This Week at Centenary
Friday, December 4, 2020
Dear Centenary Family,
 
Thank you for your prayers and concerns as we continue to pray for those diagnosed with and exposed to the Covid-19 virus. Things are looking up this week, and we will keep you informed of any further developments.
 
We will be worshiping on Zoom again this week with an eye to returning to livestreaming from the sanctuary again on December 13, but we will certainly keep you posted if anything changes.
 
The text we’re focusing on this week is Isaiah 40:1-11. This is a familiar text we often turn to at funerals and at other times of loss or disappointment. This chapter in Isaiah marks a distinct shift of tone and mood from Isaiah 1-39. The first part of Isaiah is filled with prophecies of warning and judgment, calling the people to repentance for their sins of idolatry and injustice, warning them that disaster awaits them if they do not change. Disaster came. The city of Jerusalem, the temple within it, and people’s homes and crops were destroyed by the invading Babylonian army in 587 BCE. Many people were taken captive and relocated from their homes in Jerusalem to Babylon. It was a calamity of great proportions that caused the people of Israel to completely rethink their faith in God.
 
Those people could teach us much about how to learn to see God’s presence in the face of adversity, how to critically reflect on whether our values as a church or a nation align with God’s, and how to discover new resources for strength to persevere.
 
Isaiah begins with the familiar words, “Comfort, O Comfort my people. . .” The focus in Isaiah now turns to words of comfort, promises of healing and restoration. And to be sure, those promises were fulfilled in the people’s minds in a concrete way when the Persians supplanted the Babylonians as the world’s next great power. Cyrus, their leader, took pity on the people of Israel and allowed them to return to their homes, rebuild the city and the temple. To the people of Israel, Cyrus was a Savior figure sent by God to put an end to their suffering.
 
Advent is about that kind of hope. Advent promises us that dark days will give way to the light, that life in exile will end and we’ll find home once again, that God’s displeasure will finally be overtaken by God’s immense grace. I hope you’ll join us Sunday as we think on these things together.
 
I’d also like to remind you that this Sunday is communion Sunday. Please gather the elements you need for the Lord’s Supper—a little bread, some wine or grape juice—and we will remember God’s mighty acts of salvation in the past and anticipate the fulfillment of all God’s future promises.
 
I hope you will remember that God’s comfort is both strong and gentle, both fierce and forgiving and that you will claim the promise of that comfort for yourself, those you love, and the whole human family during this Advent season.
 
Peace,
 
Matt
Online Worship

Sunday, December 6


Join us on Zoom as we gather together for worship at 11:00 a.m.
Please be prepared with your elements for Holy Communion
as we celebrate the sacrament together.

This Sunday Rev. Matt Bates will be preaching.
His sermon is titled When the Morning Comes Around...

Centenary has moved to a new kind of church record keeping solution called Realm®. It primarily serves the administrative needs of our staff, but it also offers some exciting opportunities to support the way you are involved in our church. Not only will this improve work life for our ministry staff, it will make it easier for our church family to connect with each other, keep up with what’s going on, and grow as a connected community of believers.
 
To find out more about Realm, please visit our website. Want to create an account? Please email Laura – centunitedmethodistchurch@gmail.com. She will need the email address that you would like connected to your account. From there, she will send an email with the link you need to set up your account.

New technology is never easy and can be confusing. Here is a PDF that will walk you through your new account. And you can always reach out to Laura. She is happy to set up a time to talk with you and help you feel comfortable with Realm
Ways to Make Your 2021 Pledge
You recently received a stewardship letter, with a pledge card. In error, the card says you can bring it with you to worship on November 29. Of course, we are not meeting in person for worship! Sorry for this oversight. But we do have two ways to pledge:
  1. Fill out and mail your pledge card to the church. We are receiving mail even on the days we are not there.
  2. If you have created a Realm account, you can make your pledge directly from your account. Click here for instructions!
Thank you for your generosity to Centenary!
SERVING OPPORTUNITY
The Serving Team would like to give you another opportunity to reach out to make Christmas happier for some most deserving people, our Veterans at Mcguire Hospital. For several years our Walk Ins have sent the cards; but that can't happen in 2020. We still want them to be reminded that they are not forgotten during this Christmas Season. You may send as many cards as you like to the following address in a large envelope. Each card would be signed by you and a few words of thanks and encouragement to the veteran. Volunteers will distribute the cards. PLEASE DO NOT SEAL THE INDIVIDUAL ENVELOPES. We appreciate your effort and concern for our men and women who have given their all for our country. Please send the cards to:

Voluntary Service (135)
CVHCS
1201 Broad Rock Road
Richmond, VA 23249
PECAN UPDATE
We have some pecan available for sale -- $12/bag.
  • 3 Halves
  • 16 pieces
To place your order contact Leah Hundley.
Please make checks payable to Leah Hundley.
Bible Study Opportunities

Tuesday evenings at 7:00 p.m.
Wednesday mornings at 10:00 a.m.

Reminder - the evening Bible study now meets on Tuesday evenings. It is the same format, just a new time! Check the Bible Study reminder email on Tuesday for the Zoom links.
The Upper Room
available as a PDF
The Upper Room is continuing to support their standing order partners with a PDF of the November/December issue!
You may download your copy here.
Birthdays This Week

December 5 - Suzanne Ray
December 9 - Anne Baughan
December 9 - David Smith
Dec. 6 @ 11 a.m. Zoom Sunday Worship
Dec. 7 @ 6 p.m. Healthy Church Team Meeting
Dec. 8 @ 4 p.m. CUMC Leaders Meeting
Dec. 16 @ 4 p.m. UMW Smethie Circle

All events are on Zoom unless otherwise noted.
Our thoughts and prayers go to Susan Hill and her family upon the death of her mother, Sylvia Hill on December 3, 2020.

We also remember the family and friends of Annie Little who passed away on November 23, 2020. You can read her obituary here.
Ka Cheng - friend of Vicki and Phyllis Stump diagnosed with breast cancer.
Ronnie Clements
Jack & Denney Collins - Jack is now recovering at home. Continue to keep him and
his wife Denney in your prayers. Jack and Denney are part of our young adult
ministry. Cards and expressions of support and concern can be sent to Jack Collins,
1217 Stanhope Avenue, Richmond, VA 23227.
Shannon Conway - requests prayer for the Charles Sherman, Peter 
Oxborrow, Leon Beale and family.
Tim Gerde - recovering at home.
Jeff Hatch
Clyde Hundley - recovering from a recent blood clot. 
Mary Mismas - recovering from back surgery.
Patti Oman - health concerns - friend of Beth Hensley.
William Ray - husband of Suzanne Ray, recent hospitalization at Memorial Regional Hospital.
Jerry Rodwell - Amy Bates's dad - recent cancer diagnosis.
Phyllis Stump - at Lakewood Manor.
Ron Towers - is recovering at home. Cards can be sent to 202 North 20th Street, Apt. 306, Richmond, VA 23223.
Mariah Travis - Barrett Brown's sister, who in undergoing tests.