Bright Sunday!

laughing_jesusWhat a privilege it was for me to observe Maundy Thursday and Good Friday with you this year! What a joyful Easter Sunday service we had as we celebrated the resurrection of our Lord! I am so grateful to the staff and to all the volunteers and worship leaders who made those services so memorable.

As you know, the Sunday after Easter is often a “low Sunday,” both in attendance and in spirit. However, this year, we intend to inject a joyful and humorous attitude into our worship service this Sunday as our young couples are planning a “Bright Sunday” worship service. According to the joyfulnoiseletter.com website,

For centuries in Eastern Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant countries, the week following Easter Sunday, including ‘Bright Sunday’ (the Sunday after Easter), was observed by the faithful as ‘days of joy and laughter’ with parties and picnics to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection . . . . The custom was rooted in the musings of early church theologians (like Augustine, Gregory of Nyssa, and John Chrysostom) that God played a practical joke on the devil by raising Jesus from the dead.”

This Sunday, we will continue the Easter story as we celebrate the greatest practical joke of all time: God overturning death! So come wearing bright and colorful clothes, and prepare to have your spirits lifted in the joy of the risen Lord!

~Easter blessings, Michael

“Spring into Motion!”

It’s Spring!  And on Wednesday nights from April 30 through May 28, we will “Spring into Motion.”  After dinner, at 6:15 p.m., we will leave the dinner table and go to the activity of our choice.

Choose a different activity each week, spend a couple of weeks at a couple of activities, or spend all five weeks at the same activity.

When you arrive for dinner, sign up for the activity of your choice for that night.

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Holy Week & Easter Services

maundy_smMaundy Thursday Service

Thursday, April 17, 7:00 p.m.

You are invited to a Maundy Thursday Service here at UBC, this Thursday, 7:00 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall.

Maundy Thursday commemorates the last supper that Jesus ate with his disciples, and the commandment that he gave to them to “love one another.”

We will have a symbolic foot washing service as well as a communion service.

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good-friday-smGood Friday Service

Friday, April 18, noon

We will hold a Good Friday Service on Friday, April 18, at 12 noon.  This service remembers the death of Jesus on the cross for the forgiveness of our sin and the redemption of the world.

Afterwards, there will be a soup and bread lunch served in our Fellowship Hall.

 

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Easter SundayEaster Sunday Service

Sunday, April 20, 11:00 a.m.

You are invited to attend our Easter Sunday Service, April 20!

In addition to celebrate our risen Lord, we will also celebrate the baptism of three new disciples of Jesus.

Parking Easter Sunday

Please park in the 14th Street Parking Garage or at Stacey Hall if you are able to walk those distances. Remember that the front parking lot at the church is reserved for visitors, those with walking difficulties and parents with small children.

 

Holy Week Journey

Holy Week is upon us.  For Christians throughout the centuries, Holy Week, the week spanning Jesus’ final entry into Jerusalem through His Last Supper, betrayal, trial and crucifixion, and ending with Christ’s resurrection the following Sunday, is the most sacred time of the Christian calendar.  Time almost slows down as some Christian traditions call for worship gatherings every day of the week in order to provide followers an opportunity to worship and remember Jesus during the final week of His life.

While Baptist churches have not traditionally observed Holy Week services, many are now recognizing the value of these additional services, especially on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.  These services allow congregations to experience the sacrifice and the suffering that our Lord took upon Himself for the forgiveness of our sin and the restoring of our relationship with our heavenly Father.  Without these extra worship gatherings, Christians often go from one jubilant service on Palm Sunday straight to another celebratory service on Easter Sunday, while skipping right over Jesus’ suffering and crucifixion in between.

In our culture today, we want life to be easy, convenient, happy and without sacrifice.  But that is not the narrow way of Christian discipleship.  That’s why I hope that you will allow yourselves to be inconvenienced this week by attending as many of the Holy Week services as possible, either here at UBC, or at some other church.  May Holy Week be a reminder to us that our salvation, while a free and gracious gift from God, was obtained for us with great sacrifice at a very high cost.

Therefore, I invite you to follow Jesus into Holy Week.  You experienced the joy of the Palms last Sunday.  Now experience the sorrow of the Passion.  Reflect in the silence at the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday.  Grieve over Jesus’ sacrifice and death on Good Friday.  Then you will be prepared to celebrate the amazing miracle of Easter Sunday.  On that day, we’ll celebrate the resurrection of Jesus and the baptisms of Will Wagoner, Fanli Yang, and Yang Zhao.  See you on the way!

~ Journeying on, Michael

 

Staff Anniversaries

April is a special month at UBC as we acknowledge as a church family the wonderful contributions of these two dedicated staff members:

Sue Walton (30 years)
Barbara Taylor Moore (27 years)

We thank Barbara and Sue for their many years of loyal and cheerful service. We are truly grateful for the special talents and loving spirit that each brings to the life and work of University Baptist Church!

The Youth’s March Mission Madness Trip

Every spring the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Virginia sponsors about 4 different mission weekends at locations all over the state. This year, our youth attended the one located in Blacksburg, VA.

FRIDAY:

When we arrived on Friday evening we were greeted with the castle-like campus of Virginia Tech, which prompted many UVA inspired comments and discussions from the youth about what we would all be wearing tomorrow (i.e. a Cavalier shirt or something else that was specifically blue and orange instead of maroon and orange)! We made our way up the street to Blacksburg Baptist Church which sits directly across from the Tech campus in a very much the same way our own church sits in relation to the UVA campus.  We stepped out of our cars and stretched before being welcomed and herded down into their fellowship hall to an outstanding dinner of burgers and hotdogs. Everyone from our group was really just excited to see that we wouldn’t be eating pizza and we quickly devoured our meals. The evening then moved into a time of worship and we gathered in the sanctuary for prayer and song. We were also excited to meet our work team members and get into our work groups for the next day.

