Dear Centenary Family,
It feels to me like things are changing! I feel a new energy in our gatherings and greater interest in finding ways to be in fellowship with each other and in service to our community.
I’ve begun a three-year process of continuing education entitled Creating a Culture of Renewal. We have a team of lay leaders who are working with me in this process. The first year is focused on improving our emotional intelligence by learning to listen to others more carefully and understanding the ways different types of personalities contribute to the overall health of the church.
One of the practices I am supposed to engage in each month is reflecting on the “miracles” we see in our congregation’s ministry. I confess—I’ve had to work at this a bit. Particularly during Covid, many of us have had to get used to living with lots of limitations. We’ve had to learn to adapt to “all the things we can’t do.” There are places we couldn’t go, gatherings we could hold, physical expressions of genuine love and affection we had to avoid. So, learning to see again the possibilities before us as well as the positive things God is doing in our midst is a skill I’m having to re-learn.
As I’ve worked on that (and I’ve got a good ways to go!) I’ve seen and felt several things that have made me believe God’s Spirit is indeed at work among us. Here are some of those things:
- We resumed our early Christmas Eve Service this year for children and families not knowing if anyone would come. Nearly 30 people attended!
- We’ve had a significant number of new people visit our church—and some more than once!
- Several people have responded to their sense of God’s call to serve in some new way.
- Our building is used most days to bring healing and hope to the city.
- VABODE meets on our third floor almost every day to work with people recovering from some form of substance abuse.
- Alcoholics Anonymous is here twice a week.
- We continue to feed people weekly.
This week, it was our privilege on Wednesday to host the Day for All People led by the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy. Several hundred people from all over Virginia representing different faith traditions gathered for inspiration, training, action, and networking. After the morning session, people went to speak to legislators about areas of concern. Here’s a link to the areas VICPP is focusing on this year.