Introducing Our New Ministry Resident

Will_BrownWill Brown is our Ministry Resident for 2014-2016.  Originally from Gretna, Virginia, Will came to Charlottesville to attend the University of Virginia, where he received a degree in Religious Studies and Music.  While at UVA, he was involved in the Baptist Student Union, Jubilate and UBC, where he met his wife, Erin, who was also involved with Jubilate and UBC.

After a short time working in the office at UBC, Will attended Yale Divinity School and earned his Master of Divinity degree.  Will and Erin lived for a year in Nazareth, Israel, as Venturers through the Virginia Baptist Mission Board, serving a small Arab Christian seminary before returning to Charlottesville.

After returning to the states, Will completed both a hospital chaplaincy internship and residency at UVA Medical Center.

You will find Will honing his skills in all aspects of pastoral ministry here at UBC.  In addition, Will’s residency project is to help connect UBC to the UVA Medical Center.  We welcome Will Brown to the staff of UBC!

A Program of Happy Songs


JUBILATE, our collegiate choir, will present their annual fundraiser event called


There will be two shows:

Friday, September 26 at 8:15 p.m.
Desserts will be served during that show.

Sunday, September 28 after Morning Worship (around 12:20 p.m.)
A baked potato bar and salad bar will served before the show.

Donations will be accepted at both of these events.  Proceeds will go directly to lower the cost of Jubilate’s annual Spring Break tour.

Come and enjoy the show!

New Beginnings

BrownsSunday will be a day of new beginnings at UBC.  During worship, we’ll have a service of Deacon ordination and installation, as we ordain Erin Brown and Peter Ohlms and install John Buchanan, Elva Ferguson, Larry Johnson, Carolyn Lowry and Barbara Jesser (in absentia) to the office of Deacon.  I am so grateful that they have agreed to begin a three-year term of service as spiritual leaders of our church.  (Pam Johnson will also be installed as a Deacon to serve Joseph Johnson’s unexpired term.)

In addition, we will officially welcome Will Brown as Ministry Resident.  As part of his residency, he will work in all areas of congregational ministry, including regular opportunities to preach. Due to his training at Yale Divinity School and as a chaplain at the UVA Medical Center, Will also brings fresh and innovative ideas.  Let’s give Will the freedom to explore new ways of ministry both in the church and in our outreach to the hospital.

Finally, this week marks a transition in our youth ministry as Phil Woodson wraps up his time with us, and Erin Brown begins her service with our youth.  How blessed we are to have such capable leadership in both these young people!  Phil is now serving as a worship leader at First United Methodist Church in Charlottesville.  We wish Phil (and Ellen and Cooper) all the best as he begins a new chapter of ministry!  And let’s offer our support to Erin as she establishes her own ministry.

~Blessings, Michael

St. John’s Bible Presentation

Dr. Tracy Hartman, Professor at Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond, brought a volume of the St. John’s Bible to UBC and gave an enlightening presentation of the inspiration, the history, and the theological artistry of this first handwritten, illuminated Bible commissioned in 500 years.

Below are pictures of Dr. Hartman’s presentation.

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State Mission Offering

Alma-HuntDuring September we will be collecting the Alma Hunt Offering for Virginia Missions and the Chaplain Service Prison Ministry of Virginia, Inc. (specifically, Chaplain Julie Perry at the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women).

Our 2014 goal is $4,000, to be divided evenly between these two mission efforts.So far, we have collected $2079.

For more information   go to and

You can make a donation during the worship service, by check, or by online-donation.


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.

Randi McFarland to Preach

Randi_McFarland_webOur guest preacher on Sunday, September 21, will be Randi McFarland.

Randi is a graduate of Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond and is currently doing an internship here at UBC.

She sings in the Sanctuary Choir (when she’s not preaching!) and is very involved in the life of the church.  She hopes to be ordained soon and wants to get a hospital chaplain residency position.

Randi and her husband, Jim, have three grown children (Mical, Jaime, and Ashley) and six grandchildren (one which just arrived!).

We welcome Randi to the pulpit this Sunday.

St. John’s Illuminated Bible

St. John's BibleThis Wednesday night, at 6:15 p.m., Dr. Tracy Hartman, professor at Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond, will be displaying and talking about sections from The Saint John’s Illuminated Bible.

BTSR is honored to exhibit the first handwritten and illuminated Bible to be produced in over 500 years, and we are pleased to have them share this treasure with UBC.

The painstakingly crafted, seven-volume project, that involved a dozen artists from around the world in dedicated work for more than a decade, is a rare masterpiece of art and inspiration. Smithsonian Magazine called this project “one of the most extraordinary undertakings of our time.”

The work is breathtaking — people of all ages will enjoy this experience.

Please join us as we explore this fine art edition of the original Bible manuscript. has a nice article about the St. John’s Bible.

Ambassador Howell to Speak this Wednesday

Nat HowellNathaniel Howell, former United States Ambassador to Kuwait (1987-1991), will speak on “Persecution of Christians in Iraq” this Wednesday, September 10, 6:15 to 7:00 p.m. at University Baptist Church.

Ambassador Howell will present 20 minutes of background information on Christian communities in northern Iraq that have existed centuries before those in Europe and the United States. Now, they are being attacked by Islamic extremists and are given the choice of converting or being killed. These Christians are being robbed of all their property and possessions if they are fortunate enough to escape the area, and historic churches and monasteries are being destroyed.

Howell wants to raise the awareness of this dire situation in our churches, mosques, synagogues and other faith institutions, in hopes that we will unite to provide support and assistance to these beleaguered co-religionists.

For more information about Ambassador Howell, visit:

This presentation will be held at University Baptist Church, 1223 W. Main St., Charlottesville, VA, (434) 293-5106.
It is free and open to the public.

(You can download a flyer of this event to distribute and publicize.)

Be Still . . .

Be Still“Be still and know that I am God.”

I have cited that verse many times in the past, often in the context of our need to slow down the rapid pace of our lives in order to leave time and space for God. Well, this past week, I had the opportunity to live out that verse after my shoulder surgery. The surgery went well by all accounts, but even so, the doctors told me – and my body reminded me – to take it easy and rest. So for a couple of days after the surgery, I literally had to be still!

It was hard being forced to be still and to do nothing but think. At first, all I could think was “be still and know that I’m falling behind on my emails and church work.” It made me realize that much of my identity is still wrapped up in my work. By Sunday however, I slowly came to remember that University Baptist is not solely dependent on me, and that God ultimately is the leader of the church.

I’m grateful for church leaders who led so capably during our church conference on Wednesday.

I’m grateful for the staff and Rev. Bill Smith for their leadership in worship Sunday.

I’m also grateful for the cards, emails and Facebook comments praying for my recovery.

As I’m back in the office this week, I’ll still have to take work slowly. I hope I will continue to carry the lesson that God is ultimately in charge.

I’m called to be still and know that God is God.

~Blessings, Michael

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