Centenary's Weekly Newsletter Friday, February 22, 2019
A Message from Centenary

Dear Centenary Family,
As you are probably aware, our denomination is holding a called General Conference that begins tomorrow and runs through February 26 in St. Louis. Delegates from all over the world will gather to consider how to move forward as a denomination in light of our long-standing disagreements over human sexuality. The specific issues that have dogged us for at least 40 years are whether clergy can perform marriages for same-sex couples, whether congregations can allow those marriages to take place in their churches, and whether annual conferences can choose to ordain lesbian and gay persons as ministers.
At the General Conference of 2016, a Commission on the Way Forward was formed to offer proposals to be considered by this called General Conference. As a result of their work, three proposals have come to the fore.
1)      A traditional plan proposes to maintain our current stance. This would not allow same-sex marriages to be performed by clergy or hosted in our congregations and would continue the prohibition of the ordination of lesbian and gay persons. Since the work of the Commission on the Way Forward, some groups have advocated a traditional plan with more stringent enforcement, demanding that bishops be held accountable if they do not pursue charges against clergy who violate the law of the church.
2)      A connectional conference plan proposes that churches be allowed to affiliate with other churches who share similar theologies around LGBT matters. This plan proposes that churches identify themselves as progressive, moderate, or traditional and affiliate themselves along those lines.
3)      The one-church plan proposes that clergy be allowed to decide how they will approach marriage, congregations be allowed to determine their policies about marriage, and Annual Conferences be allowed to determine their policies about ordination. This plan has been endorsed by the Council of Bishops.
There are many nuances to these plans. After the study and discussion of the last two years, there is no indication of which plan will be passed. It is possible that nothing will change. The one-church plan appears to have the greatest level of support, but no one knows whether there are enough votes among delegates to pass this plan. And of course, as with any complex legislative process, some other possibility could emerge that is not yet anticipated.
From my reading and conversations one thing is clear-no one knows what the outcome of this gathering in St. Louis will be. However, there does seem to be a widespread feeling that the chances are high that there will be some kind of split or division within our denomination as a result of the action or inaction of this called General Conference.
In our discussions here at Centenary, several things have become clear.
1)      We are concerned about the future direction of the United Methodist Church but not overly anxious.
2)      We will carefully observe what happens at this General Conference, and then invite our congregation to consider how we might respond, given our own unique situation at Centenary.
3)      We know who we are! As you know, Centenary was the first, of only a handful now, Reconciling Congregation in the Virginia Conference. We are clear that we desire to welcome all people and see ourselves as advocates of inclusion, acceptance, and justice.
This fall, with the assistance of some our retired clergy, we developed a statement in the form of a letter that was approved unanimously by our church council and charge conference. This statement summarizes the journey Centenary has been on for many years and how we see ourselves in relation to the issues facing our denomination at this point in our journey. We have sent this letter to all the lay and clergy members of the Virginia Conference delegation. I'm including this letter in the section below. I think it summarizes very well how we have come to see ourselves as a congregation.
There is a vast amount of information at varying levels of depth. Perhaps the best resource that will give you much information is to go to our Annual Conference's website: www.vaumc.org
You will see a link there where you can watch the General Conference as it is livestreamed. On the right-hand side of that page you will see a tab that says General Conference 2019 that will take you to a wealth of materials if you'd like to read more.
After the General Conference has met, we will find ways to come together to process the results. But I assure you, whatever happens this weekend, we will continue to do what God is calling us to do in downtown Richmond and beyond. We will worship God together, love and care for one another, reach out to new people with the good news of Jesus Christ, feed the hungry, work for justice, and continue to be a shining light of God's great love for all people.
I also want you to know that I believe, because of your faithfulness here in downtown Richmond through all the ups and downs our city has endured, we are now at a place where we have many wonderful opportunities to reach new people and to explore new and creative ways of being the church in the 21st century. I believe that because of the work you have done, along with many wonderful former pastors and lay leaders, we are positioned in a unique way to have a transformative impact on our city and the many, diverse people who are now returning to downtown Richmond!
It's not an easy time to be the church. But it may be that we are living in a time when we have an opportunity to be part of re-forming and re-shaping the church for the future.
I look forward to seeing you in worship Sunday and continuing the journey with you!

