Welcome, Ruben Swint!

ruben_swintCongregational Coach Ruben Swint will be visiting UBC, beginning on June 1. During Ruben’s time with us, he will meet with various groups in the church to learn more about us — our strengths and opportunities, as well as our challenges and weaknesses. It will be a time of envisioning God’s future for University Baptist.

Below is a schedule of meetings. We invite you to attend the one scheduled for your age group. But if you’re not available at that time, feel free to join another group!

SUNDAY, June 1

8:30 – 9:30 am………Ruben meets with Church Council & Deacons (Choir Suite)

9:45 – 10:40 am……..Ruben meets with Young Couples & Young Families

11:00 am……………..Ruben joins us in morning Worship

12:15 – 2:00 pm……..Ruben meets with Finance & Stewardship Committees (Fellowship Hall — Light lunch served)

6:00 – 8:00 pm………Ruben meets with Median Adults (Fellowship Hall)

MONDAY, June 2

11 am – 1 pm…………Ruben meets with Senior Adults (Light lunch served)

3:00 – 4:00 pm……….Ruben meets with Church Staff

7:00 – 8:30 pm……….ALL church members and regular attenders are invited to meet Ruben (Fellowship Hall — Light refreshments are served)

Please attend one of these meetings and make your voice heard!

~Blessings, Michael


Building God’s People

In my sermon last Sunday, I talked about how in the past several years UBC has embarked on a series of capital campaigns called “Building God’s House” and “Caring for God’s House.” These campaigns renovated our building, which is now a wonderful asset for ministries. Our building now hosts a variety of groups, including university voice professors and students, a Hispanic Bible study, a Christian counseling practice, and the Central Virginia Baptist Association steering committee.

As wonderful an asset as our building is, I believe that the greatest asset God has given to UBC is her people — members and regular attenders who participate in the life, ministry and worship here at UBC. Now that our physical building is in good shape, I believe that it is time to “Build God’s People,” to bless, nurture and grow the people of University Baptist.

Therefore, in a couple of weeks, Ruben Swint, a congregational coach, will be visiting us to help us with this journey. He will spend time with various groups in the congregation to help us assess where we are, to clarify our mission, to strengthen our faith, to build our capacity for generosity in reaching out to the university community and beyond, to give birth to new groups, and to launch us on a journey of transformation. A schedule of these meetings will be posted in next week’s Word. In the meantime, pray that God will prepare us for this exciting journey ahead!

~Blessings, Michael

Ceiling Tiles

Tonight we started a new tradition. I gave each youth permission to take one of the ceiling tiles in the youth room and personalize it with their names and a bible verse. The bible verse could be one that applies to their lives right now, one that they hope will apply in the future, or it could be a “birth verse.” A birth verse is kind of a kitschy idea but the premise involves aligning your birthday with a chapter and verse from a book in the bible. For example, my birthday is September 1st, so I was looking at the first verse of a ninth chapter (9:1). I settled on Romans 9:1 – I speak the truth in Christ – I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit. I really identified with this one as it touches on my role as the Youth Coordinator and how I approach my relationships with all of the kids. It’s also a lot better than Nehemiah 9:1 which reads- On the twenty-fourth day of the same month, the Israelites gathered together, fasting and wearing sackcloth and putting dust on their heads.

Now, I recognize that there may be a few critics of the youth personalizing anything in the church, but I assure you this was not an unseemly undertaking. You see, over the last year and a half I have often heard Michael preach or talk about the history of our church. I have repeatedly heard the story of how the bank moved in and our congregation had to ban together to raise the money to purchase the church. I heard about the decision to stay and be UNIVERSITY Baptist Church and how the congregation felt there was a purpose and calling to be located so close to the campus (grounds). Today, I heard Michael preach on the importance of the cornerstone and it reminded me of the connection that so many in our congregation have to this building. They are invested in it (literally). They have a history here. Their children were born into this church community and have been nurtured to adulthood only to then have their own children now become a part of the congregation. The walls and pillars are richly coated with the memories of the saints that have gone before us and many in the church experience the same comfort and solace that we would expect to find in our own homes.

So, what does this have to do with the youth taking the ceiling apart….? Simply this: The youth are making their own memories. The way I see it is – there’s no great crisis or concern that will underlie or define their church experience (hopefully). They will grow up, go to college, and possibly move away to accomplish great and wonderful things. We hope that they will remember their time at UBC with fondness but in reality they may not have the same connection to this church that some our members have had in the past, or still have today! The world is getting smaller and we can no longer expect our youth to always come back and pick out a permanent pew for the rest of their lives. In fact, if we look at our current membership – we can already identify this gap forming.

By allowing our youth to personalize the ceiling tiles, we are helping them become invested in this building. They get to say, “Look. That’s me.” When they set off into the world, there will always be a piece of them that will remain here. There will always be a marker of their time, and a tangible connection to this part of their lives that will forever connect them to this place, and by extension, to the people that are here. I want the Emily Morrises, John Browns, Audrey Millers, and Thea Cheuks to all bring their own children back to that 3rd floor and show them their tiles. I want them to be able to tell their children about what they did, and who they knew, and how God was with them through all of it! I want people to visit our church and see that we have a living history – one that’s not only retold around the tables on a Wednesday night, but one that is actively happening. I want new families to come in and see that ceiling, and know that their child will get a tile, that their child will make memories here, that their child will know a faith community, and their child will forever be connected to the family and house of God!

This is their cornerstone. This is a way for them to identify and recognize that they are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and God’s special possession.