SATURDAY:

Once our rooms at the Super 8 motel were sorted out, we all pretty much went to sleep, but since the first night in a hotel is always the roughest there were a few that ventured out early in the morning to track down a Starbucks. We traveled back to Blacksburg Baptist and heard a very moving story from Mark Snipes that provided some perspective for the day. One of the big take-aways from his sermon was that “it’s not about reaching down to help someone up to where you are, but recognizing that we are all equal in the eyes of God and it’s about meeting people where they are to be Christ to them when and where they need it.”

Our Youth were split up into 6 different groups and sent out to worksites all around the great Blacksburg and Christiansburg area. For most of the day our youth worked on the following projects:

  • Wheelchair Ramp/Platform – An elderly woman had been “trapped” in her home for about 2 years and had no means to get outside her house without some serious assistance. She had paid someone else to build her a ramp about a year ago and while they delivered some materials to her yard, they never even started on the construction. Working alongside a “Hearts & Hammers” program we built a ramp from her side door down into her yard. Another group worked to dig out a reasonably sized hole so that a concrete pad could be poured that would allow another woman to easily access transportation at her home. They also did a large amount of cleaning and yard work.
  • Retreat Center / Households – There is always much work to be done when any outdoor area is opened again in the spring, and our youth worked to paint and clean up a retreat center for the local community to use. There are also many people that need some assistance with painting, yard work, organizing, or general cleaning tasks around their homes and our youth were there to help them as well.
  • Pregnancy Center – We sent a group to a Pregnancy counseling center where they did a lot of cleaning and organizing. They also helped in stuffing envelopes and assisting with the mailing of information and materials that will hopefully be helpful to women who are struggling with difficult decisions.

Our Saturday concluded with a very filling pasta dinner and another worship service. Once back at the hotel we all debriefed and shared our experiences from the day and then most of us went to bed….   J

SUNDAY:

Sunday morning we rolled out to our final service at Blacksburg Baptist, worshiped with their 8:30 morning service members and made our way back home. A very successful trip for all involved!

It is only through the continuing support of the members at UBC that these types of opportunities can be offered to our youth. Not only are they growing and moving along their own spiritual path but they are also positively affecting the lives of all the people they interact with along the way. Thank you for your support of the youth ministry!

 

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CBF Easter Offering

Through the end of April, we will be collecting contributions for National Missions, with a goal of $3000.  UBC is again designating our Easter offering to the work of Paula Settle, CBF Associate in Nada, Kentucky.  This area is one of our nation’s 20 “pockets of poverty” identified by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship over a decade ago.

Paula has identified several areas of need that reflect the positive cultural shift taking place in Nada.  Three years ago Charlene Helton became the first Nada youth to attend college.  This fall there will be 5 college students from the Nada area.  All of these students are working part-time jobs, but Paula has suggested they all could use help with the cost of books, clothes and other supplies.

While our offering for this year is focused on helping the college students, we also want to give Paula the flexibility to continue to help with critical community needs.  Please give a generous gift to our CBF Easter Offering for National Missions.

For more information about Paula Settle’s work through the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, please visit this link.

 

A Note from Alba

Jubilate-webAfter a very successful Jubilate year and a wonderful Homecoming Concert last Sunday night, there are so many people to thank for all that they have done!

We thanked UBC for the support that for 41 years has kept Jubilate a viable ministry and a musical force in the Charlottesville community.  We also thanked those who have prepared us meals for this year’s experiment with a once-a-week rehearsals.  Of course, we thanked Robby Gough, who embodies the spirit of service, and Anne Keith who has been our choir “Mom” since 2005, and our wonderful accompanist Barbara Moore!

One person that I have failed to thank for 12 years now, someone who works tirelessly behind the scenes doing tasks ranging from stuffing programs to cleaning tables to cooking bacon crisps for the Jubilate Christmas fellowship and, most importantly, leading the Soprano and Alto section rehearsals — our own Pam Beasley!  She has given her time to help Jubilate sound as beautiful as they have this year and for many years.  Her support of the group and love and care for its members have made her a most special friend to all the members of Jubilate for 12 years!

Thank you, Pam, and all who love and support Jubilate!

Soli Deo Gloria!                                                                               ~ Alba

 

Lenten Reflection

During this season of Lent, I have been reading Richard Rohr’s Wondrous Encounters:  Scripture for Lent as my daily devotion.  Today’s reflection is on Daniel 3, the prayer of one of the three young men in the fiery furnace, and on Matthew 18:21–35, the parable of the “unforgiving servant.”  Rohr connects these two Bible passages by suggesting that refusing to forgive can be like time spent in a fiery furnace.  He writes, “If you do not pray to be released from your unforgiving heart, you will indeed keep burning.  Sometimes, only God can release you from such a furnace.”

Rohr then wrote this prayer:

 “God of Compassion, Mother and Father of all Mercies, do not let us shame ourselves — or the wonder of your name — by living outside of the wondrous loop of your forgiveness and mercy.”

I hazard to guess that we all have been hurt by others.  My prayer is that we will pray to be released from an unforgiving heart, so that we may show compassion, forgiveness and mercy to others in the same manner that our Lord has shown it to us.

 ~Blessings, Michael

UBC Variety Show Recap

What a wonderful time we had at our UBC Variety Show!  A big thank you goes to Larry Johnson and Laura Morris for organizing this full-filled evening.  As promised, we enjoyed “performers never seen before on the UBC stage” (Lane Lynch, Leah Miller, Pam Johnson), and other acts.  We also auctioned off delicious desserts to raise money for our summer mission trip.

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Below the break are also videos of some of the acts  . . . read on

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