This Week at Centenary
Dear Centenary Family,

We’ve all been following the news about the Coronavirus. These are anxious times. Not only has the stock market fallen, but the NBA has canceled the rest of their season and the NCAA tournament has been canceled! Many colleges, universities, and public school systems have canceled classes and gone to online formats.


As we’ve followed the developments and recommendations from the CDC, the Virginia Department of Health, the Governor, and the Mayor of Richmond, we have decided to cancel worship the next two Sundays (March 15 and 22). We are also canceling all other meetings and activities and plan to be closed on weekdays the next two weeks. We plan to resume worship and other activities on Sunday, March 29, but of course that is contingent upon whether that is advisable at that time.    

Beyond our own decision making process here at Centenary, Bishop Sharma Lewis has just issued a statement directing all United Methodist Churches to suspend worship and large gatherings for March 15 and 22.  Read Bishop Lewis’s letter here.

Here are some of the factors that make these steps easier for many of us to understand and accept: 

1)     We want to do our part in helping to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.
2)     Many people in our congregation have underlying health issues that are probably not self-evident to us. We do not want to put them at risk. You may not be aware of church members who are cancer survivors, asthmatics, diabetics, or who have other conditions that put them at greater risk.
3)     We want to make sure we do what is best for the older members of our congregation and our families.

Other Ways to Connect
There are simple and inexpensive tools we can use for meetings to conduct business, spiritual growth, and worship. Look for an invitation in the next few days to join us on Zoom, an online service for meetings and conversations. Even though we are closing the building the next two weeks, we will be checking phone messages regularly and monitoring emails and text messages. 

Walk-in Ministry
We are working on plans for our Walk-In Ministry on Fridays. We have made modifications in the way we serve our guests today. We have served bag lunches before and may need to go to that method of serving our friends in coming weeks. We’ll keep you posted as these discussions progress.

Pastoral Care
Rev. Tim Gerde and I want to be available to you as needed. Tim’s cell phone number is 202-870-1241 and Tim’s email is tgerde@gmail.com . Feel free to call, text, or email Tim if you have a need or know of someone who has a need. Feel free to call, text, or email me (Matt) at 804-971-7563 or mattbatesjr@gmail.com .

You are probably aware that many facilities for older adults are prohibiting visitors, and some hospitals are restricting visits. Nonetheless, we want to hear from you and will do our best to respond in the ways we can in the current situation. If you know of someone in our congregation who is ill or in need of assistance, please let us know that also. 

Continued Giving
For many of us, our giving to Centenary is tied to our worship attendance. But we can still continue to support the church’s ongoing work in this time. You can certainly do that by mail. But you can also contribute by check, debit, or credit card on our website. At the very top of our homepage ( www.centumc.org ) you will see in red a tab that says Give. Simply click on that and you should be able to follow the process form there. If you’d like to give online and have any questions, do not hesitate to call us at the church office: 804-648-8319. Thank you in advance!

Hope
In some of my reading during this Lenten season, I’ve been reminded that one trait that defines Christians is hope. When the people of Israel were in bondage in Egypt, they never gave up hope that they would be delivered. When they were in exile in Babylon, they were sustained by the hope that one day they would get to go back home. And when things looked most bleak under Roman occupation, they hoped for a Messiah to deliver them. During this season, we are on the journey that goes with Jesus to the cross, making ourselves ready to offer ourselves completely to God’s call and purpose. We do not fear death, even as death is discussed with great frequency. We have hope that even beyond death we will find life. We have hope that in the midst of the challenges of these days, God will not ever forsake or abandon us! (Romans 8:28, 38-39). We live through Lent with Easter in view. 

This is a time for us to continue to be intentional in prayer, studying the Scriptures, and serving as we can even in these circumstances. God is with us in this time. Let’s pray for the leaders of our nation and world, for health care workers who are on the front line of the battle with this disease, for those who are infected, for those who become gravely ill, for those who are anxious and afraid, and for one another. Let’s encourage and support one another and consider what we will learn about God and ourselves in this time. 

