Dear Centenary Family,
The other day, I was walking out the alley toward the parking lot. I was carrying with me the book we'll begin studying this Sunday in Sunday School by Tom Berlin entitled Defying Gravity. An electrician was working on a small motor for the new Tenka Ramen noodle bar where Steve's Restaurant used to be. He saw the book I was carrying and the title. "Defying Gravity," he said. "What's that about?"
I explained to him that it was a new study we were beginning and that it was about the way money and material possessions have a hold on our lives, often preventing us from true joy in our lives. He said, "That sounds very interesting. I've always believed that money is the root of all evil," he said. We talked more about money and its role in our lives. I invited him to join us Sunday and hope he will.
That short conversation reminded me that all of us struggle with the role of money in our lives. Some of us, along with the friends we work with on a daily basis here in downtown Richmond, suffer from a lack of money. Some of us struggle with how to manage money and use it wisely if we have been blessed with it in abundance. Our culture uses money and the material goods it can buy, along with the prestige and power that accompanies it, as a measuring stick of a person's worth.
Jesus had a lot to say about money and its role in our lives and its place in his kingdom. The great challenge for those who follow Jesus is to learn to trust God to provide for our needs, while wrestling with how to use the money that comes to us for the good of God's kingdom.
Interestingly, the lectionary readings the next few weeks deal with these themes. The gospel reading this week from Luke 16:1-13 is often called the Parable of the Dishonest Steward. It's one of the strangest stories in the New Testament because Jesus appears to be telling his hearers to emulate the behavior of a manager who saves his own skin by cheating his wealthy boss. The one point from that story I seem to understand is that following Jesus has as much to do with wisely managing earthly things, like money and possessions, as it does with aspiring toward the grand ideals of Jesus' kingdom like justice, righteousness, and peace. The title I'm working with this week is Small Things.
Preparing for this study and thinking about the text for this week's worship services has also led me to think about how we here at Centenary use the resources God has entrusted to us. Our 2020 committee has been wrestling with these matters, especially in relationship to the use of our endowment. They will be inviting all of us into a conversation about those matters the last three Sundays of October when they share some of their thoughts with us in a combined Adult Sunday School class and seek input and ideas from all of us. I want to touch briefly on some of those issues in the sermon this Sunday as we seek to prayerfully discern God's will for our congregation and its mission over the next 4-5 years.
These are exciting times at Centenary. God has shown us that working together we can accomplish great things. And there are great opportunities for ministry, mission, worship, and service before us. This is a time for all of us to consider what bold dreams or visions we have for Centenary's future.
I look forward to seeing you Sunday.
Saturday, September 17 at 10:30 am: Service of Celebration
New Sunday School Offering for Adults to Begin September 18
The Committee on Episcopacy of the Virginia Conference United Methodist Church invites you to attend a Service of Celebration on the assignment of Sharma D. Lewis as Resident Bishop. The service will be held at Reveille United Methodist Church, 4200 Cary Street Road in Richmond. A reception will follow in the Fellowship Hall.
Read more about the election and assignment of Bishop Lewis.
About Sunday's Music
The Offertory Anthem for the 11 am Worship Service is "There is a Balm in Gilead" by William L. Dawson. The text of the anthem answers the question raised in one of the scripture readings for the day Jeremiah 8: 18 - 9:1.
Tuesday, September 20 at 12 noon: United Methodist Women Meeting
Join us in the Fellowship Hall for a presentation from Sonia Smith on her mission trip to Jamaica. B
ring your own lunch.
Sunday, September 25 at 12 noon: Covered Dish Lunch and Old Time Hymn Sing
Next Sunday we will enjoy a covered dish lunch and an old time hymn sing. Suzanne Ray and Pencye Bailey will accompany our singing on the piano, and Matt Bates will join in on his guitar. Amy Bates will play solo sets of hymn arrangements on the piano. Bring a dish to share and stay to enjoy this musical celebration.
Wednesday, September 28 at 7 pm: Called Charge Conference
Our District Superintendent Peter Moon will reside. The purpose of this charge conference is to authorize the Trustees to take action to create the necessary legal structures for Centenary to syndicate history tax credits related to the kitchen/elevator project. Administrative Council members are eligible to vote. All church members are invited to attend.
Thursday, September 29: Golf Tournament
Join us at the Hollows Golf Course for the 39th Annual Golf Classic. Registration will begin at 11:00 am with a putting contest at 11:30 am, lunch at 11:45 am, and a Golf Tee-Off at 1:00 pm. The cost is $75.00/ person, $15.00 for lunch only (firm reservations needed for catered lunch). The proceeds benefit Stop Hunger Now/Operation Storehouse. 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. Visit our website to learn more about Stop Hunger Now.
