A Word from Us…

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

Welcome, Suzii Paynter!

Paynter, S photoOur guest preacher on March 1 will be Suzii Paynter.  She is the Executive Coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, a Christian network comprised of nearly 1,800 congregations, thousands of individuals and dozens of partners that work together to renew God’s world.  CBF supports a wide range of missions and ministries that give people meaningful opportunities to put their faith to action, including a network of 125 field personnel ministering in more than 30 countries.

Over the past decade, Paynter has gained a national reputation for her advocacy on important ethical issues such as religious liberty, hunger and poverty, human trafficking and immigration reform.  An ordained deacon and Sunday school teacher of more than 40 years, Paynter has held positions of leadership in Baptist churches in Texas, Kentucky and Mississippi.    We welcome Suzii Paynter to the pulpit this Sunday.

Light Luncheon Following Worship
Everyone is Invited!   

This will be a time for further conversation with Suzii Paynter.
onations will be accepted for Jubilate’s Spring Tour.


Lent is for Listening

This Wednesday, we enter into the season of Lent, the time in our church calendar that recalls Jesus’ forty days in the wilderness. Often during Lent, we think about the things we will give up — like sweets or soft drinks or TV. This year, I wonder if we might think about one thing we can add to our life, namely, the practice of listening.

Lent is for listening. We can certainly imagine Jesus, during his forty days in the wilderness, listening and praying, strengthening himself for the challenges to come. I encourage all of us to similarly set aside a little time for silence in the weeks of Lent. Perhaps this past Sunday’s session on centering prayer has given you some ideas to try. Or perhaps it might be as easy as turning off the radio or TV for a time of silence. Perhaps you might set aside a time as you wake or before you sleep to cultivate the practice of listening.

In the spirit of “Lent is for listening,” I will be preaching a series called “Words Worth Hearing” in Sunday worship. On Wednesday nights, I have also invited “People Worth Hearing”— leaders of various mission and ministry partners that we support — to share how God is working through our financial contributions. Finally, we will be using a prayer guide called “Seek God for the City” as a way to listen to God through our neighbors. I hope you will join us in listening to God throughout Lent.

In another matter, we’ve just completed another successful two weeks of PACEM. This is the final year that Lynn Martin will serve as our coordinator. I am so grateful for Lynn’s leadership, and I hope you will express your thanks to her when you see her in the coming days.

~Blessings, Michael

A Word from Erin

As many of you know, this year University Baptist has the exciting opportunity to participate in both Operation InAsMuch, our annual church-wide day of service, and Mission Madness, a statewide CBF event offering youth a weekend of hands-on missions, worship, and fellowship.  This spring we will be combining the two events into … (drum roll, please) … “Operation Mission Madness”!!  The weekend of April 17-19, UBC will be a host church for this year’s Mission Madness event.  More than 250 youth from churches around Virginia will flock to Charlottesville to worship here at the church and to engage in a day of service in our community.

As the host church, we will be able to serve alongside the youth at work sites in and around Charlottesville, as we have each year in the past with OIAM. However, we will also have additional responsibilities, and we are hoping UBC members are willing to accept the challenge!  We will need groups to prepare meals for 250 youth on Friday and Saturday, and we will need UBC representatives to be leaders at each work site!

We will be discussing the specifics of this weekend during our Wednesday night Town Hall meeting this week. Join us then to learn more, ask questions, and discover how you can be involved in making Operation Mission Madness a success this year, as we join with hundreds of youth to make an impact in our community!



Chiming of the Hour

Beginning this Sunday, February 15, we will be chiming the hour at 11:00 am as a way of calling us to worship.  We ask that when you hear the Chiming of the Hour that you begin to prepare for worship by settling your minds and hearts to concentrate on the worship service.  Pray for the service and what you and others will receive from it.  Pray that all of the worship leaders will help you to open your heart and mind to God’s leading through all that is said, sung, and played.


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!

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