Dear Centenary Family,
This coming Sunday, November 20, is our Stewardship Commitment Sunday. I hope most of you by now have received the wonderful letter from our Finance Chair, Florence Clay Bishop. One of my observations about our history with stewardship here at Centenary is that we are not high pressure, but we are direct. We have had the opportunity to consider our relationship to our financial resources and our call to grow in generosity in several ways in recent months. If you were in worship in the summer, you heard several sermons based on gospel readings that spoke in very direct ways about the dangers and blessings of money for the Christian. Do you remember hearing about the rich man and Lazarus?
And in September we had the opportunity to come together in Sunday School to study Tom Berlin's new series entitled Defying Gravity. That was a wonderful time for us to consider the role gratitude plays in our giving of time, talent, and money, as well as to think together about the joy that comes from generously sharing what God has given us to advance God's kingdom on earth.
The last several weeks, we've heard from our own members about how they think about their generosity in relationship to our ministry here at Centenary. Susy Meyer shared with us all that Centenary had meant to her and her family. She recounted how Centenary had been there to support her when she and her son Eric, only 4 at the time, experienced the death of Susy's husband, Eric's father. She reminded us that the church is the Body of Christ and spoke of the ways that Centenary's excellent music spoke to her and her family and drew them to Centenary in the first place.
Bob Almond shared with us that Centenary was important to him because it has provided him and others ". . .opportunities for spiritual growth, opportunities to witness to others, opportunities to be of service to others, and opportunities to support the ministries of our church and our Methodist denomination." Bob spoke of the differences Centenary makes in the lives of its members and in the world around us. And then Bob reminded us of this text from Paul's second letter to the Corinthians: "So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver." He went on to give us some good theology, reminding us that God's acceptance of us is by grace, and not based on what we give. Our giving is voluntary and personal.
Kathleen Gregory reminded us of the many ministries our gifts make possible, from operating and maintaining our facilities to supporting our staff to enabling us to be in mission here and around the world. And Al Richardson, from his close perspective of our Walk-In Ministry, reminded us that the meals we prepare each week meet real human needs and are received with much gratitude. And this week we'll get to hear from Jan Nelson, our Administrative Council Chair in our early service, and Jay Jones, a member of our Finance Committee, at our 11:00 am service.
I could go on. Our church leaders have worked hard to keep our expenses in line for 2017. And we are diligently working on longer-term strategies to ensure our fiscal health and viability. I won't try to tell you that we don't need your gifts to keep the church going, because we do. But in keeping this ministry going, we are part of something greater than ourselves - God's reconciling work in a broken and hurting world.
Amy and I consider it a joy to make our pledge each year, just as you do, because we can think of no church we'd rather be able to support than Centenary. And through your generosity, God has taken care of our church. Our leaders constantly express their gratitude and amazement at your generosity. Our annual giving has shown an increase, even as you have generously pledged and given toward the kitchen renovation and elevator installation. I don't know about you, but we find that there's great joy in joining our giving with others to do God's work here in downtown Richmond and beyond.
I'd ask you to consider some practical things about your giving. If you give, but aren't yet at the point of tithing, think about what you gave in 2016 and try to step up 1%. If you attend, but haven't been able to give, please think about simply making a pledge for 2017 and seeing how God works in your life if you begin to make giving a regular part of your spiritual discipline. And if you already give generously, you know that giving has its own reward. Maybe you could share what you have learned with someone else.
After this Sunday, we enter the season of Advent. That's always a wonderful time of worship for us here at Centenary. I look forward to all these things with you and considerable myself quite fortunate to be able to serve Christ with you here at Centenary.
This Weekend at Centenary
Sunday, November 20 at both Worship Services: Stewardship Commitment Sunday
Dean Simpson will lead a study of the book The Tent of Abraham: Stories of Hope and Peace for Jews, Christians, and Muslims by Rabbi Arthur Waskow. The Tent of Abraham is the first book to tell the entire story of Abraham and to reenergize it as a basis for peace. Written by three leaders belonging to different faiths, the book explores in accessible language the mythic quality and the teachings of reconciliation that are embedded in the Torah, the Qur'an, and the Bible.