I would like to encourage everyone to visit the 3rd floor when we’re done. If you’ve ever been a member of the UBC youth, then there’s a tile for you. Even if you weren’t in the youth group – if you have found family here at UBC, or if you want to create a memory – then there’s a tile for you too. Come see what God is doing and come see how his word is speaking to the hearts and minds of our youth.

In Christ,


Parking this Sunday (5/18)

Parking SignPlease be forewarned!

Due to UVA’s graduation, the 14th St. Garage will charge for parking this Sunday.

Free parking is still available in the Stacey Hall lot.


God’s Love on Display

“God’s love on display” That’s what came to mind as I saw over seventy-five members and friends of UBC show up this past Saturday for Operation Inasmuch.

I spent most of the morning going to various work sites and taking a few pictures. I saw folks joyfully fixing drainage problems, sawing and hauling branches, cataloging library books at the Venable School, weeding and planting a garden, painting rooms and cleaning out a front yard.

On a couple of sites, I saw two Charlottesville officers from the Crime Prevention Unit giving out pens to our volunteers as a way to say thanks.

One of the leaders of the Bridge Ministry told me just how grateful she was for the same members of UBC who came back year after year to work on their garden.

On one site, OIAM members worked from 7 am to 8 pm, through the rain storms and sunshine to build and install a wheelchair ramp for a retired Albemarle County maintenance worker suffering from kidney failure and colon cancer.

I cannot add more to what a member of that team wrote later: “Thank each of you for a long hard day of work done in Christian love. Clearly a team effort that I was proud to be a part of. University Baptist Church spread the love of Christ on Saturday.” Indeed, God’s love was on display!

~ With a thankful heart, Michael

PS – Pictures of our OIAM day can be found here.

2014 OIAM Pictures

On May 10, over seventy-five members and friends of UBC participated in “Operation Inasmuch” or “OIAM,” a day of community service.  Many thanks to our OIAM Steering Committee consisting of John Buchanan (Chair), Shirley Clark, Joseph Johnson, Scott Miller, Peter Ohlms and Bob Badgett for organizing this year’s event.  Many thanks to all our volunteers who spread the love of God to our community!

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VBS 2014

VBS 2014 - Weird Animals

Vacation Bible School and (NEW!) Afternoon Camp!!

June 16-20, 2014

Vacation Bible School…………………..8:30 a.m. to 12 noon

Optional Afternoon Camp (NEW!) …..12 noon to 5:00 p.m.

A FREE program for children who have completed grades K-5

8:30 am to 12:00 noon

Morning Program: A Vacation Bible School program will run from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. each day. The program will consist of songs and skits in a group setting, as well as rotating stations of games, crafts, snack, Bible stories, science experiments and more.

12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m.
(Optional Afternoon Camp — Limited number of spaces)

Lunch: Each day a kid-friendly lunch will be provided, followed by quiet time (reading, quiet games, short video) and an afternoon outing! Please let us know on the registration form if your child has any allergies or other dietary needs.

Optional Afternoon Camp: Each day we will take the church bus to a different location! Many afternoons we will be swimming at a private pool. We will also spend one afternoon hiking at the Monticello trail, and one afternoon playing games at the church and on the lawn at UVA. A certified lifeguard will be present during all pool visits, and adults trained in child first aid and CPR will accompany the children on all afternoon trips. In the case of inclement weather, we will have games and activities at the church.

Packing List for Camp:

**Please make sure every item your child brings to Bible School and camp are labeled with his/her name.

  • Every day, please send a water bottle, hat and sunscreen in a backpack, and make sure your child is wearing sneakers or other close-toed shoes for walking/running.
  • On days we will be swimming, please send a bathing suit, towel, pool shoes, water bottle and sunscreen in a backpack.
  • Please do not send snacks (morning and afternoon snack are provided), electronics or toys.

A detailed schedule of afternoon activities will be provided the week before Bible School, based on the projected weather forecast!

You can register for our VBS and/or our afternoon camp by using the form below.

All participants must also turn into the church office a signed VBS Consent Form.

QUESTIONS? Please contact us!

University Baptist Church
1223 West Main St.,
Charlottesville, VA 22903
(434) 293-5106

Spring into Motion!

SiMAs many of you know, this Wednesday night, we will begin a series of mission activities called “Spring Into Motion.” Each week, participants will choose from a variety of activities and service projects. You can stick with one activity for multiple weeks, or you can sample a different option each week. My hope is that this time of service will also be a time of growth and fellowship.  Click here for a list of activities and to sign up!

In addition, there are several other ways that we can “spring into motion.”

The first is a practical appeal. The parking lots closest to the church have been quite full lately, which has created problems for our visitors, our members with physical limitations, and our families with small children. If you are able to walk a block or so, please “spring into motion” and park at places such as the 14th Street Garage or Stacy Hall.

Another way to “spring into motion” is to host “A Quiet Place to Study” starting this Thursday for UVA students studying for finals in our Fellowship Hall. Sign up by calling the office.

Yet another way we can “spring into motion” is to participate in Operation Inasmuch on May 10. Our sign-up lunch this past Sunday had a good crowd, and I encourage you to invite friends or neighbors to work alongside us throughout the community on Saturday, May 10, starting at 8:00 a.m.

Finally, for those who support the community work of IMPACT, you might “spring into motion” by attending the Nehemiah Action at JPJ on Monday, May 5 at 6:30 p.m.

Let’s spring into motion together!

~Blessings, Michael

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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