Centenary's Weekly Newsletter Friday, March 2, 2018
A Message from Centenary
Dear Centenary Family,
I'm excited about our Wednesday evening gatherings during Lent where we are taking a closer look at what goes on when we worship together. This past Wednesday, Nancy Hundley spoke eloquently about the role that ritual plays in our lives. Certainly, we fight the temptation to let the things we do in worship become empty, thoughtless words or actions. But, the repetitive nature of many of the elements of worship continually reinforces within us the deep truths of the Gospel-God loves us and all the world, and calls us to love others as well.
In our study time, we unpacked the meaning of this word "liturgy." Certainly, hearing that word calls to mind an ordered way of doing things together, but from its Greek roots, this word refers to almost any public work done by a group of people. In the realm of worship, some describe liturgy as the work of the people.
Someone rightly pointed out that our Walk-In Ministry is "liturgical" inasmuch as it is a public work. And if we reflect on the joyous task of offering food and nourishment to others, we soon find ourselves wondering if what is done on Fridays around the tables in our Social Hall doesn't flow directly from what happens on Sundays when we gather around the table together and are fed and nourished by Jesus himself.
There's really no such thing as a non-liturgical church. Some churches value freedom over order, spontaneity over structure. But in even in the most enthusiastic charismatic services I've attended, one observes over time that even these forms of worship have a structure and order that becomes rather predictable.
So, there is only good liturgy or bad liturgy. Liturgy forms cardinal virtues in us over time-faith, hope, and love. We become like the God or gods we worship. There is a mutual exchange in worship. We offer ourselves to God and God offers God's self to us. Liturgy can de-form us as much as it can faithfully form us. In Nazi Germany, one of the first things political leaders did as this party was ascending to power was to alter the liturgy of the State church so that prayers were offered for Hitler and the Lord's Supper was re-interpreted as a celebration of the bonds of blood and soil that united the Germans as a people. That is why we always have to step back and examine our liturgical practices and ask if they are sufficiently faithful. For instance, does the language of our prayers and hymns teach us that God's identity and nature transcends our human categories of gender? Do we always speak of God in masculine terms, or do we broaden our language and imagery so that we realize God transcends our human imagery? In short, worship that does not help us grow in our love for God and neighbor, and remind us that even what we do in the sanctuary has the people on our streets in view, is probably sub-standard in some way or another.
I've thought a lot about the connection here at Centenary between our long-standing practice of worship that is grounded solidly in the Christian tradition as well as continually immersed in the breadth of the Scriptural story we are constantly faced with as all the lectionary readings that are heard each Sunday and repeated in a three-year cycle. Our worship by most standards is "conservative" if not "orthodox." And yet, Centenary is a church focused on mission and outreach and has become the first Reconciling congregation in Virginia, publicly proclaiming our welcome to all of God's people. My hunch is that we've become the loving, caring, serving congregation we've become in large measure because of the way we've worshiped together over the course of many years. I'd love to hear your thoughts on those connections.
I look forward to continuing these conversations in our Wednesday evening gatherings and beyond. This week, Patsy Wilson will share with us about prayer and we'll talk some together about how Christians organize time and how that shapes our prayer life corporately and personally.
This Sunday's Gospel reading is interesting. We shift from Mark's Gospel to John's for a few weeks. John 2:13-22 is John's account of Jesus cleansing the temple. It's a jarring picture of Jesus driving everyone out of the temple with a whip made of cords. The title I'm working with is "Don't Let Jesus Come to the Church Clean-up Day!"
I'm also excited about Rev. Rita Callis's ministry with our older adults and our newly forming Senior Adult Team. Please read Rita's note below and join us as you are led.

Greetings from Rev. Rita, 

It has been my joy to come on board at Centenary UMC as Minister of Visitation.  In visiting with our members who are confined, in varying degrees to their home space, I have learned a great deal about your heritage as a church.  Many of those I visit are long-time members of the church.  Some met their life-time partners at the church.  Some helped establish ministries that continue to make a great impact on the lives of others. All in all, I have been blessed to get to know these folks. 

It occurred to me that this would be a blessing that I want others to come to experience. In meeting with our Ministry with Seniors Team, and in conversation with younger adults, a new focus for Missions may be emerging.  What would a ministry to unite senior members and younger members look like?  Perhaps we could call it "Adopt a Church Friend."  The mission would be: "Sharing God's love by getting to know each other as brothers and sisters in Christ." 

