Dear Centenary Family,
I want to continue to share with you some of the issues our 2020 Committee is looking at as we seek to become more fruitful and effective in ministry here at Centenary. I'd mentioned a couple of weeks ago the acronym I've been using to think through some of the challenges and opportunities before us. That acronym is PEGS-Purpose, Endowment, Governance, and Staffing. Several weeks ago, I shared some thoughts in this column about the importance of a clear understanding of our purpose or vision as a congregation.
I want to spend the next couple of weeks reflecting a bit with you on the theme of Governance. How do we order our life together as a congregation so that we are faithful to our purpose?
I'll focus on four things here with you this week: challenges, opportunities, function, and form. Next week, I will complete some of these thoughts and turn to thinking with you about how we set our laity free for spiritual growth, ministry, and mission.
From our own 2020 committee's analysis, and the input of our consultant John Wimberly, we discovered that our current administrative/ministry structure has about 116 different slots to fill each year. That has become a greater challenge for our Lay Leadership Committee each year. John Wimberly noted in his report that this is a problem among many mainline congregations. Several factors contribute to this. Among these are the reality that people's schedules seem to be fuller than ever, leaving less time for volunteer service in general. Some observers also note that 30 years ago, the church relied heavily on women to help the church organize and carry out its mission, but now, in most families, both spouses work. In our situation at Centenary, our administrative structure was designed when Centenary was a much larger church. Though our membership is not what it was 30 or 40 years ago, we are still trying to do business as if we were a much larger church. We live in an age when people's time is almost as precious, if not more so, than money. We need structures that utilize people's time most effectively. Most importantly, people in our day will often give their time in ways that make a difference in the world for Christ, but are less eager to spend time in meetings. Asking too few people to do too much can lead to burnout.
These challenges also present us with opportunities. We have the opportunity to become more clearly focused on our purpose/vision so that we utilize our resources and energy most effectively. We have the opportunity to find ways to conduct the necessary business a church has to conduct with fewer people, in less time, so that more people can spend more time in ministry, fellowship, and service. We have the opportunity to help lay people discover their spiritual gifts and passions and explore ways of growing in their faith and serving God and others so that they find joy and fulfillment in being a Christian and part of the church of Jesus Christ.
Function of a Church's Governing Body
If you've been on our Administrative Council, you are familiar with the many things that such a group deals with.This governing body makes decisions about facilities, finances, and ministries. We often spend a good bit of time hearing reports about things that have already happened. I've been studying a book entitled
Governance and Ministry: Rethinking Board Leadership
It's not a title that sounds inspiring in any way, but it's actually a very readable guide to help congregations think through how the way they organize and govern themselves shapes the results they seek. To cut to the chase, the author, Dan Hotchkiss, argues that "The Board is a fiduciary." A fiduciary, he explains, is anyone who acts in faithfulness to the interest of the owner. So who is the "owner" of a congregation? For whom does a church board act as a fiduciary. In a broad sense, God, of course, is the owner of our mission. But since that is an awfully big thing to get our minds around, Hotchkiss suggests that the specific "owner" that the board must serve is this congregation's mission, or the small pieces of God's will that we believe God has given us to fulfill here at Centenary. Our bottom line, then, is the degree to which we are faithful in fulfilling our mission. In some of the new models of governance we have been studying, this is the focus of a governing board's work - not simply to hear reports from committees, but to make sure that all of our resources of people, money, and facilities, are being utilized to fulfill our mission, and to be constantly asking questions about whether we have rightly discerned that mission and whether we are being faithful to it to the very best of our ability.
A New Form of Governance - The Single Board Model
Many congregations, we have learned, have streamlined their governance structure by going to a single board model. Our Book of Discipline allows considerable latitude in the way churches organize themselves for mission. The single board models we have looked at have 12-15 members. Three of these members represent the concerns of the Trustees, three the concerns of our Staff-Parish Committee, three the concerns of Finance, and three the concerns of Leadership Development. Other members usually include the lay delegate to the Annual Conference and the lay leader. In this model, this governing board acts to ensure the church's mission is being fulfilled and that all of the administrative elements of the church's life are being conducted with integrity and excellence. There is of course more to be said about this model, and more discussions and work to be done among our leadership and with all of you as a congregation. But I want to get this idea before you so you can begin to become familiar with our thinking and then soon, join us in a conversation about transitioning to such a model here at Centenary. I'll write more next week about this model, and share some ideas with you about how this can free others up for ministry and mission.
I'm continuing to work with the texts from Genesis. This week, the Old Testament reading is Genesis 28:10-19a and is the story of Jacob's dream about a ladder from earth to heaven. Here we find Jacob caught between the fear that his brother Esau, whom he's cheated out of his birthright and blessing, will seek him out for revenge, and the fear and anxiety of traveling to a new home with his mother's brother Laban. If you've ever felt caught between past regret and fear of the future, this sermon might help you. I'm working with the title "A Rock, a Ladder, and a Dream."
I hope to see you Sunday as we join together to celebrate Mary Alice Nesbitt's birthday following our 11:00 am service.
It's more of a blessing than you know to seek God's future for Centenary with you!
This Weekend at Centenary
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 "A Rock, a Ladder, and a Dream" based on the scripture reading Genesis 28: 10-19a.
Sunday, July 23 at 12 noon: Reception to Celebrate the Birthday of Mary Alice Nesbitt
Please join us after the 11 am worship service at a reception to celebrate Mary Alice's birthday! There will be birthday cake and punch. Donations of finger foods are definitely welcome. And if you'd like to make a donation to the Walk-In Ministry in honor of Mary Alice, we will have "Gifts that Count" cards available at the reception for people to sign.
