Exciting Developments

A lot of exciting things are happening at UBC! Last week, we held a very successful Vacation Bible School in which we had an enrollment of 86 children, with an average attendance of 79 for VBS and 33 for the afternoon camp session. I was especially gratified to know that 18 of the children were from the community with no connection to the members and families of University Baptist. Many thanks to Erin Brown, Bob Badgett and others for leading and volunteering at VBS this year!

In my sermon on Sunday, I gave more details regarding my proposal to launch a second worship service here at UBC. You can read the sermon here.

In my sermon, I tried to explain how that second service is part of our new vision and mission venture to minister to people outside our congregation, including the community at the UVA Medical Center. I also mentioned the cost and sacrifice needed to launch this venture.

After the service, a nurse from UVA Hospital who was worshipping with us told me how thrilled she was about the idea of a second service because she’s not able to attend our Sunday morning services regularly because of her work schedule. Additionally, I discovered that Rev. Mildred Best, Director of Chaplaincy Services at the UVA Medical Center, was a guest worshipper on Sunday. She approached me to say how excited she was to hear about this new vision. The medical center is currently looking for partners to help them launch a health program for the wider community, and she wanted to meet with me and Will Brown to explore ways that we can partner and collaborate.

Those conversations were amazing “God moments” for me. It confirmed to me that God is already at work in bringing the right people, the right institutions and the right churches together for the health and healing of our community. While I don’t know what direction our conversations with Rev. Best will take, I am certainly open to further exploration and I will certainly keep you updated.

There’s more! At the end of worship, Debra Bryant announced that the deacons have decided to support the summer day program organized and held at First Baptist, West Main Street, for the children living in the neighborhoods near that church. We’re looking for volunteers to serve as chaperones and activity leaders for 20 children ages 5 to 14. Please contact Debra Bryant for more information and to sign up.

Finally, several of you also asked me about what will come out of Ruben Swint’s visit with us three weeks ago. Ruben has already submitted a draft of his report to me, Ed Smith (Chair of Church Council), Debra Bryant (Chair of Deacons), Pam Johnson (Chair of Stewardship) and Larry Martin (Chair of Finance). We will review the draft and pass it on to our “Generosity Taskforce” consisting of Jack Averill, Will Brown, Adrienne Canterbury, Beth Cheuk, and Brad Groff. A corrected version of the draft will be returned to Ruben for him to submit a formal report to the congregation. When the report arrives, copies of it will be available for distribution.

These developments are part of an effort to clarify a new compelling vision for how UBC can have a greater impact in our neighborhood and community. Alongside this emerging vision, Ruben Swint will be coaching me and our key leaders to help UBC respond with generosity to make this vision a reality.

I (along with Anne Keith and Lu Overbeck) will be away the rest of this week to attend the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship General Assembly in Atlanta. When we return, we look forward to next Sunday, when our Sanctuary Choir will present its Summer Choir Program. Four of our former Ministers of Music — Carl Beard, Len Willingham, Mike Norris, Kevin Holland — will join Alba Beasley in directing the choir. It promises to be a wonderful morning of worship through music, and a joyous homecoming for our beloved former ministers of music. See you next Sunday!

 ~Blessings, Michael