A Word from Us…

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

Stewardship 2016 – Hope and a Future



I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans to give you hope and a future.

 Jeremiah 29:10 |


Sunday, November 1 :  Judy Gough – “How UBC Has Ministered to Me”

Sunday, November 8 :  Brett Lissenden –  “How UBC Has Opened My Heart to Ministry Beyond Ourselves”

Sunday, November 15 :  Jackie Lockwood – “I Have Confidence in God’s Leading Us Into the Future”

Sunday, November 22 : COMMITMENT SUNDAY


God has called University Baptist Church to minister to the University Community and to the residents of the Greater Charlottesville-Albemarle Community serving as agents of Christ’s love and justice for those in need and offering a vital family of faith.   (UBC Mission Statement)


A Word from Sarah Wilson

Wilson,S - StaffPic-Web size

“He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’” Rev. 21:5

New Beginnings have been on my mind a lot lately. Today marks the beginning of my third month as the Youth Coordinator for UBC. I am amazed by the awesome gifts and talents with which our youth have been blessed. We are exploring how to use these gifts in our faith formation to praise and worship God.

Our youth curriculum this year, ‘Sticky Faith’, focuses on creating real and lasting faith that sticks with teenagers after they leave high school and as they begin their lives in the adult world. This research-based program, developed by the Fuller Youth Institute, has found that youth involvement in worship is more strongly linked with a mature faith development than any other form of church participation.

This Sunday, the UBC youth will be leading the worship service. This inter-generational church service is an opportunity for the youth to share their faith with the congregation. By encouraging them to take responsibility for the entire service, we are pushing them to grow and share their faith with the wider church.

The theme for the worship service is “New Beginnings.” The text from Revelation 21:1- 6a beautifully captures the transformative and amazing power of God. It captures the hope and joy that comes along with faith in God. The members of our youth group strongly and passionately feel God’s power and joyfully celebrate in His wisdom and power. They have picked songs and music that reflect their faith journey and enthusiasm for spreading the Good News. They have bared their souls in song, art, prayer, readings, and words. This Sunday the youth will be sharing these heartfelt praises and prayers with you during the worship service. I hope you are as touched by their genuine love of God as I am each week.

— Sarah


Ministerial Relations Service Team Report

Microsoft Word - UBC Logo 3 sizes.docUntil its formal appointment by Church Council, the UBC Ministerial Relations Support Team (MRST) was operating informally in consultation with the Ministers. Prior to the recent Leadership Retreat, over the course of several meetings, we had been focusing on discussions addressing certain issues which had already been identified in the area of staff/congregation relationships and on the structure of the Retreat.

We have had one meeting since the Retreat at which we reviewed the tasks as-signed to the MRST and began planning our next steps. Based on our preliminary review of the survey results, which will be shared with you soon and discussed at the October 28th church conference, there appear to be four primary areas of concern. These include Leadership and Management, within which one of the most important of the tasks is to meet with the ministers, beginning with Michael as Senior Minister. The purpose will be to evaluate the status of the relationships of the Ministers with the congregation and with each other and to develop and communicate specific expectations going forward. Our goal is to support and enable the Ministers in their leadership and pastoral care for the congregation. A sub-committee, consisting of Ed Lowry as Chair of MRST, Ed Smith as Chair of Church Council and Brad Groff as Chair of Deacons will be meeting with Michael on Thursday, October 15. We will then set meetings with Alba and Will as soon thereafter as possible.

As you know, UBC enjoys a richly diverse congregation which makes it a stimulating Christian environment, conducive to learning and growth in our spiritual lives, and provides UBC with a marvelous array of talents upon which to draw. This also can make it a challenge when trying to meet the hopes and expectations of those constituencies. We are fully committed to doing whatever it takes to seeing UBC meet this challenge and to working with the staff to establish pro-grams and processes designed to make the necessary changes.

Over its life, this congregation has had numerous other periods of challenge – from the reaffirmation of its open door membership policy in the 1970’s, through the transition after Dick Myers’ splendid twenty plus years of ministry, the move away from the SBC to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and many more. Through all of them, we have emerged stronger, more committed to God and re-dedicated to striving to be all He wants us to be. We have no doubt this will hap-pen again now and in whatever the future has in store for us. We have done this because we have realized that this is where God has placed us to do His work and because this is our church and it is dependent upon our having the commitment and faith necessary in order to succeed.

Each of the Ministers is open and eager for you to feel free to approach any one of them at any time with your concerns and thoughts. Nevertheless, we realize that there are times when members are more comfortable with the ability to talk with a lay leader about certain things. For this reason, it is a central aspect of this team’s charge that we be available to each member of UBC, to give you a place to express your thoughts and concerns regarding relationships with the Ministers. We hope you will take advantage of this, and we will do our best to be responsive in a constructive manner.

