A Word from Us…

Below you will find thoughts, updates, and articles from our staff.

Centering Prayer

centering-prayerWhen you pray, how much do you talk, and how much do you stay still and quiet and listen? I find that I talk more than listen, and when I do try to be quiet in prayer, my mind is often filled with distracting thoughts. I find that in the hustle and bustle of my life, it is challenging to “be still and know that God is God.”

Thankfully, there is a long-standing tradition within Christianity that practices a meditative, receptive kind of prayer called “centering prayer.” Centering prayer is a method of silent prayer, also called contemplative prayer, that prepares us to receive the gift of God’s presence. Centering prayer is not meant to replace other kinds of prayer. Rather, it adds depth of meaning to all prayer and facilitates the movement from more active modes of prayer — verbal, mental or affective prayer — into a receptive prayer of resting in God. Centering prayer emphasizes prayer as a personal relationship with God and as a movement beyond conversation with Christ to communion with Christ.

After worship on February 15, our deacons will host Herbert Ely and Susy Weiss from Contemplative Outreach of Greater Charlottesville for an introduction to centering prayer. The deacons will provide a light lunch followed by their presentation which will begin around 12:30 p.m.

If you are interested in attending the lunch and presentation, please contact the church office by February 12th.

~ Michael

State of UBC Address

Natures StairwayThis Sunday, February 1, Michael will be giving a “State of UBC Address” in worship.  His sermon will highlight existing ministries and outline possible new areas of partnership and emphasis.  Join us to hear in word and see in images where we have been and where God may be leading us.  At the end of the worship service, the congregation will enter into a brief Church Conference to vote on the 2015 budget.  The discussion of the budget will take place Wednesday, January 28, at 6:15 in Fellowship Hall.

Update on UBC’s Ministry Residency

Will_BrownI want to take this opportunity to update the congregation about the Ministry Residency program.  As the first resident at UBC, part of my task is to help structure our program and give feedback about how to make changes.  At a meeting with my Lay Support Team earlier this month, I suggested we implement a new rotation schedule for the residency, and the Lay Support Team helped refine how this will look.  While I will continue to perform a wide range of tasks, the rotation system will allow me to focus the residency’s learning and reflection component on a particular aspect of ministry (such as pastoral care, education, worship, administration, etc.).

As I rotate through these areas in the months to come, I will be sharing my observations more regularly, both the lessons I learn about myself and the insights I gain about UBC.  At its best, a residency program like this helps a minister to grow and learn, but it also helps a church to grow and learn more about itself.  I look forward to the conversations this will generate and the insights we will gain from each other.  To facilitate these discussions, one of our Wednesday night sessions later this spring will be devoted to the residency program.  This will be a time when you will hear more from me about what I’ve been doing, and we will all have the chance to talk about it together.  In the meantime, I will be sharing some of my reflections in The Word and on our website, and I hope you will not hesitate to share your thoughts with me as well.  I’m excited about what we will be learning together!

                                                                                           – Will Brown

Youth Evangelism Conference

Youth-Evangelism-Conf-2015Led by Youth Ministry Coordinator Erin Brown, thirteen of our youth and two chaperones attended the Youth Evangelism Conference at London Bridge Baptist Church in Virginia Beach January 16-17.  Hundreds of youth from across the state gathered for worship and fellowship with music by Leeland.

Beginnings and Endings

alpha-omegaAs we enter a new year, this is a natural time to recognize beginnings and endings.  Yesterday, we celebrated the beginning of Stephanie Corbell’s tenure as our new Administrative Assistant. Stephanie’s bio is below; please introduce yourself to her the next time you visit the church office.

We also celebrate the beginning of Alba Beasley’s 14th year at UBC as our Associate Minister for Music and Worship.  We are continually blessed by Alba’s musical talent, servant spirit, joyful demeanor, and hard work.  Please express your thanks to Alba (and Pam) when you see them.

Finally, this Sunday, we celebrate the beginning of Robert Truoccolo’s faith journey as a baptized follower of Jesus Christ!  Rob works at the UVA Medical Center and has recently been involved in our young adults group.

However, in the midst of these beginnings, members of our church have also experienced endings in the death of family members.  Our hearts and prayers go out to the Averills, the Willards, the Taylors, and the Mahones.

