Auction Fundraiser for Youth Mission Trip
Wednesday, February 22
LOTS OF GREAT STUFF! LOTS OF FUN!
Donna Hopkins Britt was raised in Virginia Baptist churches, and is a graduate of James Madison University and Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond. She was ordained as Associate Pastor at Calvary Ba
Schemes and conspiracies are wonderful fodder for entertainment, but they wreak havoc in congregations. Even the whiff of such deviousness begins cutting into the delicately woven patterns of trust that make church possible.
While serving as an Associate Pastor in my first posting out of seminary, a couple began asserting that I was orchestrating a finely crafted plan to usurp their lay ministry in our church. I was incredulous when that word finally made its way to me! To begin with, I was not nearly so clever as they seemed to think I was; it was a weird kind of compliment, I suppose, to be thought of as such a mastermind.
Through open committee discussions in which this couple had participated over a period of months, lay leaders had agreed to modify how things got done in the committee’s ministry. These committee changes happened despite the couple’s misgivings. I must have been manipulating people, they concluded. Nope. Didn’t really happen that way; no secret conversations were held outside of the committee’s regular meetings.
In a later pastorate, though, I really did encounter a case of congregational skullduggery. The congregation had voted to remain in its old, downtown location and to modestly renovate the building. Two established leaders strongly opposed the decision, so they secretly sought out a buyer for our building. After nailing down an offer, they would quietly lobby other church leaders to sign-on to their plan before going public in a church business meeting. Now, that, my friends, is scheming!
The potential buyer soon realized he was about to be sucked into a church brouhaha of which he wanted no part. He alerted me to what the two men were up to, and I convinced them to quit their attempts to circumvent the congregation’s decision.
Interim ministry always encounters genuine misgivings among members for their church’s welfare. We travel together over uncertain waters…how could we not be perplexed and anxious? The Israelites were the only people for whom God parted the waters so the folks could walk the distance on dry ground. For the rest of us, it’s the old metaphor again: We’re building a bridge across the waters from one shore to the other.
Your elected leaders—your Deacons, your Church Council, your Senior Minister Search Committee, your Leadership Transition Team—and your ministry staff are offering their best, above-board efforts for UBC. They have no other agenda in their minds and hearts than to assist UBC to be the Gospel-people whom the Lord calls us to be, now and in the years ahead.
Please don’t let misgivings steep and stew into mistrust. Please don’t disparage motives in anyone as did that couple whom I described earlier, and please don’t accept that someone is trying “to take your church out from under you” the way those two men actually tried to do.
Speak with your elected leaders and with us, your church staff. We’ll do our best to address your questions or concerns. Honestly!
Your Senior Minister in the Interim,
on the third Sunday of each month this spring.
Within the next two weeks, the Senior Minister Search Committee will have culled through its present search efforts to develop a great group of candidates.
The Committee will conduct in-depth reviews of these ministers’ resumes: their pastoral experience, education and training, and references. This will be a thorough review, conducted in as timely a manner as possible.
The committee asks for your continuing prayers for its work. As always, please contact any Committee member to express your thoughts, desires, concerns, or questions. Their contact information is listed in the 2016 Church Directory.
For the two weeks of January 28 through February 10, UBC will open Fellowship Hall from 6:00 pm until 7:00 am each night for about 40 men to have dinner, take showers, socialize, and spend the night. This ministry doesn’t happen without the generous support of YOU!
— Laura, Jennifer, and Katherine
We Are Still Collecting:
→ Adult men’s athletic socks
→ Hand warmers
→ $5 McDonald’s Gift Cards
→ Backpacks — new or gently used
→ Duffle bags
→ Toothbrushes, Toothpaste
→ Disposable razors, Shaving cream
→ Puzzle Books, Coloring books
This month the WMU is collecting
non-perishable food items and cash donations for the
Jefferson Area branch of the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank.
⇒ Collection boxes are located in the First Floor Lobby
and Fellowship Hall.
The Youth will be collecting money for
Souper Bowl of Caring on Super Bowl Sunday, February 5.
Conversations can reconnect one with very old memories in the oddest ways. Dr. Bill Wilson’s presentation to us on Sunday morning, January 15, prompted me to vividly recall an image from my childhood in Martinsville. I was eleven, and it was a hot summer.
Our house did not have central air, but we did have a massive attic fan, a gray-steel monster mounted in the hallway ceiling just outside our second-floor bedrooms. We slept with our doors opened onto the hallway during the summer because of The Fan. Each night at bedtime, Dad would turn it on. The motor would start the big fan-blades revolving with a swoosh-swoosh-swoosh until it got up to speed and settled into a steady, deep, hypnotic hum. An excellent sound, by the way, for summer sleeping. There was just one problem with The Fan, though.
Our window screens had holes aplenty for any mosquito looking to get at us as we slept. Our attic fan, however, with its wind-tunnel effect throughout the house, seemed to suck in mosquitoes just passing by down the street! Flies and gnats that had settled down for the night found themselves unwillingly air born, snatched up by the jet stream The Fan created. Spiders, thank goodness, stayed securely anchored in their webs.
But—and here’s the point—we didn’t realize the sheer volume of bugs flowing through our rooms while we slept. Not until Dad brought home a new product from the fine folks of Shell Oil: the No-Pest Strip. The No-Pest Strip was a thick yellow slab of sure death for any insect that flew into its airspace, whether by choice or dragooned by The Fan.
This is my memory: awakening the next morning, standing up in my bed, peering into the gold-foil cardboard box that held the Pest Strip overhead, and seeing its yellow slab of sure death now absolutely slathered in insect carnage. It was a fascinating horror to ponder the mob of bugs which had flown through my room as I lay peacefully sleeping through the night.
Bill’s statistics about these daunting times for churches brought that memory to my mind’s eye. We all knew something was up causing this downturn in churches. We just had no idea there was so much flying around our heads, until Bill gathered all that data together in one place for us to behold. Perhaps you felt something like the shock I witnessed that early summer morning long ago…so, THIS is what’s been going on around us and most other churches in America? THIS is what we’re facing each Sunday as we sit in our sanctuaries?
Central air was a luxury few families afforded for themselves in my boyhood town of Martinsville. We settled for fixing window screens and cleaning out bug denizens from the window sills. But, the best solution? The best solution was to get a central air system installed, unimaginable for many of us back then but so essential and assumed by most of us today.
Churches in America, and I suppose UBC on the Corner too, are past what a little fixing and tidying up can remedy. We need a new “system” to replace whatever is the church ministry version of my boyhood house attic fan; something different to offer effective Christian witness and to build communities of faith into the upcoming decades of the 2020’s and 2030’s.
At the cornerstone laying for University Baptist Church in 1928, Dr. J.W. Cammack said “reckless faith” had made UBC possible. The time seems to have arrived again for reckless faith.
Your Senior Minister in the Interim,