As we develop and implement the tasks assigned to the MRST, we will report back to you frequently. It is extremely important for you to be here with us throughout the process and to take your part in it. Our next report will be made at the October 28 Church Conference. We look forward to seeing you there.

Yours in Friendship and Service,

The Ministerial Relations Service Team

Ed Lowry, Chair
Jack Averill
Debra Bryant
Brad Groff
Alan Hendricks
Larry Martin
Amanda Ohlms
Ed Smith


A Word from Michael

Michael CheukLast weekend, Beth and I took Thea (and Wes) to Durham, North Carolina, to tour Duke University.  We arrived on campus on a clear, sunny, crisp day, breathing in the fresh air of the Piedmont forest on the brink of changing foliage, surrounded by the Georgian red brick of the East Campus and the Collegiate Gothic style of the West Campus.

At the general orientation lecture before the tour, the Assistant Admissions Officer encouraged the audience of potential applicants not to stress out about the application process or be anxious about the acceptance process.  He also reminded the parents not to be fearful or worry about the financial package.  “Those things will come,” he said, “but today, enjoy the tour, ask questions, and find out all you can about the university.”  Finally, he reminded all of us,  “You’re not alone; others are on the same journey as you.”

That admissions counselor’s words reminded me of the previous Friday night when Beth and I had fifteen UBC members over for dinner.  It was a diverse group of people, but they all had one thing in common:  the death of a family member.  After dinner, Suzanne Smith, Chaplain at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital, led the group in a conversation about coping with grief and loss.  Although the circumstances, the timing, and the particulars of each loss were different, it was helpful to know that we were not alone in our journey.  We have one another, and we have Christ.  Together, we can learn to adapt in this new reality and live fully today.

Jesus said, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself”; instead, seek first God’s Kingdom (Matthew 5:33-34).  Good words to remember, no matter what stage of life we’re in.

~Blessings, Michael



Assoc. Pastor Search Committee Report

The Associate Pastor Search committee has met recently to begin the search process. The committee members are Jack Averill, Shirley Clark, Judy Gough, Laura Faye Groff (Vice Chair), Alan Hendricks, Michelle Proffitt, Nelda Vaughan, and Brent Wilson (Chair).

We plan to communicate openly and regularly with the congregation and staff. While we are eager to move quickly, we are also committed to being diligent and prayerful so that as a congregation we can thoroughly explore where we are today and where we sense God is leading us.

Over the next few weeks, we will be working to identify what staffing needs are required to support UBC’s mission, core values, and God’s calling for us. To accomplish this, we will hold conversations with the congregation and staff during Sunday Bible Study and on Wednesday evenings. The report from the Leadership Retreat and the budget-planning process for 2016 will also provide an important framework for the Search Committee. After we develop a profile of the leadership style and characteristics we desire in an Associate Pastor, we will begin to determine how to fill the identified needs.

We value the input from the congregation and ask that you give plenty of time and consideration to discerning God’s direction for UBC. We appreciate your encouragement, prayers, and support during this process.

Brent Wilson


Report on Leadership Retreat

Church Leadership Retreat

Church leaders gather at our leadership retreat last weekend.

The Deacons, Church Council, Ministerial Relations Service Team, and ministerial staff gathered this past Saturday at UBC for an all-day Leadership Retreat to discuss priorities for next year, review the results of the survey, consider how we might build upon our strengths and how we might focus attention on the concerns which you expressed through the survey. Unless otherwise specified, your responses and comments were shared with the lay leadership and the staff, who were invited to attend the retreat. We were pleased that approximately 103 members took the time to share their thoughts and recommendations. This is perhaps the largest congregational response we have received from any similar survey during recent years. We are grateful for the input you provided, the constructive criticism you have shared, and the common theme of working together as a church family.

As a result of your input, we agreed upon and will recommend to you that our church focus on four specific areas, many of which deal with the internal strengthening/rebuilding of systems and clarifying roles and responsibilities with respect to

  1. Leadership and Management,
  2. Clarity of Purpose,
  3. Strengthening our Community of Faith,
  4. Outreach, Church Attendance/Engagement.

A one-page summary of the survey results is being finalized and will be sent to you soon. In addition, specific action plans with target dates and reporting accountabilities are also being prepared. This will be made available to you on or before the October 28 Church Conference. At that conference we will share several statistical trends, present the survey results, review our plans/proposals for action, be open to your additional ideas, and seek your approval and your support as we implement these action plans.

We look forward to our conversations and will appreciate any additional input you may wish to provide prior to the Church Conference.

Michael Cheuk, Ed Smith, Brad Groff


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