro, and have refreshments there. A flyer will be posted on the bulletin board across from the kitchen as soon as plans are finalized.
A Challenge from Bishop Lewis to Read the Bible with Her in 2017
This week's readings:
1 Chronicles 12-14
1 Chronicles 15-17
May 7: 1
1 Chronicles 22-24
1 Chronicles 25-27
1 Chronicles 28-2 Chronicles 1
You can now register if you are joining Bishop Lewis in her challenge to the Virginia Conference to read the Bible in entirety in 2017. The short poll allows you to add your name as well as district (Richmond) and your home church (Centenary).
Please Remember in Prayer
Joe Ciucci Jr.
Bobby Davis (now a patient at Hanover Health and Rehab)
Jack Hill (currently at Lucy Corr Rehab)
Jack & Lois Hinerman
Neil Shingleton and family (in the loss of his brother, Will Shingleton)
P.C. and Carol Yerby (parents of Mary Mismas)
Celebrating Birthdays in May
Photo of the Week
If it's a first Friday, then a Centenary crew is in the kitchen for our Walk-In Ministry!
Photo credit: Kathleen Gregory
Visit Us: 411 E. Grace St., Richmond, VA 23219