New Adult Sunday School Class
A new study for adults is being offered in the Fellowship Hall on Sunday mornings at 10:00 am. Led by a rotating leadership, Moses: In the Footsteps of the Reluctant Prophet is a study by Adam Hamilton that r
etraces the life of Moses from his modest birth and rescue as a baby to the courts of Pharaoh, from herding flocks in Midian to leading his people out of Egypt.
Join Hamilton as he travels from Egypt to Mt. Sinai, the Nile, the Red Sea and the wilderness exploring the sites of Moses' life. Using historical information, archaeological data, and biblical text, Hamilton guides us in the footsteps of this reluctant prophet who grew in his relationship with God and by the end of life had successfully fulfilled the role he was given.
Turn your own reluctance into boldness as you examine the significant challenges facing Moses and how God shaped his character and life in powerful ways.
A Challenge from Bishop Lewis to Read the Bible with Her in 2017
This week's readings:
Song of Solomon 1-8
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).
Our faithful Sunday morning worship service usher teams have suffered a number of member losses over this year. We are in desperate need of solid volunteers who would like to assist in making Centenary's worship experience more meaningful for the entire congregation. If you feel led to help us accomplish this goal, please contact the church office at 804-648-8319.
Friday, July 28 and Saturday, July 29: Mission Encounter 2017
This Virginia Conference event will be held at Bon Air United Methodist Church (1645 Buford Road in North Chesterfield).
Registration will begin at 8:00 am on Friday and the event will end at 5:00 pm on Saturday.
The classes this year are:
Living as a Covenant Community,
The Missionary Conferences of the UMC in the US (Red Bird, Oklahoma & Alaska).
Joined and Held Together: A Children's Study on Missionary Conferences. For more information visit the conference website.
Sunday, July 30 at 2:00 pm: Sanctuary Symposium
We have a great opportunity to learn more about the problems facing immigrants and how churches might respond. The Interfaith Center for Public Policy, along with several other groups, will be hosting a Sanctuary Symposium. The meeting place is yet to be determined. The purpose of this meeting is to provide opportunities for faith communities to work together and to receive the tools needed to be places of unconditional welcome, and to become aware of a range of ways congregations might respond. If this is something you'd be interested in attending or learning more about
please contact Matt Bates.
ou can read more about this event and register for it at www.virginiainterfaithcenter.org.
Sunday, August 6 at 6:00 pm: Summer Movie Night
Centenary's Fellowship Hall is again being turned into a movie theatre (yes, with popcorn!). The featured movie this time is enjoyable for all ages - A Dog's Purpose. A devoted dog discovers the meaning of its own existence through the lives of the humans it teaches to laugh and love. Reincarnated as multiple canines over the course of five decades, the lovable pooch develops an unbreakable bond with a kindred spirit named Ethan. As the boy grows older and comes to a crossroad, the dog once again comes back into his life to remind him of his true self. Rated PG.
Items for School Kits
With back-to-school sales already starting in the stores, this is the ideal time to pick up items for the school kits we will be assembling for the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) this year. The items we really need to complete kits are: pads of wide ruled paper (spiral or top bound pads 150 sheets or less, can also be packages of loose leaf paper 150 sheets or less), pencil sharpeners (handheld - must be at least 1 inch long), 24-count boxes of crayons (must be 24 count),
30 centimeter ruler (hard or flexible, no advertisements), u
nsharpened pencils (no advertisements, religious, patriotic, military or camouflage symbols, cartoon characters are acceptable), and
2 ½ inch erasers (no advertisements, religious, patriotic, military or camouflage symbols, cartoon characters are acceptable).
Read more about the school kits here.
Please Remember in Prayer
Thank You and Dish Return
Amy and I cannot tell you how much we appreciate your generosity and kindness in assisting our family with the wonderful meals these last few months. We are so grateful for all so many of you have done. We have some of the containers in which we've received the wonderful food you've prepared. Hopefully we've been able to return more permanent dishes and serving pieces to their rightful owners, but we have a number of other containers that are still useful. These are in the church office if you would like to sort through them and pick them up.
The family of Ryland Bailey, Sr. who passed away June 15
Rev. Bill Brown, Jr. and family (in the loss of his wife, Rev. Judy Brown)
Joe Ciucci Jr.
Roy Cooke (anticipating treatment for a heart valve)
Bobby Davis (now a patient at Hanover Health and Rehab)
Susan Hill (in the loss of her father, Frank Hill III)
Jack & Lois Hinerman
Jennifer (friend of Nancy Grand with lung problems)
Kassi (niece of Nancy and Vic Grand who has blood clots in lung)
Leah Hundley (recovering from wrist surgery)
McCormick, our weekly parking lot attendant (in the loss of her mother, Robin McCormick)
Mary Mismas' sister-in-law, Mary
Troy Nelson (recovering from heart surgery)
Linda Vegas (friend of Doug and Patsy Wilson)
Celebrating Birthdays in July
Wirt Brock, V
Madeleine Chasse (Crick)
George Little, Jr.
Mary E. Vetrovec
Bob Hundley, Sr.
Mary Alice Nesbitt
Carter Johnson (Hinchman)
Ryland Bailey, Jr.
Photos of the Week
One of our Walk-In Guests has been slowly moving her belongings around the church - last week it was in front of the closed store next door. Today it is behind the store in the alley next to the church.
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