Here you will find announcements and updates about upcoming events.

A Bridge Across – January 24

I entitled my first column as your new Interim, “A Bridge Across”.  Borrowing from one of our NYC visits Karen and I had made with our daughter, Emily, I included a personal photograph of the Brooklyn Bridge.  It’s still pictured most weeks, as above.  On the surface, my photo is like countless tourists’ photographs of this iconic landmark, snapped at this very same vantage point on the Brooklyn side of the East River.

My photograph is unique, not in its visuals but in memories it brings to us from that weekend visit.  Same viewpoint, same vista, different meanings; interim transitions are like that for congregations.  What has this interim passage meant for you so far?  You likely have much in common with other members of UBC in their experience of our ‘interim bridge across.’  You’ll also have your unique take on these past nine months.

There’s a further twist of the bridge  metaphor to consider.  We’re constructing this bridge as we go (with only the vaguest notion in the beginning of where lies the other shore!).  Lots of Baptist folks have done the same work.  We’ve benefited from their gathered, sifted, and refined experience.  However, this is UBC’s bridge with our own labor invested, and our own shoreline to find.

When you’ve got your head down hard  at work, how do you know when you’re at least midway across the interim bridge or even further along?  I think it’s one of those, “I’ll know it when I see it.” sorts of things.

Listening to Dr. Bill Wilson’s several  presentations this past Sunday morning, it clicked for me:  we’re into the second half of our interim construction project.  I believe I see the other shoreline coming into view, still somewhat indeterminate in detail, but it’s taking shape.

On this Wednesday evening, January 25, at 6:00 pm, I’m hosting us in a shared time of assessing where we are.  My title for the evening clues you in on where I think we are:  “On the Backside of the Bridge.”  That’s where I think we are.

During this Wednesday evening’s program, we’ll revisit some of Bill’s bullet points from his January 15 presentations.  We’ll unpack some of what he told us, not only about ourselves, but what he described of this time and place in America for churches like UBC.  I hope you’ll make a point of adding your view from this ‘interim bridge’ we’ve been building on together.

Your Senior Minister in the Interim,

~ Gary




The Crestman to Lead in Worship – January 22

The Crestmen

11:00 AM – Sunday, January 22.

The Crestmen is a Southern Gospel Quartet from the heart of the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.
For over 40 years, The Crestmen have traveled across the nation spreading the love of Jesus Christ in song with “classic” southern gospel harmony.

Dr. Bill Wilson Speaking at UBC – Sunday, January 15

Bill Wilson
Baptist Churches in a 
Rapidly Changing Culture,

presented by Dr. Bill Wilson,
Director – Center for Healthy Churches.

9:30 – 10:30 AM in Fellowship Hall |

Guest preacher for 11:00 AM Worship Service.

Please attend this significant church-wide presentation by Dr. Bill Wilson.  Dr. Wilson, who is assisting the Senior Minister Search Committee in its work, will describe the far-reaching shifts in American culture now affecting all Baptist congregations, including University Baptist Church.  Dr. Wilson will highlight both the challenges and the creative opportunities now before us in ministry and mission.  He will also be preaching in the morning worship service.

Dr. William “Bill” Wilson founded The Center for Healthy Churches in January of 2014. This followed his service as President of the Center for Congregational Health at Wake Forest Baptist Health since 2009.  Bill brings over 33 years of local church ministry experience to CHC, having served long-term pastorates in two churches in Virginia and on a church staff in South Carolina. Bill led each of the churches he has served into a time of significant growth and expansion of ministry.  His denominational leadership has been extensive, including serving as the President of the Baptist General Association of Virginia in 1998.  He is a certified coach and facilitator and has experience as a consultant in numerous settings.






Sunday, January 15   |

9:30-10:30 am — “Baptist Churches in a Rapidly Changing Culture” – Fellowship Hall   |

11:00 am — Guest Preacher


Mission Project to Prepare for PACEM – January 14

Preparing For our PACEM Guests,

Saturday, January 14, 9:30 AM

in Fellowship Hall.

This is an inter-generational mission project hosted by our young families.  All ages can participate, even the smallest helping hands!

  • Make Welcome Cards
  • Bake Cookies
  • Assemble Goody Bags

 Sign up HERE to bring items for bags .


A Bridge Across – December 21

A Bridge AcrossA Bridge Across-2i

“Of all the arts, singing is the most companionable.”  Krista Tippet began a  recent broadcast of her weekly radio  interview series, “On Being,” with this quote from choral composer and arranger,   Alice Parks.  Mrs. Parks was Tippet’s delightful interviewee on Sunday morning, December 11, and I encourage you to listen to their conversation.1

Song and faith are inseparable in our worship experience, especially in Advent season.  On Sunday our Sanctuary Choir sang beautifully of our companionship in God’s love through the gift of Jesus.  How can faith keep to the prosaic when these glorious songs are at hand among us?  The hymn, “My Life Flows On In Endless Song,” expresses this sentiment through its better known refrain, “How can I keep from singing?” 2

Faith and art, to my way of thinking,  emanate from the same region of the  human psyche that most purely reflects the Creator.  God intends that we be as human prisms, refracting into visible forms the abundant spiritual energy that constantly passes through us, an energy going too much unseen, unheard, and unfelt save by way of artists.

Media of art are like the assorted color frequencies which make up white light, with each artist manifesting her or his own slice of the Divine spectrum.  Artists work out their perceptions of God’s   creative presence through venues of the five senses so we patrons may glimpse something of what they’ve seen.

In Alice Park’s experience and understanding, we all share at least a foundational gift of artistry through singing.  Mrs. Parks asserts that song is inherent in our infancy long before we learn to articulate our inborn music.  This realization struck home with her as a new mother, “…watching those tiny babies develop, it just gave me this absolute conviction that babies — that’s the language of babies. That’s what they’re born knowing.  From their first utterance, it’s all singing.  From their first breaths, infants’ vocalizations are unformed singing, and it takes a long time to learn the language, learn the words, and how to communicate from their brain.”

Faith is also a foundational gift of artistry for all.  Faith is both a method and a   medium for recognizing God.  Faith is a gift to express the unseen Life that enables all life.  Faith is our art by which we express God through the same five senses upon which every artist relies.

Whether we realize faith as a child, or we reach full adulthood before faith takes its first breath in us, we, like spiritual infants, sing a new song in unformed tone and inarticulate sound, discovering and learning as we grow to articulate our faith’s experience of the Divine.  Faith, like singing, is a most companionable art.

Your Senior Minister in the Interim,

~ Gary



2 here’s a traditional rendering of the hymn:


Church Office will be closed.

The Church Office will be closed
for the holidays on

holly-bunchFriday, December 23holly-bunch


Monday, December 26!

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