Centenary's Weekly Newsletter April 21, 2017
A Message from Centenary
Dear Centenary Family,
Pastor Matt Bates
Wasn't Holy Week and Easter wonderful here at Centenary? I have come to value these holy seasons here with this congregation's history of careful attention to our worship of God so that we can consider deeply the meaning of Christ's death and resurrection.
In some ways, it is easy to see Easter as a goal toward which we've been aiming throughout Lent. It is indeed the high point of the Christian year. And in many traditions, there is a tendency to spiritually relax after all the energy we've put into preparing for Easter. In some places the Sunday after Easter is called "Low Sunday." Believe me,  I understand the need to catch our breath.
But I've been thinking as I've studied the Gospel reading for this Sunday from John 20:19-31, that Easter is anything but the end of a process - it's a whole new beginning - for us and for the world. This text speaks of the experience of Thomas who misses out on Jesus' appearance to the disciples, has a hard time believing that he's really alive, and says he will not believe unless he can physically touch the wounds of the crucified Savior's body. That's a rich text that can be studied and proclaimed more than once and helps us think about the dynamics of doubt and faith in our own lives. 
However, I've been drawn to the first part of the text this week. Jesus' disciples are gathered in fear behind locked doors. Jesus appears and says, "Peace be with you." That reminds us that in the darkest moments of our lives, whenever we are most frightened and anxious, the risen Christ has a way of reaching us even there. But then, John conflates Pentecost and Easter and has Jesus breathing on the disciples the very breath of God, telling them, "Receive the Holy Spirit." He goes on to say, "If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained." 
That passage has been used by Christians at various points in the church's history to stake out claims about who has authority to absolve people of the guilt of their sins or withhold that absolution. That's not what this text is fundamentally about, however. It, instead, is the heart of the good news of Easter. And that's what I'd like to think with you about this Sunday in the sermon I'm working on entitled, "Easter's Work."
It is a joy and privilege to serve the risen Christ with you!
This Weekend at Centenary

Sunday, April 23
8:40 am - Informal Worship Service
10:00 am - Sunday School for all ages 
11:00 am - Traditional Worship Service 
Senior Pastor Matt Bates will preach "Easter's Work" based on the scripture reading John 20:19-31.

Sunday, April 23 at 2:00 pm:  Theatre Outing to The Heir Apparent
A group from Centenary will be attending this Quill Theatre production at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts' Leslie Cheek Theater (located at 200 North Boulevard in Richmond). If you have already made a reservation, please see Ann Davis for your tickets.
A Challenge from Bishop Lewis to Read the Bible with Her in 2017
This week's readings:
April 21:   2 Kings 1-3
April 22:   2 Kings 4-5
April 23:   2 Kings 6-8
April 24:   2 Kings 9-11
April 25:   2 Kings 12-14
April 26:   2 Kings 15-17
April 27:   2 Kings 18-19
April 28:   2 Kings 20-22

You can now register if you are joining Bishop Lewis in her challenge to the Virginia Conference to read the Bible in entirety in 2017. The short poll allows you to add your name as well as district (Richmond) and your home church (Centenary). Register here. 
Upcoming Events

Check out this new video here featuring interviews with three delegates to the 2016 Western Jurisdictional Conference of the United Methodist Church, telling why they voted for Bishop Karen Oliveto, the first openly gay bishop in the United Methodist Church.