Sunday, October 2, at 2:30 pm: Theatre Outing to Sylvia
A group from Centenary will be attending a Huguenot Community Players' production of Sylvia by A.R. Gurney at Huguenot United Methodist Church (10661 Duryea Drive). The world of a middle-aged New York couple is turned topsy-turvy when the husband brings home an exceptionally, engaging canine running loose in Central Park. Tickets will be $12 each. Sign up on the bulletin board across from the kitchen.
Thursday, October 6, at 7:00 pm: Theatre Outing to Dracula
A group from Centenary will be attending a Quill Theatre production of Dracula at the Libby S. Gottwald Playhouse (600 E. Grace Street). Suspenseful, sultry, and spine-tingling, the classic novel by Bram Stoker (adapted by Stephen Dietz) comes nightmarishly to life in a timeless tale of horror. This is the story that began it all, powerful enough to inspire cults and costumes for more than a hundred years, but told in our own inimitably original way! Note that this play contains violence and may not be suitable for children. Tickets will be between $0 and $25, depending on the size of our group. Sign up on the bulletin board across from the kitchen.
Sunday, October 16 at 5 pm: Movie Night
Join us for
Movie Night at Centenary featuring the comedy Shooting the Prodigal, a movie about a church making a movie about the prodigal son. Refreshments will be served and there will be a talk-back discussion following the movie.
Saturday, October 22 at 2 pm: Theatre Outing to Hunchback of Notre Dame
A group from Centenary will be attending a performance of the Three-Penny Theatre's Hunchback of Notre Dame, an original adaptation by local playwright Ray Carver of the novel by Victor Hugo. Three-Penny Theatre is located at Gayton Kirk Presbyterian Church (11421 Gayton Road in Henrico). Their productions are "pay what you want" performances; every audience member names their own ticket price. Sign up on the bulletin board across from the kitchen.
Outreach and Mission Opportunities
The annual pansy sale to benefit Shalom Farms is here! The pansies come in multi-colored flats (1 flat is 32 plants). They sell for $20.00/flat. The deadline to place an order is Monday, October 3. The sign-up sheet is on the bulletin board next to the kitchen. Make checks out to UMUMR. Thanks so much and happy planting!
Visit our website to learn more about Shalom Farms.
Sunday School Teachers and Assistant Teachers Needed
Please, please consider volunteering this school year to teach or assist in our children or youth Sunday School classes for just one Sunday morning a month. The classes meet from 10:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. We just need one more assistant with the children's class and two more leaders for the youth class. Please see Ann Davis for more information.
United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR)
The Outreach Committee wants you to be aware of an opportunity to help the struggling people in Louisiana as they overcome destruction from the floods. If you make a check out to Centenary UMC and write UMCOR #901670 on the bottom of the check, it will be sent to help with Louisiana's recovery. If you want your contribution to go to help with buying clean-up buckets for the effort, write UMCOR #901440 on your check. At this time UMCOR doesn't have numbers for the earthquake in Italy or the fires in California. We will keep you updated as we receive this information. Visit the UMCOR website to learn more.
Items for School Kits
With all of the back-to-school sales, 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!), blunt children's scissors (rounded tip only, not ones with plastic blades), 24-count boxes of crayons. We have plenty of pencils, erasers, and rulers left from last year's collection. Visit our website to learn more.
Please Remember in Prayer
I would like to thank the members for their notes, cards and calls and mostly for their prayers. I am much better but still have some way to go. I look forward to seeing the new kitchen and using the elevator. Grace Hinchman
I want to thank Centenary's "prayer warriors" for all the prayers, thoughts, and good wishes on behalf of my uncle, Marcus Smith. He continues to receive cancer treatments at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. He feels he is in good hands, and is grateful for the on-going support he has gotten from family and friends. God bless, Suzanne Ray
Joe Ciucci Jr.
Ruth Anne Davis
Susan Dobyns (friend of Leah Hundley)
Jack & Lois Hinerman
Donna Mestre (Betty Brown's sister)
Marcus Smith (Suzanne Ray's uncle)
Kevin Watson (son of Cheryl Owen-Watson)
Celebrating Birthdays in September
Photo of the Week
Thursday night a group from Centenary enjoyed dinner together at the new restaurant across the street from the church, Wong Gonzalez.
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