We will have the opportunity to turn in our Estimate of Giving cards; additional cards will be available in the sanctuary. Thank you for your generosity which will allow Centenary to continue its vital mission in carrying out God's work.
Sunday, November 20: Bring in the Harvest
Centenary's Thanksgiving tradition has been to give groceries to those who are in need. If you are able, please take this list to the grocery store and purchase the listed items. If more than one bag is needed, it is not necessary to join them together. If you are unable to buy everything on the list, do what you can.
Please bring the bags to the altar on Sunday. These items should feed a family of four for a week:
- 1 box of powdered milk
- 1 large box of cereal
- 1 jar of peanut butter
- 2 packages of dried beans or peas
- 2 cans of tuna or salmon
- 2 cans of fruit
- 2 cans of vegetables
- 1 can of corned beef or beaf stew
- 1 lb. box of spaghetti
- 1 jar of spaghetti sauce
- 3 boxes of macaroni and cheese
- Jello or cake mix
Sunday, November 20 at 10:00 am: New Adult Sunday School Offerings Continue
Robb Stottlemyer will lead a study of the book
Advent and Christmas Wisdom from Henri J.M. Nouwen: Daily Scripture and Prayers Together with Nouwen's Own Words. The inspiring words of Henri Nouwen guide the faithful on a spiritual journey through the Advent and Christmas season in this book of waiting, hope, anticipation, and celebration. It celebrates the momentous arrival of the Christ Child and the joyous news of our salvation. It is also an ideal book for the individual seeking active participation in the season and a renewal of faith for the start of the liturgical year. Some books will be available on Sunday mornings.
A new young adult study will also begin with Pat Shipley and Dave Jarvis leading a study that starts with the foundation of "Love God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind" (Luke 10:7) titled Dream. Think. Be. Do.
Sunday, November 20 at 2:00 pm: Theatre Outing to Assassins
A group from Centenary will be attending a Quill Theatre production of
at the Firehouse Theatre (located at 1609 W Broad Street). A multiple Tony Award-winning theatrical tour-de-force, this explosive musical examines the lives of those who committed - or attempted to commit- the ultimate crime: the assassination of an American president. Boldly cutting-edge and alarmingly funny, the show freely mixes characters from different periods in a kaleidoscopic, hallucinatory revue. With Stephen Sondheim's signature blend of beautiful music and dazzling lyrics, this show entertains while it examines the sense of entitlement and yearning for fame that motivates an unthinkable act. Tickets will be between $0 and $25, depending on the size of our group. Check with Ann Davis to see if there are any tickets still available.
Monday, November 28 at 7:30 pm: Final Dress Rehearsal of Hamlet in Fellowship Hall
Come see this preview performance in our Fellowship Hall of the one-hour Hamlet that Quill Theatre will start touring the next day in the Richmond City Schools. Refreshments will be served. No reservations needed. Just come and support these actors who will be sharing their love of Shakespeare with Richmond City children!
Tuesday, November 29 at 12 noon: Advent Dramatic Reading
During Tuesday's Open Sanctuary on November 29, December 6 and 13 we will offer a short program that will include a dramatic reading for the Advent/Christmas season.
Saturday, December 3 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm: Christmas Parade Open House
The Evangelism/ Communications Committee is hosting an Open House at the church on the morning of the downtown Christmas Parade. We will be passing out coffee, hot cider and cookies on the sidewalk outside the church as people walk to and from the parade. We will also be offering tours of the sanctuary and the bell tower for those who are interested. If you are able to help by providing cookies or by greeting people on that day, please let Ann Davis, Bob Almond or Susan Thomas know.
Tuesday, December 6 at 12 noon: Advent Dramatic Reading
During Tuesdays' Open Sanctuary we will offer a short program that will include a dramatic reading for the Advent/Christmas season.
Wednesday, December 7 at 10:30 am: INFAMY: Remembering Pearl Harbor
The first in Quill Theatre's Historical Reading Series,
this very special multi-media event will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The fateful day will come alive at the
Virginia Historical Society (428 N Boulevard in Richmond)
, moment by moment, through live readings, vintage film clips, and audio recordings, and will unfold the experiences of Virginia citizens, both here in America and in Hawaii. Tickets are $20 each, $16 if you are a VHS member, $12 if you are a veteran. Sign up on the bulletin board across from the kitchen.