Peace,


Matt
POSTPONED
Birthday Brunch Celebration
Phil Crick's 90 th Birthday
Since we can't celebrate with Phil in person, let's help Phil celebrate the milestone by sending him our best wishes, congratulations, birthday wishes and love with cards and notes. His address is:
Phil Crick
Morningside of Bellgrade
2800 Polo Parkway Room 251
Midlothian, VA 23113

Rev. Kathy Talley attended Reconciling Ministries Network's Connection 2020. Here is a report on what she learned while there.
Prayer Partners
Again this year, Centenary invites you to participate in SECRET PRAYER PARTNERS during Lent. 
If you would like to be prayed for during Lent, please write your request and/or name on a blank index card, available in at the back of the center aisle, and place it in the flat basket at the back. Whoever chooses it will become your prayer partner during Lent. 
To participate by praying for someone who makes a request , please choose a completed card from the flat basket at the back of the center aisle and take it with you to remember to pray. (On Easter, perhaps you would like to reveal your identity to your prayer partner if you know the name.)
A card is not needed in order to pray for someone but it may serve as a reminder!
cross.jpg
Stations of the Cross Walk
Richmond Downtown Churches and Friends
Good Friday, April 10, 2020
 
On Good Friday, April 10, 2020, some of Richmond’s downtown churches and friends from the larger Richmond metro area will conduct a Stations of the Cross Walk.  The Stations of the Cross is a traditional form of devotion to help Christians remember the main events of Jesus’ last day on earth as a man. We will walk nine stations of the cross through Jackson Ward and downtown Richmond.  This walk is an intentional attempt to bring people together across racial lines to witness to their common faith and share fellowship and friendship with one another. 
 
The walk begins in the sanctuary of Third Street Bethel A.M.E. Church at 614 N. Third Street at 9:30 a.m.  Participants are invited to park across from the church on Jackson Street.  The walk will proceed, making stops at churches and locations throughout downtown for prayer and to observe the stations of the cross.  The walk will conclude at Third Street Bethel.  All are invited to do the entire walk or any portion of it they may desire.  For more information, you may contact Third Street Bethel AME Church at 643-8157.
Birthday
This Week
March 17
Phil Crick
Coffee Theology on Third Fridays
March 20 - 6 - 7:15pm
Urban Farmhouse in Scott's Addition. 
All ages are welcome to join us for coffee and faith conversation. 

First Sunday Fundays
April 5 - 1:00 pm
Slingshot Social Game Club in Scott's Addition
All ages are invited to attend for some games and fun!
Please pray for Rev. Mary Beth Blinn and her family . Mary Beth's father,
Rev. Charles G. Turkington of Wilmore, KY died March 6, 2020. Mary Beth and her mother, Mary Kathryn, and other siblings and family members
were with him. A service is planned for March 21 in Wilmore. Condolences may be sent to Mary Beth and Bob Blinn, 525 N. 1st St.,
Richmond, VA 23219.
Friends and Family of W.B. Braxton Bantu (one of our regular
Walk-In guests) who recently passed away
R.B. Bennington
Joanne Crick Berft  - daughter of Phil & AJ Crick, asking for prayer for  
recent health issues
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 - at home
Shannon Conway  - requests prayer for the Charles Sherman, Peter 
Oxborrow, Leon Beale and family
Riley Davin  - Niece of Vic and Nancy
Serena Durst
Les Dobbs
Jeff Hatch
Leah Hundley and family
Lucille Hunt  - at Morningside at Bellegrade
Justin Laman  - nephew of Lucy Hottle, a young father who has cancer
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
Patti Oman  - health concerns - friend of Beth Hensley
Phyllis Stump - at Lakewood Manor
Wendy Tisdale  - family friend of Agatha and Christina Kidd, diagnosed 
with stage 4 lung cancer
Bernice Walter - medical issues