Dr. Jeff Cranford and Drene DeGood to Speak on April 1

Drene deGood of Alliance for Interfaith Ministries (AIM)  and Dr. Jeff Cranford of the Central Virginia Baptist Association (CVBA) will be our Wednesday Night speakers on April 1 at 6:15 pm in Fellowship Hall.

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Drene DeGood (with Martha Wood, r.)

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Dr. Jeff Cranford


Dr. Keith Smith – Our speaker for March 25

Keith Smith was our Wednesday Night speaker on March 25.

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Keith has been associated with the John Leland Center for Theological Studies for twelve years.  In addition to being an adjunct faculty member, he is Director of the School of Ministry.  He also is pastor of New Community Baptist Church in Richmond.  His former pastorates are Derbyshire Baptist Church, Richmond, and University Baptist Church, Charlottesville.  Keith and his wife, Beth, have two sons, Matthew and Daniel.


A Report on Dr. Ron Crawford’s Presentation

FullSizeRenderOur guest speaker on Wednesday was Rev. Dr. Ron Crawford, President of the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond (BTSR), which has a strong and deep relationship with University Baptist Church. Dr. Crawford began his presentation, in fact, by bringing greetings from a BTSR graduate who grew up in this congregation and by acknowledging the contributions of a UBC member who serves on the seminary’s board of trustees. Furthermore, UBC currently serves as the host congregation for BTSR graduate Randi McFarland’s ministry internship.

Dr. Crawford described several distinctive traits that make BTSR stand out in the landscape of theological education. First, BTSR has a particularly strong focus on cross-cultural mission immersion, a powerful learning experience that is a requirement for each student. BTSR also has a strength in practical training, with an effective internship program that draws on the wisdom of individual congregations. Since its founding, BTSR has maintained and promoted an equal standing for women in ministry, something that continues to set BTSR apart, even today. Finally, BTSR places a strong emphasis on spirituality, recognizing that theological education is much more than mere head knowledge. These distinctive qualities give BTSR its particular identity and character in the context of theological education.

During a lengthy question-and-answer session, Dr. Crawford described various aspects of the seminary’s history, its current academic life, and his vision for its future. He shared about how financial challenges have impacted the seminary’s work, sometimes limiting what it can do, but this has also helped the seminary learn to be efficient and to remain focused on its priorities. In order to provide delivery methods that are accessible to students, BTSR offers classes during the day, in the evenings, and online, as well as hybrid classes that combine face-to-face time with the flexibility brought by technology, opening doors to students who would otherwise find seminary coursework inaccessible.

As BTSR grows and matures, adapting to the needs of a rapidly changing society, it continues to play a vital role in Baptist life in Virginia and beyond. University Baptist Church looks forward to continuing the relationship that we have enjoyed for many years, and it was a great pleasure to hear from Dr. Crawford about the exciting work taking place right now at BTSR.


Report on Rob Fox’s Presentation

Our Wednesday night speaker this week was Rob Fox, Field Coordinator for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Virginia (CBFVA). His presentation reported on the exciting work that CBFVA is doing, and he expressed his gratitude for UBC’s participation in this work, both through financial support and participation in many of the projects he described.

As Fox recounted some of the history of CBFVA, our many connections became clear. He showed pictures from a 2013 trip to China, and Michael Cheuk was part of the group. He reported on a 2014 trip to Slovakia, where Jon and Tanya Parks are CPF Field Personnel, and we replied that we have had Skype conversations with them in the past and will welcome them to UBC in the coming fall. He gave the history of the Mission Madness program, and we celebrated together that UBC will be hosting Mission Madness next month! The more Fox spoke about the work of CBFVA, the more evident it became that this work is also our work, as we join together as “co-laborers with the Holy Spirit in God’s mission.”

The presentation then reported on CBFVA’s efforts to support the health of churches and their pastors, including the Sabbath Day program for ministers, the CBF’s sabbatical program, and the Feast of Faith educational opportunity for congregations, among others. Health leads to strong ministries, and we heard about some of the powerful work that is being done specifically in Haiti, where Jenny Jenkins is one of our CBF field personnel. The medical ministries that she has led in Haiti have made a powerful difference there, and Rob Fox shared a heartwarming story about the personal impact of children receiving new shoes donated through Soles for Souls. In yet another connection to UBC, our congregation contributed generously to this program last year, and it was a treat to learn of the impact of our participation. Rob Fox closed by offering the image of CBFVA as multiple doorways to God’s mission in the world, and we at UBC look forward to continuing our strong relationship with CBFVA in the future, as we venture through those doorways and partner together to serve our world.

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A Report on John Upton’s Visit

On Wednesday night, February 25, UBC welcomed John Upton as our speaker. He began by bringing greetings both from the Baptist General Association of Virginia, where he is Executive Director, and the Baptist World Alliance, where he serves as President. In his BWA role, he has been traveling around the world to visit and support Baptist congregations, and he shared about a recent trip to meet with African Baptist leaders, many of whom are serving in difficult and dangerous situations. Upton relayed to us that when these churches are feeling forgotten and alone, the support of their Baptist sisters and brothers around the world is incredibly meaningful.