Saturday, December 10 at 2:30 pm: Theatre Outing to The Gift Exchange
A group from Centenary will be attending a Huguenot Community Players' production of The Gift Exchange by local playwright Philip Ventrella. All Hank wants for Christmas is to get his feuding daughters married and out of the house so he can spend a little more quality time with his wife. When their suitors hear about the romantic way Hank proposed to his frazzled wife, they both try to outdo each other, leading to a holiday mix-up of epic proportions, Throw in a department store Santa who can't stop hitting the bottle and his condescending manager and you get the worst Christmas eve ever! It's a Gift of the Magi meets the Marx brothers in this soon to be holiday classic! 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.
Sunday, December 11: "Chat and Chew" with Bishop Sharma Lewis
You are invited to a gathering with our new Bishop at Woodlake UMC. Clergy will be meeting from 2:00 to 4:00 pm in the afternoon, dinner will be served between 4:30 and 6:00 pm. Laity are invited to attend the dinner, and then to attend a special gathering for Laity with the bishop from 6:15 until 8:15 pm. Those who attend are asked to make a $10 donation to cover the expense of the meal. Checks can be made to the Richmond District, memo: Chat and Chew. Each church is asked to submit a reservation for the number of people attending. If you would like to attend, please make your reservation by calling the church office at 648-8319 or e-mailing the church office at firstname.lastname@example.org by Thursday, December 1.
Tuesday, December 13 at 12 noon: Advent Dramatic Reading
During Tuesdays' Open Sanctuary we will offer a short program that will include a dramatic reading for the Advent/Christmas season.
Wednesday, December 14 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm: Evergreen Centerpiece Workshop
Join us for a fun evening as you create an evergreen centerpiece for your Christmas table. David Pippin will demonstrate the basic techniques and assist as you assemble your own unique arrangement. Participants are asked to bring a bucket of evergreens to share, a water-tight container and a pair of floral clippers/pruners. Floral foam will be available for $2.00/block. Some suggested evergreens: Boxwood, Pine (short needles), Cedar, Magnolia, Aucuba, Holly, Arborvitae and Camellia. Sign up on the bulletin board across from the kitchen.
Sunday, December 18 at 12:15 pm: Christmas Luncheon
Mark your calendars for our annual Christmas Luncheon. The church will provide ham, rolls, and beverages. Please bring a large side dish or dessert to share with others. Following the meal, you will be entertained by wonderful storyteller Phyllis Stump.
Outreach and Mission Opportunities
United Methodist Women
Read the latest news from the Virginia Conference United Methodist Women in the fall issue of their newsletter The LINK.
Leftover Halloween Candy?
Need a home for your leftover Halloween Candy? Donate it to the Evangelism Committee for use in the welcome mugs that they give to our first-time visitors at the end of each worship service. The donations of candy can be left in the church office.
Christmas Gifts for our Walk-In Guests
We will be offering gifts to our Walk-In guests to give to their loved ones for Christmas. If you have any items that you would like to donate, you can drop them off at the church office. Some ideas for gifts include gloves, scarves, holiday items found at the dollar tree, or items found in the dollar bin at Target. Here is also a link to the Oriental Trading Company, which is a wonderful way to buy neat items in bulk.
Please Remember in Prayer
Ryland Bailey, Sr.
Joe Ciucci Jr.
Ruth Anne Davis
Sarah and Greg DeKramer (Leah Hundley's niece and her husband)
Rev. Katie B. Gooch, Minister at the Pace Center VCU and her husband Matt (in the death of Matt's father)
Tim Guill (friend of James Durst who is recovering from a car accident)
Jack & Lois Hinerman
The family of Jean Jones (who passed away on November 1)
Debbie Kammeter (friend of Leah Hundley) in the loss of her father
Donna Mestre (Betty Brown's sister)
Kevin Watson (son of Cheryl Owen-Watson)
Ina Wilson (her sister passed away October 3)
Patsy Marrs Wilson
Celebrating Birthdays in November
Jo Anne Berft
Photo of the Week
This past Sunday, Al Richardson, our long-time Facilities Manager, thanked the congregation for their generous donations towards the renovation of our kitchen and continuation of our Walk-In Ministry that provides meals for hundreds of hungry people.
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