This Week at Centenary
Dear Centenary Family,
 
This Sunday in the Christian Year is the first Sunday in Ordinary Time, a long stretch that runs through the summer and fall. As I’ve worked on planning preaching for this stretch, I’ve been drawn to the Old Testament readings from the lectionary that include large sections of the books of Genesis and Exodus. The reason I’m drawn to these texts at this time is because there is a great deal of uncertainty and anxiety in our world. Many of us may be wondering where God is during this time and how we might discern God’s presence. The Genesis stories are attempts by the people of Israel to remind themselves how they came to be who they were, and how God worked in the lives of some very imperfect persons, and through some very difficult circumstances, to work out God’s purpose of salvation. The Exodus stories are the stories of God’s act of deliverance from bondage, and the account of how the people of Israel became a people set apart by God for a particular purpose a given a particular way of life that made them different from other nations. Similarly, we need to recall how God has delivered us, and how God might use us in this time to be a light to the world. 
 
The reading I’m focusing on this Sunday is from Genesis 18:1-15, 21:1-7. It’s the story of the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham and Sarah that they will be parents of a child whose birth will lead to the founding of a great nation. I know it’s hard to find many reasons for laughter and joy these days, but this text is filled with laughter. Join us for worship Sunday. The title of the sermon I’m working on is From Longing to Laughter.
 
I want to thank you for your generosity during this time. Your gifts prove the depth of your commitment to the unique mission of Centenary in downtown Richmond and beyond.
 
As you know, there are many things going on in our world that we seek to address with the good news of God’s expansive love.
 
  1. We are struggling to recognize in new ways the reality of the sin of systemic racism and asking ourselves how to respond. You’ll note below an invitation from our District Superintendent, Pete Moon, to join with other United Methodists this Sunday afternoon to let our voices be heard.
  2. Several of our young adults and leaders, led by Drew Willson, are near the close of a powerful visioning process for future mission. New, bold dreams are emerging of how we can join God in extending God’s reign and rule in our city and beyond. Be ready, soon, to be inspired, and challenged by the vision that will come to us from this group!
  3. We continue to work hard on our response as a congregation to the Covid-19 pandemic. Our Healthy Church Team is working on plans to prepare us for return to in-person worship when we enter Stage 3 as determined by the Governor. Plans are being made to spruce up our building.
  4. A team has received proposals for the steps we need to take to offer broadcast quality livestreaming and to improve our sanctuary sound system. Our council will consider these ideas and we will let you know where we’re headed, hopefully within a week.
  5. Finally, our Reconciling Task Force continues its work. This group has considered various approaches to our marriage policy in light of the delay of General Conference until August 2021. It so happens that this is Pride Month. Though many of the activities around this theme take place in the early fall in Richmond, it is still important that we remember our LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters and continue to broaden and deepn our ministry to all God’s children. Here’s a link to a powerful article by my colleague, Dr. Ed Walker, pastor at Mount Olivet UMC in Arlington. He describes their church’s celebration of their one year anniversary of becoming a Reconciling Congregation. 
 
If you don’t read that article, please take time to view this video—a testimony from a young woman who describes what finding an accepting church has meant to her. Her story reminds us that we seek to be a church where God’s love is available to all in life-changing ways. 

I’m so grateful to be on this journey with you!
 
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)

This Sunday Rev. Matt Bates will be preaching. His sermon is titled From Longing to Laughter.
 
Invite others to join us this Sunday and on the Sundays to come!

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.
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Congratulations!
  • to Madison Lee, daughter of Stephen and Julie Lee, and granddaughter of Nancy Lee. Madison graduated from Mills E. Godwin High School on June 9. She will be attending James Madison University in the fall.

  • to Katie Shingleton, who graduated with honors from James River High School on June 10 & has received a scholarship to VCU.

Help us celebrate your special graduate! Email the graduate's name, graduation date and school. We will be sure to include it in an upcoming newsletter!

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Mt. Olympus Farm has invited us back!
Saturday, June 13 beginning at 11am
for fishing, kayaking, swimming and a fun day outside.   

 
Please bring:
  • Your family lunch and beverages (If you want to bring something to share, please bring pre-packaged items.)
  • Swimsuit, towels and extra clothes (those came in handy last fall!)
  • Fishing poles and bait
 
The farm store will also be open. Our picnic last fall at Mt. Olympus was a great day. We would love to see our CUMC family again!
 
Let me know if you have any questions. You can also contact Mary E. Vetrovec at 804-615-8175 for more information.
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
Thursday, June 18 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!
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

June 12 - David Pippin
June 13 - Neil Shingleton
June 14 - Rebecca Enos
June 17 - Marshall Ballance
Amy Bates- recovering from a stress fracture
R.B. Bennington
Betty Brown  - Bill Glaze, Betty's brother-in-law has been diagnosed with 
pancreatic cancer
Ka Cheng  - friend of Vicki and Phyllis Stump diagnosed with breast 
cancer.
Ronnie Clements
Shannon Conway  - requests prayer for the Charles Sherman, Peter 
Oxborrow, Leon Beale and family
Riley Davin  - Niece of Vic and Nancy
Les Dobbs
Serena Durst Edwards
Jane Grand -Mother of Vic Grand suffering from an aneurysm and other health problems in Illinois
Lorraine Grand- Vic Grand's aunt recovering from surgery for hip fracture in Chicago
Jeff Hatch
Heidi Kara and family --in the recent death of Heidi's uncle, John Kara, who passed away on May 27
Justin Laman  - nephew of Lucy Hottle, a young father who after cancer treatment has been declared cancder free!
David Leake - brother of Lorna Leake, health concerns
Vincente Lopez  - nephew of Heidi Kara, U.S. Army Infantry, deploying
to Egypt
Megan Mattax -   a friend of Miranda Clayton, pregnant and diagnosed  
with breast cancer
Family and friends of Earl Moss - upon his death on June 6
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
Neil Shingleton and family - Neil's dad, Roddy, passed away on April 28 in NC.
Phyllis Stump - at Lakewood Manor
Wendy Tisdale  - family friend of Agatha and Christina Kidd, diagnosed 
with stage 4 lung cancer
Bernice Walter - medical issues
Family of Karen Willis - Please keep the Bob Willis and their children in your prayers upon the death of Karen on May 19.