Drawing on the book of Acts, Upton’s message centered on what we do “together” as the body of Christ. Reporting on the activity of the Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV), Upton described a hopeful and promising time in Virginia Baptist life. In fact, the BGAV’s impact stretches far beyond Virginia: Baptist congregations from seventeen other states and countries have joined the BGAV to partner in the work we are doing together. Even though it may seem odd that churches from other states are joining an organization with “Virginia” in the name, Upton explained that these churches are joining because they agree both with our work in missions and the manner in which we are doing it. He listed five characteristics that draw these churches to associate with Virginia Baptists: being Gospel-centric, being relationally rich, being civil and reasonable, having a heart for the not-yet, and having a sense of mission and call.

Upton emphasized that we as Baptists are not afraid of the future, both because it is “a future that God inhabits” and because we have had a rich heritage in the past. Virginia Baptists continue to adapt and serve God in new and meaningful ways, and the fruit of these efforts can be seen in our campus ministries, new churches being planted, fresh expressions of church, our affiliated colleges and seminaries, our disaster relief work, and countless other ways that we are serving the Kingdom of God in Virginia and beyond.

After a question-and-answer time with Dr. Upton, Michael Cheuk reiterated our church’s support of both BGAV and BWA, and he presented Upton with a check for each organization. These contributions, a supplement to the annual amount we give through our budget, are part of how our congregation voted to use the surplus in our giving from last year. Upton expressed his gratitude on behalf of the organizations he represents, reiterating that the work he described is our work, part of the much larger mission that we as the body of Christ are doing together.

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Town Hall Meeting was held Wednesday, Feb 11th

A Town Hall meeting was held on Wednesday, February 11, at 6:15 pm in Fellowship Hall. 

Topics discussed included:

Mission Madness/OIAM

Ruben Swint’s Report

Hospital Ministry

Summer Mission Trip


Rev. Hodari Hamilton to Speak

Hodari-Hamilton_webWe welcome Rev. Hodari Hamilton as our guest speaker this Wednesday night at 6:15 p.m. as part of our “Welcome to the Neighborhood!” series.

Rev. Hamilton serves as the Senior Pastor of the Historic First Baptist Church on Main Street, the first African American Church in Charlottesville. Under his leadership at First Baptist, many Deacons and Trustees have been added as the membership has more than doubled. Multiple programs have been added including the Summer Enrichment Program, the After School Program, and many other ministries.

Rev. Hamilton earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Morris Brown College and his Master of Divinity from the Virginia Union University, Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology.

For almost 13 years Hodari has been married to the love of his life, the Rev. Khadijah Hamilton.  They have four children.

Persecution of Christians in Iraq

Many thanks to Ambassador Nat Howell for the information he shared with us about the persecution of Christians in Iraq.

The video of his presentation shown below.


The Baptist World Alliance has issued a call for Baptists and other Christians to provide funds to help Iraqi Christians displaced by war. The funds are earmarked for food and other urgently needed relief supplies for Christian families who recently fled Mosul and Karakosh and are now in Irbil, a city in Kurdistan.

ISIS fighters have terrorized towns in northern Iraq, amassing power and laying down harsh Sharia law. Christians were given the option of paying exorbitant taxes, converting to Islam, or fleeing. Many families fled their homes without their possessions, including clothing. Money, jewelry and other valuables were stolen or confiscated.


On August 29, the Associated Baptist Press published the article BWA allocates funds for persecuted Iraqi Christians.

Donations for this relief effort may also be made to “University Baptist Church” and earmarked for “Iraqi Christians.”

You can write a check to “UBC, 1223 W. Main St., Charlottesville, VA, 22903″ or you can donate online.

All of the money we collect will be sent to the Baptist World Alliance fund for Iraqi Christians.

Wednesday Night Supper Resumes

Wed-Night-SupperOur Wednesday Night Supper and Programming resumes on Wednesday, August 27.  

5:00 pm  Supper: (Come and welcome Sam Lewis back to our kitchen!)

                Meatloaf, Mashed potatoes/gravy, Green beans, Rolls, Pie


  • Discuss and Vote on Ministry Resident Program

 These three documents will be available for review starting Sunday, August 24.

1. UBC Process Map for the Ministry Residency Program

2. Ministry Residency Program Description

3. Frequently Asked Questions 

  • Vote on Nominating Committee Report


New Supper Prices

Adults   $7.00

Senior Adults   $6.00

Age 9 – College  $5.00

Children 8 and under   Free

Family Maximum   $20.00

If you wish to be on the permanent Wednesday night supper list, contact the Church Office (293-5106 or office@universitybaptist.org).

The reservation deadline for the first supper is Monday, August 25, 10:00 am.


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