To:      Virginia Conference Delegation to the 2019 Called General Conference
Dear sisters and brothers:
Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.
As you prepare for the hard work that lies before you at February's Called General Conference, we want you to know that the staff and congregation at Centenary United Methodist Church in downtown Richmond is praying for your wisdom, compassion, discernment, and endurance. We are grateful for your servanthood to our Lord on our behalf.
Centenary was the first congregation in the Virginia Conference to declare itself a Reconciling Congregation. After extensive prayer, study, and conferencing during 2008 and 2009, the church's Administrative Council adopted the following resolution on May 11, 2009:
Centenary United Methodist Church prayerfully strives to live in its urban community with open hearts, open minds, and open doors.
Affirming that each person is of sacred worth, we seek to be a fully inclusive church, believing that God's love in Christ extends to all persons, without exception.
It is our purpose, therefore, to be a Reconciling Congregation, extending hospitality and encouraging full participation of all, regardless of age, race, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, educational or economic background and physical or mental ability.
We recognize that we hold a variety of opinions. We do not seek to erase our differences, but to journey together in faith toward greater understanding and mutual respect.
We believe that reconciliation to God and to one another is central to our mission and ministry.
Since May 2009, Centenary has been affiliated with the Reconciling Ministries Network, and we continue to grow in our faith together as a Reconciling Congregation.
Whatever the outcome of the General Conference in February, and any subsequent action at the Virginia Annual Conference, Centenary United Methodist Church is clear about its call and its identity. While we hope and pray that the General Church will fully embrace all God's children regardless of gender identity and sexual orientation, it is our intention to faithfully pursue that holy calling no matter the ecclesiastical structure surrounding us.
Thank you for your work and for your witness in the days before, during, and after the General Conference. You are in our fervent prayers, and we offer you our wholehearted support.
Yours in Christ,
The Charge Conference, November 11, 2018
Centenary United Methodist Church
411 E. Grace Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219

This Week at Centenary

Sunday, February 24, 2019- Seventh Sunday after the Epiphany

8:40 a.m.       Early Service
  10:00 a.m.        Sunday School

      11:00 a.m.       Traditional Worship

 Dr. Matthew D. Bates will preach a sermon entitled 
"The Questioning Crowd,"  based on Luke 6:27-38.
Items for Charterhouse School Weekend 
Backpack Feeding Program

The Charterhouse School Backpack Program provides weekends meals for our families who may benefit from extra supports. Each week the students in our Applied Curriculum Culinary Program assemble the bags and distribute them to the students in the Backpack Program, this gives these students an opportunity to work on sorting, counting, and following a list of instructions, while also allowing them to give back to their fellow students. There will be boxes in the fellowship hall for donations. 

Chili Night - in an individual reusable grocery bag
 * 4 cans of Chili (vegetarian or meat and pop-top lids if possible)
 * 2 boxes of cornbread mix
 * 2 cans of vegetables
 * Juice boxes

Pasta Night - in an individual reusable grocery bag
* 4 boxes of pasta
* 3 cans of sauce
* 1 can of parmesan cheese
* 2 cans of vegetables
* Juice boxes

Taco Night - in an individual reusable grocery bag
* 3 taco shell meals
* 4 cans on beans (black, pinto, or refried)
* 3 packets of instant rice
* 1 jar of salsa or queso (plastic jar)
* Juice boxes Snacks - in an individual reusable grocery bag
* Individual Granola Bards
* Crackers with cheese or peanut butter
* Chips, Pretzels, Popcorn
* Trail Mix
* Peanut Butter and Jelly (plastic jar)

UMFS is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. Contributions are tax-deductible as provided by law. The IRS requires us to state that you received no goods or services in exchange for this gift. Please retain this written acknowledgment as a receipt for your tax records. FIN: 54-0505969. 

Going, Going, Almost Gone!!  The Smethie Circle of our United Methodist Women has a very limited number of PECANS still available...3 16-oz. bags of Halves and 6 16-oz. bags of Pieces.  Please let me know ASAP if you would like any of these wonderful pecans - @ $12/bag...the last we will have until next Fall! Thanks!  Sharon Steele 912-2549.
An Altar Flower Liner is Missing!:
We have 2 green heavy plastic liners for our weekly altar flowers and currently one is missing! Please check around at home and perhaps you have one that you borrowed to take flowers home. If so, please let me know so we can get it back in rotation with Coleman's for our weekly altar flowers! Thanks. Sharon Steele, Altar Flowers Chair, 912-2549. 

This is an image of what the liner looks like:

The Praise Chorus:
The Praise Chorus will be practicing at 8 a.m. on Sunday, March 3, and practicing and singing on Sunday, March 10. The song they will be singing is "The Lord's My Shepherd, I'll Not Want," found in the UMH hymnal on page 136.

Theatre Outing
We will be attending a play by the Quill Theatre group on Thursday, March 7 , at 8:00 p.m. They will be preforming the play "Pride and Prejudice" at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts at the Leslie Creek Theatre. See the sign-up sheet on the bulletin board across from the kitchen if you would like to attend or contact Mary Mismas for more information at Mary.Mismas@alumni.vcu.edu.

Pub Theology this Sunday, February 24, at 4:30 p.m. at The Stone Brewing Tap Room on Williamsburg Avenue (4300 Williamsburg Ave, Richmond, VA 23231).

Come join your church family and friends on Sunday, March 17, following the 11:00 a.m. service for a Soup Cook-Off. Bring your favorite soup or stew to share and enter into the friendly competition. In addition to this event being a great time to fellowship with your church family and friends, it is one of our fund raisers to support Centenary as we continue to participate in Rise Against Hunger. All donations collected will go to cover our fees to participate in the Rise Against Hunger program.

Mardi Gras Celebration - Join us for a pancake luncheon and presentation by our Theatre on the Mount Group on  Sunday, March 3 , following the 11:00 a.m. worship service! 

Our Bless My Sole Ministry is in need of white, men's tube-socks. Feel free to drop any donations off in the church office.

