A Word from Us…

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

A Bridge Across – August 23

A Bridge AcrossA Bridge Across-2i

An elderly woman, an old-school Presbyterian, took a tumble down her stairs at home one day.  She bounced and slid her way to the bottom landing.  There she gingerly got up, brushed herself off, looked heavenward, and said, “I’m certainly glad that’s over with!”

I am not a Predestinarian Baptist, so whether God foreordained University Baptist Church to consider at this moment in its history the question now upon us, I won’t answer.  The question now upon us is how UBC’s membership policy applies to openly gay persons, especially openly gay Christians.

How God works in the details of our lives may elude precise description, but this I can say without hesitation:  God expects us to be faithful stewards of the Gospel in the day and time in which we live.  A large majority of UBC’s Deacons discern that this congregation’s faithful stewardship means finding clarity about church membership and gay persons.  This is why they are sponsoring the five-week Congregational Conversation on this topic beginning Sunday, September 18, and concluding on Sunday, October 23, as recommended by their Openness Task Force.

Letters went out on June 6 and June 29 detailing the work of the Openness Task Force, which the Deacons appointed.  The June 6 mailing included a four-page “Questions & Answers” insert.  If you have access to the internet, you will find a link on our church web site to where you can read these documents.  If you prefer to receive paper copies, please contact Sue or Stephanie in the Church Office.

I became aware of the Openness Task Force’s work prior to being considered as a candidate for Senior Minister in the Interim.  As a candidate, and then in the early weeks of my interim ministry with you, I said to church leaders that my goal was to serve the congregation in addressing whatever they described to me as needing attending to in these transition months.

Knowing of the Task Force’s work, I expressed that if the Deacons thought it best to leave this conversation to the next Senior Minister’s discretion, I was fine with that.   Alternatively, if the Deacons believed it wiser to address this question during the interim, I was fine with that as well.  My commitment was and continues to be, to assist you in doing in the interim whatever needs doing in the best possible ways that I know how.  This continues to be my commitment as we approach this five-week conversation.

By October 23rd, we all may join the Presbyterian lady in lifting our eyes heavenward and saying, “I’m certainly glad that’s over with!”  Why?  Not because this will be a tumbling, slipping fall on our interim journey.  Not at all.  But it will be a challenge, won’t it?  No doubt about it.  It will be a challenge.  So please join me in making this your personal commitment, too:  I will help University Baptist Church do this in the best possible ways I know how.  I am confident that in this mutual agreement we will do fine

Your Senior Minister in the Interim,

~ Gary


A Bridge Across – August 9

ABridgeAcross180x148 A Bridge Across-2i

We’ve completed three months of this interim transition together, and we’re well into the fourth month.  So, how’s the bridge-building going?  Are we nearing the other side?  Are we almost there?

Not there, yet.  But, closer than we were when we started, with some definite progress at laying out the structure.  The Leadership Transition Team hosted two well-attended, well-participated-in, church conversations.  They retreated back into the bridge construction trailer to confer and consult for a while, but here they are at the door, about to come back out with their report on Wednesday, August 17.

That’s next week!  You’ll want to be there to hear what they have to say, to receive their recommendations and to vote your approval or not.  Assuming you approve what the LTT recommends, they will pass their work on to the Senior Minister Search Committee as that group’s essential ‘marching orders.’  Then, it will be the Senior Minister Search Committee’s turn in the bridge construction trailer.

The Senior Minister Search Committee will get about doing the next phase of the work that ultimately will lead us over to that nearing shore, as the “Bridge Across” motto states.  They’ll be writing the placement advertisement, deciding where to disseminate it, laying out the lines of communication, setting deadlines for resumés to come in . . . all guided by what you, the congregation, say by way of the LTT report that you’ll consider next Wednesday, August 17.  Please be at this so very important Church Conference, ready to hear, discuss, and vote.  Building on The Bridge!

Your Senior Minister in the Interim,

~ Gary



Important Safety Notice!


  • When you are in the building for something other than a group activity, please let someone in the Office (during office hours) know when you arrive and when you leave.
  • If someone you don’t know wants to enter the building, suggest that they go to the front entrance and check in with the Office.
  • When you arrive and leave, please MAKE SURE THE DOOR IS COMPLETELY CLOSED.
  • When you leave, TURN OFF THE LIGHTS!
  • PARENTS: Please pass this information along to your teenagers!!



A Garden Growing – July 13

Seedlings_Matthew 13 8-9

There are times when I know not to sit down in my recliner at home.  If I sit down, I’m staying down for the count, because I’m tired and that recliner just feels so very good.  Resolve disappears, rationalizing comes alive (such as, it’s not exactly life-and-death, those errands and other to-do’s can wait, now where’s the TV remote?).  If you don’t face that struggle from time to time, either you’ve got great gumption, or else you need to get yourself a recliner that’s harder to get out of once you’re in it.

Which is my way of leading into this less-than-comfy topic of financial stewardship.  Let’s just say that UBC’s finances are in a definite state of ‘reclining’. . . down for the count. . . not exactly life-and-death. . . maybe can wait awhile longer. . . and so forth, until.  Until when?

Will our church’s financial support from its members and active participants stay in ‘recline’ until, in fact, crisis-status is attained?  As you know so well, income coming in less than expenditures going out will inevitably see a financial crisis come upon us.  That’s where your church is in its finances.  No vigor, no gumption, just sinking down into some sort of snoozing state of inactivity, when the very opposite is needed:  active, consistent financial giving.

We can stay in this financial recline for a while longer.  As I said, it’s not life-and-death quite yet, but, as the Book of Proverbs so colorfully points out:  “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.” (Proverbs 24:33-34).

More than a pinch, more than a simple shifting of here to there on the budget sheet, a genuine jump-out-of-your-seat experience of “oh my gosh!” panic is coming.  Because we’re allowing ourselves budgetary recline when we need to keep on in steady budgetary support.  That’s no way to run a household of the Lord Jesus.

Please assess your giving in recent months.  I’m not asking that anyone dip deep into their savings to make up for what’s gone lacking in their financial gifts to University Baptist.  I’m only asking that, if we’re part of the church giving recline, that we rouse ourselves up to meet our parts of the giving responsibility.  Invest yourself now; invest your talents in the contemporary meaning of time and skills; and invest your talents in the New Testament meaning of financial resources.

Your Senior Minister in the Interim,

         ~ Gary


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