Thursday, April 27 at 11:00 am:  Golf Tournament
Join us at the Hollows Golf Course for the 40th Annual Golf Classic. Registration will begin at 11:00 a.m. with a putting contest at 11:30 a.m., lunch at 11:45 a.m., and a Golf Tee-Off at 1:00 p.m. The cost is $75.00/ person, $15.00 for lunch only (firm reservations needed for catered lunch). The proceeds benefit Stop Hunger Now/Operation Sharehouse. Hole sponsorships are also available at $50.00 per sponsor and $10.00 or more for patrons. Gift certificates can also be donated to be given as prizes. Be sure to mark this date on your calendar and don't forget to practice your swing! 
Saturday, April 29 from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm:  Remember and Recommit Workshop
The last workshop in our series "Remember and Recommit: Christian Faith and the Modern Civil Rights Movement," will be held at Centenary and led by Rev. Jim Melson.  All are encouraged to attend, even if you haven't been to one of the previous workshops in this series. The focus of this workshop will be the year 1967. Through a combination of worship, presentations, video clips and small group sharing, we will remember the witness and sacrifice of so many 50 years ago during the Civil Rights Movement and recommit to discerning and following God's ongoing call for racial justice and reconciliation in our time. 
Sunday, April 30 at 12 noon:  5th Sunday Reception
Join us after the 11:00 am worship service this Sunday for a reception. Donations of simple finger foods would be appreciated. There is a sign-up sheet on the bulletin board across from the kitchen.

Tuesday, May 9 at 6:00 pm:  Quiche Dinner and Fellowship
This annual event will be held at the home of Mary E. Vetrovec. Bring a quiche, a salad, or a dessert to share.

Sunday, May 21 at 2:30 pm:  Theatre Outing to A Bad Year for Tomatoes
A group from Centenary will be attending a Huguenot Community Players' production of A Bad Year for Tomatoes by  John Patrick.  Fed up with the pressures and demands of her acting career, the famous Myra Marlowe leases a house in the tiny New England hamlet of Beaver Dam, and settles down to write her autobiography. She is successful in turning aside the offers pressed on to her by her long-time agent, but dealing with her nosy, omnipresent neighbors is a different matter.  Huguenot Community Players is located at Huguenot United Methodist Church (10661 Duryea Drive in Richmond). Tickets are $12 each. Sign up on the bulletin board across from the kitchen. 

Attention All Class of 2017 Graduates
If you or someone in your family is planning on graduating from high school or college this spring or summer, please call the church office at (804) 648-8319, or send us an email at cent.umc@verizon.net, by Sunday, May 21, with the following information so that we can announce it in the bulletin.
The individual's:
1. Name (first, middle, and last)
2. Affiliation (child of, grandchild of, etc.)
3. School attended
4. Future plans
Thanks so much and congratulations, graduates! 
Please Remember in Prayer

Ryland Bailey, Sr. and family (in the loss of his brother)
Joe Ciucci Jr.
Bobby Davis
Rebecca Enos
John Ford (in the loss of his father, John C. Ford, Sr.) 
Mary Hazelgrove
Jack Hill (currently at Lucy Corr Rehab)
Grace Hinchman 
Jack & Lois Hinerman
Judy Holland          
Lila Irby
Ginny Jarvis
Inez Johnson (friend of Vic and Nancy Grand)
Joe Kokoszki 
Julie and Stephen Lee and family (in the loss of Julie's mother, Judy Brannon) 
Troy Nelson
John Seyfarth
Neil Shingleton and family (in the loss of his brother, Will Shingleton)
Phyllis Stump
Wendy Tisdale (friend of Agatha and Christina Kidd)
Jim Wickham
P.C. and Carol Yerby (parents of Mary Mismas)
Celebrating Birthdays in April

Vic Grand
Kevin Cooke
Patsy Wilson
Steven Cooke
Marjorie Landers
Luke Wolfe
Claire Hundley
Doug Wilson
Joe Speidel
Stephen Lee
Vicki Stump
Jessica DeVader
Jim Boice
Rebecca Wyatt
Nancy Cook
Michael Shelton
Kate Stottlemyer
Julie Landsdown
Lori Gregory
Benjamin Armstrong
Jack Hinerman
George Thrower
Chris Jun ker

Photo of the Week
Mandy Porter took this wonderful photo Wednesday afternoon.
Centenary United Methodist Church | (804) 648-8319 | www.centumc.org 
Visit Us: 411 E. Grace St., Richmond, VA 23219