Lunch and Learn
THIS Sunday, February 24, at 12 p.m.
Join us on Sunday, February 24, at 12 p.m. in the fellowship hall for a lunch and learn lecture. There is a $5.00 admission fee to attend. Learn about the big archaeological discoveries made in Jamestown over the past 25 years and the 400-year commemoration of the 1st House of Burgesses and the 1st documented enslaved Africans. Historian presenter will be Justin Bates, Manager of Public Programs at the Historic Jamestowne. Sign up on the bulletin board across from the kitchen.
"Born in North Carolina and raised in Richmond, Justin attended Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia, graduating in 2013 with a BA in history. Since then, he has spent the last several years working at various historic sites across the state. During college, he interned with Richmond National Battlefield Park where he was introduced to the idea of a career in historical interpretation. After college, he started at Historic Jamestowne in their visitor services department, and shortly after started at Monticello as a guest services associate. While commuting to both Williamsburg and Charlottesville, he went on to get a third job with Henrico County Recreation and Parks where he worked primarily in interpretation at several of their historic properties. Working simultaneously at sites that covered colonial, revolutionary, and Civil War history, Justin worked in a variety of capacities over the years, eventually becoming an education guide at Historic Jamestowne, and a guide and house supervisor at Monticello. He began a new position at Historic Jamestowne last March, where one of his primary duties has been the implementation of a brand new First Africans tour in preparation for the 400th commemoration taking place this year. He is currently Manager of Public Programs at Historic Jamestowne and is excited to share some of the fascinating discoveries made at Jamestown in the last 25 years." 

Ten-Day British Landscapes Trip 
Featuring England, Scotland, and Wales

You are invited to join a travel group from Centenary and friends on a special planned trip by Collette Travel Group. The ten-day trip is scheduled for September 19 - 28, 2019 . If you are interested, please sign up on the sign-up sheet on the bulletin board across from the kitchen and pick up a brochure.
We will have a meeting with Collette on  Monday, February 25, at 6 p.m. at Centenary to discuss the trip. If you are interested in traveling with Centenary family members and friends, please plan to attend the Monday, February 25th meeting.
Come prepared with your questions and thoughts.
If you have questions before the meeting, please contact Bob Almond via email at  bob.almond@verizon.net or at (804) 833-3355.

The Parade of Nations & Virginia International Tattoo in Norfolk-". . . thrill to the dazzling extravaganza of music, ceremony and patriotism!"
Day Trip - Thursday, April 25, 2019 - 
Please register for a day trip to the Parade of Nations & Virginia International Tattoo on  Thursday, April 25, 2019.  There are flyers on the bulletin board across from the kitchen.  The word "tattoo" evolved over time as it refers to what developed as a ceremonial performance of military music by massed bands and drill teams.  The Virginia International Tattoo incorporates groups from around the world including acrobats, choral groups, and precision military drill teams.  The performances of each country are beautiful, patriotic, and a favor performance featuring countries from all over the world.  You will love it!
The package trip will include motorcoach transportation, taxes and gratuities, bus tour of Norfolk Naval Base, dinner at the Golden Corral  (all-you-can-eat), admission to the two-hour Virginia International Tattoo Show at the Norfolk Scope, bottle water and treats on the bus and door prizes.   The cost of the day trip is $129.    Reservations and payment are due by February 15, 2019.  Please complete the reservation form, make check payable to Robert Almond and sent to 1309 Westbrook Avenue, Richmond, VA 23227.
11:30 a.m. Departure from Kenwood UMC, Ashland-Return to Kenwood by Midnight
12 noon Departure from Lakeside UMC, Henrico-Return to Lakeside by 11:30 p.m.
If you have questions, please contact Bob Almond at bob.almond@verizon.net or at (804) 833-3355.

Jenny Bush- friend of Leah Hundley, is diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma. 
Patsy Marrs Wilson- recovering from hip replacement surgery
Deirdre McElroy- good friend to Gwynn Henderson, who has been battle cancer for the past 4 years with amazing strength and fortitude
Phyllis Stump in the recent loss of her sister in Louisville, KY
Lila Irby (home after recent hospitalization)
R.B. Bennington 
Lucille Hunt (recovering at home)  
Wendy Tisdale-- family friend of Agatha and Christina Kidd, diagnosed with staged 4 lung cancer 
Mark Inge


              Rachel Bates
            Maria Dandridge
            Troy Nelson
            Jim Hill
            Earl Jones
            Christina Kidd
            Gregory Speidel
            Andy Jordan
            Agatha Kidd
            Nancy Grand
            Jim Armstrong
            Justin Bates

Photo of the Week!
Thanks so much to Melissa Martinez, who has been helping us to make many beautiful arrangements out of our large altar flower arrangement. And many thanks to Tim Gerge, our Coordinator of Older Adult Ministries, who visits our lay friends and family and distributes these lovely arrangements for us! The youth have also been making beautiful hand-made cards to give with the flowers. Many thanks for all you do! 

Centenary United Methodist Church | (804) 648-8319 | www.centumc.org 
Visit Us: 411 E. Grace St., Richmond, VA 23219