Centenary's Weekly Newsletter July 7, 2017
A Message from Centenary

Pastor Matt Bates
Dear Centenary Family,

Last week, I tried to give you an overview of where we are in our strategic planning process. If you have not yet had time to read that and are interested, you can find it on our website.
I wanted to make a couple of corrections to my article from last week. First, there is one more member of our 2020 Committee I failed to mention - Jan Nelson. Jan is the Chair of our Administrative Council and we're grateful for her leadership in so many areas of our church's ministry. And secondly, our 2020 committee met monthly through the year of 2016. That is certainly a great commitment from all these folks and we're grateful!

I mentioned in last's week's newsletter an acronym that has helped me organize my thinking as we discern together how to move into the future God has in store for us here at Centenary. That acronym was PEGS - Purpose, Endowment, Governance, and Staffing. This week, I want to think with you about our purpose as a congregation.

In organizational planning, people sometimes use various terms that may have slightly different connotations. Most organizations, whether a business, non-profit, or church, believe they need to have a clear understanding of who they are, what they desire to become, and what they believe they are called to do.

Regardless of what terminology we use, as a church we need clarity of purpose so that all the decisions we make about ministries, finances, facilities, and personnel are aligned with that purpose.

A simple way to put the question is, "Given our gifts as a congregation, and the mission field where God has placed us, what is God calling is to become and to do at this time and in this place?"

We do not have to start from scratch. We know that as God's people we are called to love God above all else and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Surely that should be part of our vision or purpose.

As United Methodists, we know that our mission is "to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world." Unpacking that would certainly be worthy of some prayerful and thoughtful conversation.

At Centenary, we have other statements that have come from careful conversation and discernment. Our Reconciling statement states something about our identity as a congregation. It implies certain convictions of the expanse of God's grace and love, as well as certain virtues we need to cultivate and actions we need to be taking:

Centenary United Methodist Church is 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. 

I love this statement and continually pray that I can be the kind of Christian who can extend God's love in all these ways, and that we together are continually growing in God's grace so that we have the capacity to love in ways we'd never dreamed humanly possible.

In 2003, a Vision Task Force here at Centenary affirmed an existing mission statement.  That statement stated:

The mission of Centenary is to be the central urban congregation of the United Methodist Church in Richmond Virginia; worshiping the living God, exemplifying the life and teaching of Jesus Christ through our fellowship and ministry and inviting all people to a personal Christian experience.

This is also a powerful statement. It affirms our historic commitment to urban ministry and it highlights worship, becoming like Jesus Christ, fellowship and ministry, along with our desire to invite all people to a life-changing relationship with God.

In 2003, that task force also stated:  The vision of Centenary is to be a center of spiritual growth. It then proceeded to identify several goals that would move Centenary in that direction.

Also in that planning process, people said something that still very much resonates with many of us:  "We yearn for a growing congregation. We yearn for increases in membership and attendance at worship. We yearn for more diverse, younger...membership."

In the recent gathering of our 2020 Committee and Administrative Council with John Wimberly, John asked that group to brainstorm around the question of what they thought our purpose was. 

Here's what that group stated:

To serve God's community
To provide a safe and welcoming space for people to gather
Fellowship for those here and outside the congregation
Spiritual growth through worship, education and fellowship
Serve God in a downtown setting
Help people reconcile with each other
A place to help bring Richmond together
To explore spirituality and each other
To communicate with each other
To respect different paths to God and to serve the physical and spiritual needs of Richmond
Faith, Place, Outreach, Community
Reach people for the Gospel, be a place for God, worship, provide opportunities for mission, be a loving and supportive community
A word cloud from that exercised emphasized the words Community, People, Serve, and God.

We have much to work with. A task force, led by Jim Hill, is working to bring all this together into a new statement for this time and place that will guide us in the years to come and will help us communicate to those beyond our walls who we are, who we're becoming, where we're going, and what we hope to do in God's name. In August or September, we'll all be given the chance to respond to this group's work on our behalf and make our own contributions to this new statement of purpose. This is a tedious, and sometimes messy process. But it's important - and exciting to put ourselves in a place where God can speak a new word to us about God's will and purpose for us at this time and in this place.

P.S.  I'm working on a sermon this week from Genesis 24 entitled "Working out the Promise."  It's about the marriage of Isaac and Rebekah. I'm trying to understand the way God works through flawed, ordinary people and through our small, everyday actions and decisions to work out the great promise of salvation for the world. I hope to see you Sunday!
A Heartfelt Thank You

Dear Friends,
            We are very grateful for your kindnesses and good wishes given to us at the lovely reception on June 25, and for those spoken and written since then. We will never forget this wonderful church family and hope to be back with you from time to time. This is, after all, where our hearts are and have been no matter where we live!
            These are exciting days for Centenary as you work together in discerning how best to serve God by your presence in downtown Richmond. Our prayers will be with and for you, Pastor Matt, and the church staff in all the decisions that lay ahead. God is with us, thanks be to God!

Ginny & Dave Jarvis
This Weekend at Centenary

Sunday, July 9
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 "Working Out the Promise." 

New Adult Sunday School Class
Starting this Sunday, a new study for adults will be 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:
July 7:   Psalms 119:1-88  
July 9:   Psalms 120-132
July 10:   Psalms 133-139
July 11:   Psalms 140-145
July 12:   Psalms 146-150
July 13:   Proverbs 1-3
July 14:   Proverbs 4-6

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

Ushers Needed
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 am on Friday and the event will end at 5 pm on Saturday.  The classes this year are:   Climate Justice,  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, August 6 at 6 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.
Please Remember in Prayer

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)
Note - Visitation will be Tuesday, July 11, from 6 to 8 pm at Ginter Park Presbyterian Church (3601 Seminary Avenue, Richmond). A celebration of her life will be held Wednesday, July 12, at 4 pm, also at Ginter Park Presbyterian Church.
Joe Ciucci Jr.
Roy Cooke (anticipating treatment for a heart valve)
Bobby Davis (now a patient at Hanover Health and Rehab)
Mary Hazelgrove
Jack Hill (back at home)
Grace Hinchman 
Jack & Lois Hinerman
Judy Holland
Leah Hundley (recovering from wrist surgery)          
Lila Irby
Ginny Jarvis
Joe Kokoszki 
Theresa Mason (friend of Agatha Kidd)
Nikita McCormick, our weekly parking lot attendant (in the loss of her mother, Robin McCormick)
Troy Nelson (recovering from heart surgery)
John Seyfarth
Neil Shingleton (out of the coma, but still hospitalized at Chippenham Hospital)
Linda Vegas (friend of Doug and Patsy Wilson)
Celebrating Birthdays in July

John Ford
Dave Jarvis
Wirt Brock, V
Les Dobbs
Isabel Junker
Madeleine Chasse (Crick)
George Little, Jr.
Matthew Steele
Jacob Armstrong
Mary E. Vetrovec
Bob Hundley, Sr.
Laurie Cardoza
Dean Simpson
Beth Vetrovec
Jonathan Nuckols
Susan Thomas
Sonia Smith
Bill Brock
Mary Dobbs
Edna Knight
Kate Hundley                      
Mary Alice Nesbitt
R.B. Bennington
Carter Johnson (Hinchman)
Sylvia Whaley
Bob Almond
Vikki Brock
Sarah Anzelmo-Steele
Ryland Bailey, Jr.
Olivia Steele
Judy Brown
John Stottlemyer

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