Here is a possible job description:  After accompanying me on your first visit to meet a senior member (who may or may not be confined to home in varying degrees) a younger member would continue in making contact with their new "Church Friend."  I would offer a "training class" in regards to ways to develop an ongoing and mutually blessed relationship.  We could decide together the best ways to keep in touch, including determining how often to visit, the helpfulness of sending notes between visits, and other ways to be in relationship with our new "Church Friend."  The amount of time that would be required to maintain a good relationship would be determined on an individual basis. As a part of the "training class," we would discuss appropriate limits and guidelines for "Church Friends."

As this new mission continues to unfold, please open your heart to explore this new opportunity to share God's love.  I look forward to hearing from you.  Please contact me at (804) 356-6860. I look forward to our ministry together.

Rev. Rita Callis     

This Weekend at Centenary

Sunday, March 4, Third Sunday in Lent
              8:40 a.m.                  Informal Worship
           10:00 a.m.                  Sunday School      
           11:00 a.m.                  Traditional Worship
This week, Dr. Bates will preach 
" Don't Invite Jesus to the Church Clean-up Day! "

Church meals live in legendary lore-Sunday dinners, church picnics, circle suppers, etc. The "Wednesday Night Supper" is a time honored Methodist tradition. These meals strengthen and forge friendships, entertain strangers, and celebrate God's goodness. Join Centenary's Wednesday Night Lenten Fellowship for food, learning and discussion.  We begin with a brief time of worship in the Chapel at 6:00 p.m. followed by dinner and conversation at 6:30 p.m. in the Social Hall. 
Here are the themes for each of these four gatherings, as well as the menu for each week:
March 7--Rhythms of the Spirit--Daily Prayer and The Christian Year (Grandma's Chicken Casserole)

March 14--By Water and the Spirit:  Living out our Baptism (A Winter Picnic)

March 21--The Rhythm of the Table:  Eucharistic Living (Pizza)
Our study will be based on a book by Daniel T. Benedict, Jr. entitled "Patterned by Grace: How Liturgy Shapes Us."
It's not mandatory for you to have the book, but if you'd like to purchase it and read it during this Lenten season, we certainly invite you to do that. 
We hope you'll join us for this journey-and share it with someone else who is searching for God's presence and a loving Christian family.
***Promising homemade goodness or a good phone app for pizza. A donation basket will on the table. 

Upcoming Special Services

Holy Thursday Service- Thursday, March 29, at 7:30 p.m.
Good Friday Service- Friday, March 30, at 7:30 p.m.
Easter Sunday Services- Sunday, April 1:
  •  Sunrise Service at Chimborazo Park at 7:00 a.m.
  •  Informal Worship Service at 8:40 a.m.
  •  Easter Egg Hunt for Children/Youth at 10:00 a.m.
  •  Traditional Worship Service at 11:00 a.m.

We are so grateful for the generosity through donations of both monetary gifts and service hours shown throughout the year by our Centenary family and friends.  Our Easter Offering this year will start a fund for the replacement of the tile flooring in the Fellowship Hall; with the strikingly impressive recent improvements of our church facilities, this much-used area will benefit greatly with a needed renewal.  You may use your Easter Offering envelope or write "Easter Offering" on the memo line of your check.  Thank you in advance for your continued support of the church and its mission.
A Challenge from Bishop Lewis to Read the Bible with Her in 2018
This week's readings:
March 4        Deuteronomy 14-16
March 5        Deuteronomy 17-20
March 6        Deuteronomy 21-23
March 7        Deuteronomy 24-27
March 8        Deuteronomy 28-29
March 9        Deuteronomy 30-31
March 10       Deuteronomy 32-34

A Church Need

W e have an anonymous need in our church family for a small area rug and blanket. If you would like to donate one or all of these items please contact the church at 804-648-8319 or cent.umc@verizon.net. 

Upcoming Events

UMCOR Sunday is this March 11, 2018:  I n the wake of disaster, UMCOR is present among the devastation to provide relief and hope. Join us on Sunday, March 11, 2018, to hear a Children's Chat from our own Phyllis Stump about UMCOR Sunday and what we can do to make a difference. To make a donation online or learn more about UMCOR, click on this link.

