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!
May 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.
As 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!
The 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!
In 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:
In my sermon this morning, I referenced two videos as illustrations of gratitude.
The first is a video called “The Science of Happiness: An Experiment in Gratitude.“
The second is a TEDx San Francisco talk by Louie Schwartzberg on “Gratitude.”
I hope you enjoy these two videos.
During our harvest luncheon on Sunday, Jeff Cranford led us in a discussion of possible new ministries that UBC can engage in for the next two years. Building on ideas generated from both the Deacon and Church Council retreat in October, and last Wednesday’s Town Hall meeting, a consensus is emerging to focus on three broad areas: 1) exploring ministry opportunities at UVA’s hospital, 2) collaborating with other churches and organizations to meet the needs of our neighborhood, and 3) partnering with campus ministries to extend and deepen our impact with UVA students. For each category, participants came up with many specific and creative ideas, though we affirmed that research should undergird our work and that new undertakings need not be big ones.
This is an exciting time for UBC, but we need your prayers, your time and talents, and your financial support. As we prepare for Stewardship Celebration Sunday, please prayerfully consider how you can “return to the Lord” your gifts and talents to turn new ministry ideas into reality!
Last Saturday, Beth and I had the privilege of attending the wedding ceremony of Julie Gaines, the oldest daughter of Ray and Nancy Gaines, and the granddaughter of Barbara Newlon. Before Julie and her husband Jeff Walton exchanged their vows, the congregation was invited to participate in the Lord’s Supper.
Jeff and Julie told us, “Communion is a chance to return home. To return to the center of our faith, and remember what is important in the long and sometimes difficult journey of life, faith, and marriage. Whenever we as children of God feel lost, or find ourselves stepping into darkness, it is good to know that God’s table and the community surrounding it will always be there to bring us back home, welcome us back, and remind us of our identity.”
Officiating minister Sterling Severns, Pastor of Tabernacle Baptist in Richmond added, “It is our understanding that this table represents the love of God. It is the table that we find God’s diverse children, one and all, gathering around; continually being reminded that if the world is going to understand who God is, it must first begin with us sitting at the table together.”
As we prepare to celebrate the Lord’s Supper this Sunday, may these beautiful words by Jeff, Julie and Sterling stay with you.
Life can be difficult, and sometimes we may even feel lost and in the dark.
But God’s table and the community of faith surrounding that table will always be there to welcome us back home and remind us of our identity as children of God.
In last Sunday’s sermon, we considered how to move forward in the midst of these sad and troubling events here in Charlottesville. According to Sunday’s text, one answer is to imitate Christ.
Sarah Wilson, a member of our church, has been working on a UBC project that perfectly captures the idea of imitating Jesus. She and others are organizing a meal for UBC to serve to police officers and others who have been doing the draining work of searching — not only for Hannah Graham, but also for the truth about her and other young women who have suffered violence or death in recent years in Central Virginia.
This idea was inspired by the group “Help Save the Next Girl,” founded by the parents of Morgan Harrington.
Initially, the plan was to serve lunch for forty, but the idea was so well received that the police asked if we could plan to serve seventy-five. The lunch will be served this Thursday, October 23.
Hardee’s has generously agreed to donate chicken for the meal, but you can also sign-up on our google doc.
to donate drinks, side dishes, desserts, or help serve the meal. Please drop off all food items in disposable containers to the UBC kitchen no later than 10 am on this Thursday. If you want to make a donation to cover meal expenses, you can write a check to the church and write “search crew meal” on the subject line, or give online.
I’m thankful for church members who have the passion and imagination to see what imitating Christ looks like even in the midst of tragic circumstances. I’m eager to learn other ways that our church can express the love of Christ, now and in the months to come.
A few weeks into my new position at UBC, I want to share with you about a conversation I had recently with Rita Ralston, the Executive Director of the Ronald McDonald House. Many of you may know her, and many more of you may be familiar with the work of the Ronald McDonald House, which was started by University Baptist and originally called “Hearthstone House.”
Rita Ralston told me that even though they have been “adopted” by the Ronald McDonald organization and are now a few blocks further away, UBC continues to have a special relationship as their “birth parent.” She expressed gratitude for our historic relationship and optimism for our continued partnership.
In my conversations with Rita and later with the coordinator of the Hospitality House, we talked about the needs of their facilities, both of which provide housing for families of hospitalized patients from out of town. As we talked I was struck by the many ways that UBC groups and individual members are already contributing to these organizations.
In addition to several individuals who have volunteered regularly, the Kittie Colvin Trail Circle faithfully supports the Hospitality House with food and supplies. The Hospitality House director also mentioned what a blessing it is when their guests receive crafts and treats from our children. Next Sunday the youth from our church are cooking dinner for the guests at both the Hospitality House and Ronald McDonald House. I am sure that our church’s involvement extends beyond what I have mentioned or what I even know about, and both organizations were excited to consider further ways we may partner with them in the future.
As our church explores various new ministries with the hospital community, I find it encouraging to discover the rich heritage of ministry in our church’s history, as well as the many ways that members of our congregation are already involved in serving the needs of patients and their families. It is important that we celebrate these vital ministries that are taking place quietly but faithfully behind the scenes. I look forward to the months ahead, as we dream together of how God might use our church to expand these ministries and the service we can bring to our neighbors just down the street.