This Week at Centenary
Dear Centenary Family,
 
One of the things I’ve had to work on in my life and work over the years has been my ability to handle conflict. As a younger person, my default method of handling conflict was to try to find ways to avoid it! But I’ve learned over the years that that is not always healthy or helpful. And truth be told, it is impossible to avoid conflict.
 
I’ve read books and attended workshops to learn how to handle conflict. I’ve tried to learn not to take all conflict personally and to recognize the difference between healthy and unhealthy forms of conflict. There’s a vast difference between a difference of opinion or point of view, and a desire to create chaos in a family, congregation or workplace. 
 
The text for this Sunday’s sermon is Genesis 25:19-34. It’s the story of Jacob and Esau, a story an Old Testament professor of mine used to call “The Story of Hairy and Grabby.” It’s a story about conflict. It’s about the conflict between two brothers who have different values and goals in their lives. It’s about the conflict between a husband and a wife (Isaac and Rebekah) who each have their own favorite among these two brothers.
 
But if we step back from the story, we see that this is a story that helped the people of Israel understand themselves. Jacob (which means “Grabber”) was always trying to wrest God’s blessing for his life from God’s hands (or Esau’s, or Isaac’s, or Laban’s as the story unfolds). Later in Jacob’s life, he literally wrestles all night with an angel that he later comes to understand as God. Israel saw themselves as always wrestling with God and struggling with their neighbors to realize God’s promise to them.
 
There’s no avoiding it. We are in a time of great conflict and division. We are in a time of wrestling, struggling, and striving. One of the things this ancient story of Jacob and Esau affirms is that God is at work even in the midst of human conflict and struggle, always trying to work out God’s purpose for the salvation of all humanity.
 
That’s made me wonder. In this time of struggle, I’ve been wondering whether I should see the current conflicts of our time, not as a sign of God’s absence, but as the place where God is present, hoping that in the midst of disagreement, rivalry, and bitterness, we will come to see our fellow strugglers as something other than enemies to be despised. What would it mean for us as a church if we believed that God was present in our conflicts and that God has a purpose for those with whom we struggle for whatever reason? 
 
I don’t know that I’ve figured all that out just yet, but I’m coming to believe that God is with us in our struggle, our wrestling with each other. In fact, could it be in our wrestling with each other, we are in some way wrestling with God to come to understand more deeply God’s purpose for all creation? I do know this. Jesus did not run from conflict. Jesus, albeit with fear and trepidation, embraced it. Jesus knew that it would be in that great struggle that led to the cross where salvation would be found. He could even look at those who opposed him at every turn and pray, “Father forgive them, they don’t know what they’re doing.”
 
I look forward to worshiping with you Sunday. We’ll keep wrestling with God, and sometimes with one another, until things become completely clear to us!
 
Peace, 
 
Matt
Online Worship
Join us on Facebook Live for worship this Sunday at
11:00 a.m. This is the time and place that we gather to worship together. We will also be posting a recorded audio version of the service on our website , which you can access any time. (when available) Invite others to join us this Sunday and on the Sundays to come!

This Sunday Rev. Matt Bates will be preaching.
His sermon is titled Salvation and Sibling Rivalry.

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Shhhh.....It's a Surprise!!
A Drive By Birthday Party for
Mary Alice Nesbitt


Mary Alice Nesbitt will turn 90 years old on July 23. Her daughter, Jaye White, is planning a drive by birthday party! She doesn't know about the plan, so please don't mention it to her! Jaye will arrange to have her seated outside the house, under a Duke blue canopy between 11:30 - 1 pm. Sadly, she's in the high risk category so there won't have any close contact, but she will love seeing you! Tell your friends! Click the link for a map! 3305 Gloucester Rd.
Thank you to our many friends at Centenary UMC and the cards, emails, and notes we received after my mother, Jane Grand, passed.   We were touched by the kind words, support, and show of sympathy you provided me and my family.  I took comfort in knowing the strength of God brought her to a peaceful passing. Blessing to our Centenary family.  
-Vic and Nancy Grand
Tips for Online Giving
Thank you for continuing to support the ministries of Centenary during this time. Check out these tips that will make online giving easier and ensure that your contribution is credited to the proper fund.
Wednesday Morning Bible Study
Join us on Wednesday morning at 10:00 a.m.
for our Bible Study via Zoom. 
Watch for your Zoom invitation to join us on Tuesday!
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Tea with Tim
Thursdays at 4:00pm

Join us as we to check in, catch up, and chat a bit. Rev. Tim Gerde will host our time with his usual wit and wisdom! We look forward to delightful conversation as we share our lives together via Zoom. Look for the Zoom invite on Wednesday of next week!
The Upper Room now
available as a PDF
From The Upper Room:

"During this time of anxiety and isolation The Upper Room wants to make it as easy as possible for people to find resources to support spiritual health. We are providing the July/August 2020 issue of The Upper Room magazine, both in English and Spanish , for download at no cost to our standing order partners and subscribers."

Centenary is a standing order partner, and we have permission to share the PDF with you! You may download your copy here .
Celebration Sunday Spring Plants
A variety of spring plants will adorn our sanctuary in celebration of our first Sunday of worship following our closure! If you would like to order a plant in memory of or in honor of a loved one, there are two ways to order. Plants are $12.50/each. Checks should be made payable to Centenary UM Church. Please put "Spring Plants" on the memo line or you may pay online using the directions in the article above and put "Spring Plants" in the Optional Memo line.

  1. Complete this online order form. Remember, you order is not complete until the church receives your payment.
  2. Print out and complete this order form. Send the order form & your check to:

Centenary United Methodist Church, 411 E. Grace Street, Richmond, 23219

We will have an insert on Celebration Sunday with our donors listed and plants can be picked up following the 11:00 service.
Birthdays This Week

July 11 - Joe Hudgins
July 13 - Ann Estis
July 13 - Dean Simpson
July 13 - Beth Vetrovec
July 15 - Susan Thomas
July 15 - Charles Petty
R.B. Bennington
Betty Brown and family - in the death of Betty's brother-in-law, Bill Glaze who passed away on June 26
Ka Cheng  - friend of Vicki and Phyllis Stump diagnosed with breast 
cancer.
Ronnie Clements
Jack Collins and his wife Denney - involved in our young adult group. Jack is in serious
condition, recovering from an accident last weekend.
Shannon Conway  - requests prayer for the Charles Sherman, Peter 
Oxborrow, Leon Beale and family
Charlie Craig Family - Charlie passed away this past week. He is father-in-law of
Brooke and Vicki Willson and good friend of Brooke and Vicki. 
Les Dobbs
Serena Durst Edwards
Vic Grand and family - upon the death of Vic's aunt, Lorraine Grand
Jeff Hatch
Megan Mattax -   a friend of Miranda Clayton, pregnant and diagnosed  
with breast cancer.
Cate Nealley , daughter of our Administrative Assistant Laura Nealley, who had knee
surgery this week.
Patti Oman  - health concerns - friend of Beth Hensley
Irene Pier --sister of Alfonso Baker, Stan Baker's husband--at home in Asheville, NC in
serious condition with cancer.
Earl Siddons
Phyllis Stump - at Lakewood Manor
Wendy Tisdale  - family friend of Agatha and Christina Kidd, diagnosed 
with stage 4 lung cancer.
Ben Toro and family - Ben's uncle, Valentin Hernandez, passed away this past week in
Mesa, Arizona.
Bernice Walter - medical issues
Ally Weaver - youth pastor at Southside Church. On July 10, she will have brain
surgery on a cancerous tumor.