In Revelation 1:18, Jesus said, “I am the Alpha and the Omega — the beginning and the end.”  May the One who is, who always was, and who is still to come, be with us all in the midst of the beginnings and endings of our lives.

~Blessings, Michael

Let Them Eat Cake!

This Sunday, the youth celebrated the start to the New Year by baking and decorating some resolution-busting cakes for the staff at the Battle Building. To continue UBC’s ministry engaging with and supporting the hospital staff, our youth made and decorated four cakes that were delivered Monday to the staff lounges on each floor of the children’s hospital. In between mixing batter (and forgetting the eggs, and re-mixing the batter), spreading icing (and eating icing), and showering the cakes (and the floor) with sprinkles, the youth found time to pray for health and endurance for those working in the Battle Building.  (To be completely honest, we also found time to eat homemade pizza, and play a game of life-size battleship). Included with the cake delivery were about 80 cards written by the youth, thanking the staff for their hard work, letting them know our church is praying for them, and wishing them the best in the New Year!

Merry Christmas!

merry-christmasMay the gift of the Christ-child bring you peace, love, hope, and joy!

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

From the staff at University Baptist Church.

Bringing Christmas to UVA

cookies_for_UVAAs the UVA semester draws to a close today, members of UBC have been ministering to UVA students and staff. Over the last ten days, 241 students made use of our building for “A Quiet Place to Study.” Forty of our church members served as hosts (some taking multiple shifts) while ten members brought baked goods for the students.

Also, members of our young adult group baked cookies and brownies last Saturday. Will Brown delivered them yesterday to the children’s hospital across the street and left them in the staff lounges with this note: “Thank you for all the great work you do! Happy Monday! ~ from your neighbors at University Baptist Church.”

Our hope is to do this monthly, expanding to all four floors of the children’s hospital (and potentially also to the outpatient surgery floors of the Battle Building). If you’re interested in providing baked goods for this ministry, please contact Will Brown at (293-5106).

Finally, yesterday, I joined Rev. Deborah Lewis, campus minister of UVA’s Wesleyan Foundation, in handing out 22 cups of Starbucks coffee to students and wished them the best as they finish their exams and prepare to go home.

These are some ways we are trying to bring Christmas to UVA.

May you and yours have a very merry and blessed Christmas as well!



Songs of the Season

Songs_webThe Protestant Reformer Martin Luther once said, “Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world,” and “Beautiful music is the art of the prophets that can calm the agitations of the soul; it is one of the most magnificent and delightful presents God has given us.”

During this Advent season, Alba Beasley and the music ministry of UBC are giving us this “greatest treasure.” Last Sunday, Jubilate, our collegiate choir presented a beautiful Festival of Lessons and Carols, while Lindsay Marshall sang a lovely Call to Worship. And this coming Sunday, our Sanctuary Choir will lead in worship.

The beauty of this music is matched by the beauty of our sanctuary. Many thanks to our Floral Committee and our Wednesday Work Crew for decorating our sanctuary with the Chrismon tree, wreaths and garlands.

In the midst of all the bad news we’ve received in our community lately, may the songs of this season calm the agitations of our soul and give witness to our faith in a loving and caring God!

Let’s sing on!


A Statement from UBC Ministers

indexIn light of the recent news of sexual assaults on UVA Grounds, the ministerial staff of University Baptist Church feels compelled to state that we are terribly saddened by and concerned with a culture that allows rape and hides sexual assault, here at UVA and at other universities around the country. Such a culture of violence and violation is unacceptable, and it is destructive first and foremost to the victims, but also to the perpetrators and the communities in which such acts occur.

In response, we seek to listen and to learn more about this issue in order to offer a constructive voice in ongoing discussions.

We seek to collaborate with other churches and faith communities, with UVA, with law enforcement personnel, and with others in our neighborhood to advocate against sexual assaults and to stand with the survivors.

We aspire to work for justice and for the peace and wholeness of our community, so that all residents will feel and be safe from sexual assault.

In the meantime, we lift up our prayers for those whose lives have been impacted by such assaults, whether at UVA or anywhere else.

May God help them and all of us as we address this challenge together.

~ University Baptist Church Ministers:

Michael Cheuk
Alba Beasley
Bob Badgett
Erin Brown
Will Brown

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