Centenary's Thursday, March 22, 2018, Plantations Tour: This trip is teamed up with Kenwood UMC in Ashland, to help boost the number of participants, and will take place on Thursday, March 22, 2018. We have filled the spots needed, but if you have any questions or would like to see if there is a cancellation, please contact Bob Almond at 804-833-3355. All attendees, please review the flyers, found on the bulletin board across from the kitchen, and send Bob Almond your reservations and check for the trip before Thursday, March 1, 2018.  Thanks!

Bishop's Convocation on Race and Reconciliation: Bishop Lewis has called a Convocation on Race and Reconciliation on Saturday, April 14, 2018, at Annandale UMC. The convocation will empower participants to become lifelong, learning disciples who will be able to conduct the difficult conversations we all need to have related to issues of racial division, justice, and God's call to ministries of  reconciliation and peace.  Visit this link to sign up for this event.

The Next Big Thing:   What's the next big thing in mission and outreach for us here at Centenary? What is God calling us to do? Where is God calling us to serve? What kinds of resources is God calling us to deploy to help us fulfill our mission of changing the world through love?
The Serving Team (formerly Outreach) invites you to help us begin to discern answers to those questions on Sunday, March 18, after our 11:00 a.m. worship service. Bring a covered dish and learn about missions "here, there and everywhere." (Beverages will be provided). We will hear of some mission opportunities from our Serving Team and then brainstorm together about new possibilities.

Save the Date:   We will be hosting Caritas the week of Saturday, April 21- Saturday, April 28, here at Centenary. Please put that week on your calendar. More information soon about how you can serve, share God's love, and make a difference!

Connecting with our Older Adults:   Rev. Rita Callis, our Coordinator of Older Adult Ministry, recently hosted a meeting with some of our older adults (and not so old adults) to think about ways we can connect more effectively with our older adults.  We have many ideas, but two we'd like to explore immediately. Here are ways you can serve.
  • We'd like to connect younger adults with older adults in relationships of friendship and care. If you are a younger adult and would like to be paired as a friend with an older adult, please consider this opportunity.
  • We'd like to involve more lay volunteers in a ministry of visitation with our adults. If you have an interest in learning more about this, please consider joining us.
  • If you'd like to know more, please speak to Rev. Rita Callis or contact the church office at 804-648-8319.
Day Light Savings Time Begins! Remember to spring your clocks forward an hour. Next Sunday, March 11, is the first day of Daylight Savings Time.

Praise Chorus:  The Praise Chorus will be practicing this  Sunday, March 4, 2018, at 8:00 a.m. and singing on Sunday, March 11, 2018, at the early service. The song they will be singing is "Just a Closer Walk with Thee," pg. 2158 in the Faith We Sing book.

Palm Sunday: Sunday, March 25: You won't want to miss this special day with a Pancake Breakfast starting at 9 a.m. and a special Palm Sunday Celebration at 10:15 a.m. at St. Paul's Episcopal Church ( 815 East Grace St, Richmond, VA 23219 ) with other Downtown Community Ministries churches.

Easter Egg Hunt:  All children and youth are invited to join us for an Easter Egg Hunt on
EASTER SUNDAY, APRIL 1, at 10 a.m.  in the upstairs Children's Sunday School rooms.  Caregivers of preschool children are encouraged to stay and help with their children on the hunt.

Please Remember in Prayer

Jennifer (friend of Nancy Grand with lung problems)
Lou Rosypal (Westport rehab following broken hip)
Ron Davis (friend of Vic & Nancy Grand)
Bill Steele (youngest brother of Richard Steele-in hospital from complications from gallstone surgery) 
Sonia Smith
John Lampe (recovering from surgery)
R.B. & Connie Bennington
Merle Brown (recovering from broken hip)
Mitzi Golod & Libby Rhame (in the recent loss of Libby's son & Mitzi's brother)

Celebrating Birthdays in March

Ann Davis
Polly Chamberlain
Stanley Childress
 Jane Chasse
Christopher Weaver
John Vetrovec
Carrie McNeil
Madison Lee
Amy Bates
Lucille Hunt
Jim Wickham
Virginia Davis
Conna Davis
Phil Crick
Julie Lee
George Little
Barbara Pierson
Judah Murphy
 Jean J. Wright
Sarah Wright
Audrey Kane
Charles Craig

 Photo of the Week!
We are excited to welcome Wendy Smith as a new member in our Centenary church family. Wendy is originally from New Jersey. She now lives in the Richmond area and works in accounting for Dominion. Welcome, Wendy!!

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