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.

Here are a couple of pictures showing people from VICPP gathered in our sanctuary

and at the capitol.

There’s much more to be said about these signs of the way God’s Spirit is moving among us. And more to be said about bold dreams and hopes for what the future might look like. For now, I’d invite you to join me in looking for those small ways you see God moving among us and through us for the advancement of Christ’s reign on earth. And when you see one of those signs, would you let us know? I’m trying to remember that small beginnings can often lead to greater things.


I’ll leave you with this. You may recall Pope Benedict XVI died in December. His birth name was Joseph Ratzinger and before becoming pope he was one of the great theologians of the Catholic church. Given all of his profound thoughts and many books, I love the simple, memorable way, he describes the way God uses small things for great good. He once said: 

“I have a mustard seed and I’m not afraid to use it.”


Let’s see where God leads us together in 2023!





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Sundays at 10:30am

In person and online.


The Advent Lessons and Carols Service is this

Sunday, January 22, at 10:30am. 

Please join us in person or online as we are led in worship

by our choir and musicians!

Church Online or Facebook.

Questions? Please contact the church office.

The Chosen - Season 3

Sundays at 11:30am

Episode 2: “Two by Two”

Jesus prepares the disciples to share his core teachings from the Sermon on the Mount as he sends them out in ministry teams. Some old wounds are healed,

and some new ones begin to grow.

Wednesday Bible Study

Wednesdays at 10:00am

We gather together on Zoom to look

at the scripture for the upcoming week. An email is sent out with more details

on Tuesdays. If you would like to be added to the Bible study email list, please contact the church office.


2023 Altar Flowers

It's that time of year again, the weekly altar flower calendar is being set up. Time to choose that special date to honor or remember friends and family or recognize a special event. You may sign up in any

of the following ways:


  1. Select a date from the list placed in the office hallway
  2. Request a date using our online form. You will be contacted to confirm the date.
  3. Call the church office and chose your date the "old fashioned way" in person.


You may select any date that is open. First come is first served. Costs. $44.00 for the first Sunday Communion Sunday (2 arrangements). $22.00 for all other Sundays (1 arrangement). You can pay online here. Please choose Flowers-Altar from the pull down menu.

UMW - Smethie Circle


Patsy Marrs Wilson has arranged for

the circle to tour the 

Children’s Health and Wellness Building on the UMFS Campus

at 3900 West Broad Street.

We will meet there at

10:30 on February 1st.

2023 Offering Envelopes Now Available

You can pick up your 2023 envelopes on Sunday or any morning during the week.

Please be aware that some envelope numbers have changed.

If you no longer use offering envelopes, please do not put an envelope

number on your check.


January 22 @ 10:30 am - In-person & Livestream

January 22 @ 11:30 am - The Chosen - Social Hall

January 23 @ 5:00 pm - Change the World/RVA

January 25 @ 11:00 am - Wednesday Bible Study

January 25 @ 7:15 pm - Chancel Choir Rehearsal

January 27 @ 10:30 am - Walk-In Lunch

January 29 @ 10:30 am - In-person & Livestream

January 29 @ 11:30 am - The Chosen - Social Hall

February 1 @ 10:30am - Smethie Circle at UMFS for tour

Please use this QR code for

easy online giving!


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Rev. Matt Bates -

Rev. Tim Gerde -

Stanley Baker -

Office/Laura Nealley -


Our mission is to change the world through love.

To acknowledge God’s love is, for each of us, a life-changing event.

As followers of Jesus, we share God’s love for all people, and work together to make our world a better place, one life at a time.