A Word from Us…

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

A Word from Michael

Michael Cheuk

Beth and I have been trying to find the right metaphor for our farewell.  It’s not the sort of angry or hurt departure one sometimes associates with a divorce.

It certainly doesn’t have the finality of death!  It’s not the joyous celebration of a birth or marriage.  The image we’ve settled on is a mutual graduation.

A graduation is a bittersweet time. We celebrate accomplishments and a bright future, but we also are a little saddened by the passage of time and the necessary farewells.  That’s the way we are looking at this transition, and we hope it’s a helpful image for others, too.

A graduation is also a time of offering support and well wishes, and already Beth and I are so overwhelmed by the love and generosity you have shown us.  In the spirit of our upcoming graduations, then, I’d like to have some chances to speak with you at various times and spaces.  I’ll be staying after church for the remaining Sundays so you can find me in the sanctuary for a few  moments of conversation or prayer. Feel free to call or email me to schedule a time for me to visit you. In addition, Beth and I would like to host a “drop-in” gathering at our house this Saturday, January 16, from 2 to 4 pm.   There’s no need to RSVP, but if you need directions, our number is 964-9212. There is certainly no obligation for you to stop by – we just want to make sure we have a chance to speak with as many of you as possible.

We plan to remain in Charlottesville for the foreseeable future.  We hope that these farewells are not the last word.  After a graduation, classmates don’t see one another or their teachers every day, but they are pleased to see one another on special occasions or at chance meetings.  We will always be happy to see you.

Blessings,  Michael


Associate Minister Search Committee Report

In light of Rev. Michael Cheuk’s recent announcement, the Associate Minister Search Committee is going to work with Church Council and the to-be-formed Leadership Transition Team to decide what direction our work should take in the coming months.

To give an update on what we had been working on, we’d like to share that in the weeks prior to Christmas, the search committee met with Michael Cheuk, Alba Beasley, and Will Brown, as well as the chairs of the Deacons, Church Council, and Ministerial Relations Service Team. During these conversations, we discussed what traits and skills a new associate minister should bring to UBC as well as the roles and responsibilities such a person would hold. Our focus was on looking forward and following where God is calling our church, not just recreating what existed before.

The upcoming change in senior minister obviously has a significant impact on the insights that we gathered. Even so, we believe the details are still useful and informative, and we will share what we learned with Church Council and the Leadership Transition Team as needed.

Thank you for your prayers and support!

                                                                  Brent Wilson, Chair
                                                                  Associate Minister Search Committee


A Word from Michael

Michael Cheuk

To my UBC Family:

During these past months, I have been soul-searching about my role as your Senior Minister and the future of University Baptist.  After much prayer and discernment, I have decided to resign.  My last day will be January 31.

This is a difficult decision, but I believe it is best both for University Baptist and for me and my family.  After over twenty years in congregational ministry, I need a fresh start.  In the coming months, I’m going to take a “time out” to clarify my gifts and my passions, and to discern my next steps.  As someone who is about to turn fifty, I want to live the second half of my life in the way that is truest to who God has made me.  Even though the future has not yet been revealed, I am at peace.  I ask that you pray for me and my family as we seek guidance about our future.

I will be praying for UBC as the church seeks guidance about its future.  As many of you know, these past months have been challenging for many of us here.  A recent church-wide survey revealed that there are concerns over the direction the church is heading.  I appreciate the church leaders – including the Deacons, the Church Council, and the Ministerial Relations Service Team – who have stepped up to address our challenges and systemic issues.  A lot of attention has also been focused on me, so much so that I believe it has become a distraction and a hindrance to the church’s forward progress.  As we enter into a new year, I want to give UBC a fresh start, too.  I believe my decision to step down is the best way for the church to accomplish this and move on.

Even though I make this decision with great sadness, I have nothing but love and gratefulness for this congregation.  You became our family when Beth and I moved to Charlottesville in 1993.  You supported Beth when I was a grad student at UVA.  You elected me a Deacon in 1996, and I served as an Associate Minister here for almost nine years.  You ministered to us by babysitting Thea and Wesley while I worked on my dissertation.  You blessed us as God called us away to Farmville Baptist, and you blessed us by calling us back to UBC.

It has been a privilege to be your Senior Minister for these three years, and to serve alongside a wonderful staff that feels like family.  Thank you for allowing me to walk alongside some of you in moments of joy and sorrow – celebrating births, dedicating children and parents, baptizing new disciples, seeking healing in the midst of illness, and burying the saints among us.  During our time together, we’ve launched a Ministry Residency program.  We’re establishing new partnerships on University grounds and in the medical center.  We’re raising up a new generation of leaders in the church, and they are finding new ways to minister at UBC and beyond.  May all these things bear abundant fruit in the years ahead.

As we’ve just finished the season of Advent and Christmas, I sense that God is about to birth something new and beautiful at UBC.  What we are feeling now are just the birth pangs.  As we enter into the season of Epiphany, a season of light and the revelation of Christ to all, I pray that our future in Christ will be revealed – to me and my family, and to you and UBC.  May the light of Christ shine with love and hope to you and to University Baptist.

With grateful love, Michael


Sanctuary Choir Program

The Sanctuary Choir presents, In the Presence of the Word, by John Rutter.

Our Sanctuary Choir will present five Rutter Christmas anthems this Sunday as part of our Advent Celebration.

A Word from Michael

Michael CheukAround this time last year, I had my annual physical.  After the examination and blood test results came back, I was told that my blood pressure and cholesterol were a little high, and that I needed to lose some weight.   Before prescribing me medication, my physician recommended two things that I really didn’t want to hear:  eat more healthfully and exercise.

Now, I believe in eating a healthy diet and exercising, but it wasn’t something that I was doing on a regular basis.  It was hard to change my habits, but eventually, I cut down on sweets and ate smaller portions, and I began to walk and exercise more.  Nothing radical, but I have since lost 15 pounds, and my blood pressure and cholesterol are now lower.  My improving health came not as a result of belief, but of action.

Similarly, our faith comes not merely in believing in Jesus.  In his parable of the wise and foolish builders in Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus says, “Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock,” withstanding the storms of life.

During this season of Advent, as we think about repentance or a change in thinking or action, we are reminded of the words of Richard Rohr, “The Word of God is telling us very clearly that if you do not do it, you, in fact, do not believe it and have not heard it . . .   We do not think ourselves into a new way of living.  We live ourselves into new ways of thinking.”

What actions can you take to practice the way of Christ?

~ Blessings, Michael


Stewardship – 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


If you have not already done so, we invite you to prayerfully consider
turning in a Planned Giving Card.   

You can send your card to the church office, put it in the offering plate on Sunday, call Sue Walton at the office, or email office@universitybaptist.org.

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


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