August 29th E-votional

At UPB, we proudly proclaim “All are welcome”!  Sometimes we really live into that motto, but sometimes we struggle.  However, it is something that we always strive for.  It is something that the children, youth, and family committee has been talking about for a while.  How can we make UPB more welcoming to both families and to our littlest disciples?

About a year ago, we began to discuss a small, but growing tend in churches, the “prayground”.  A “prayground” is an area in the sanctuary  that is designed for small children.  There, they can quietly participate in the worship service in a way that is accessible to them.  We read several different articles about churches that have experimented with having a “prayground” and what it might look like at UPB.

This fall, we are going to put a prayground in the sanctuary on a trial basis.  It will be on the right hand side as you are facing the chancel in the front two or three rows.  We hope to premier it on September 15th.

There are several reasons why we think this is worth a try.  For years, we employed a nursery attendant.  However, most weeks, they had nothing to do.  Either our children stayed in worship or did not come to church.  It didn’t make sense to continue employing a nursery attendant in case of a hypothetical family that may or may not visit and need a nursery.

There have been volumes of books, articles, and blog postings about why church membership is declining and younger generations aren’t in church.  There are, no doubt, a myriad of reasons.  One reason I think is that children don’t learn to be in worship.  For years, it was standard for children to leave to go to the nursery, Sunday School, or “children’s church.”  When they hit adolescence, they start would going to worship again.  We would expect them to automatically integrate, without any experience.  Because they weren’t involved in worship, they never learned how to worship!   By introducing a prayground to the sanctuary, we are giving them a place to participate in worship on their level.

More importantly, we must remember that we are all God’s children, old and young alike!  In Deuteronomy, the Jewish people are instructed to teach their children to love and worship God.  Children play a large role in the Jewish Seder dinner.  When Jesus was asked “who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven,” he took a child and put it among them.  He said that unless we change and become like a child, we will not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.

When children were brought before Jesus to lay hands on and pray for, the disciples turned them away, but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.”  People often say that children are important because “they are the future of the church.”  I think this goes against what Jesus says and what we believe about the church.  They may be the future, but they are the present, as well.  The church belongs equally to our youngest member as our oldest member and everyone in between!

These are just a few of the reasons why we are going to have a prayground in our sanctuary on a trial basis.  There will be a learning curve, there may be mistakes, there may be growing pains.  It might be a wild success or we might decide it isn’t for us.  If UPB values children like we say we do, it is worth a try!  Our children our worth it!  If you would like to see what some other churches have done with their praygrounds, click here.  If you have any questions, ask any member of the CYF committee.  If you have concerns, give us some time to try it and iron out any wrinkles.

Mark 10:14 “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.”

 

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August 28th News and Notes

Kick-off Sunday

We will kick-off the 2019-2020 program year on September 8th.  Make plans on joining us and invite a friend!

SEEDS

Seeds will return on September 11th.  Please consider providing a meal sometime during the fall and look for sign up sheets soon!

Cross-Gen

Cross-Gen, our intergenerational Sunday School returns September 15th.  Make plans to join us!

Buddy Program

We will be restarting our “Buddy” program soon.  If you are interested in being an adult “buddy” to a child in our church or your child would like to have a “buddy” please let Chris Deacon or Sue Kennedy know.

School Supplies

Thank you all that donated school supplies to the Bowie Food Pantry. This year we collected: 15 book bags, 16 composition notebooks, 8 packs of notebook paper, 10 pencil packs with several erasers, 6 pencil sharpeners, 9 glue bottles, 10 glue sticks, 1 Texas Instrument calculator, sticky notes, 2 pencil boxes, scissors, pens, highlighters, and  4 packs of mechanical pencils. 
The pantry was so appreciative.

Traftons’ New Address

The Traftons’ new address is 2600 Barracks Rd. Apt 382, Charlottesville Va 22901

Commemorative Plates

We recently came across some commemorative UPB plates.  They are up for grabs in the Narthex.  First come, first serve!

Sermons Online

Did you know that our sermons are posted on our website, usually a week after worship?  You can find them here.

Two Week Outlook

Wednesday, August 28th

  • Choir Rehearsal, 7:30

Sunday, September 1st

  • Worship, 10:00
  • Communion

Wednesday, September 4th

  • Choir Rehearsal, 7:30

Wednesday, September 4th

  • Choir Rehearsal, 7:30

Sunday, September 8th

  • Worship, 10:00

Wednesday, August 28th

  • SEEDS, 5:45
  • Choir Rehearsal, 7:30

 

Looking Ahead

  • September 8th, Kick-off Sunday
  • October 20th, Celebration Sunday
  • December 1st, Advent Begins
  • December 15th, Children’s Christmas Program
  • December 25th, Christmas
  • February 26th, 2020, Ash Wednesday
  • April 12th, 2020, Easter
  • July 12-18th, 2020, Mars Hill

August 22nd E-votional

I have been looking ahead.  Not a lot, just a little bit.  Last week, I did my worship planning for fall and advent.  We getting ready for back to school.  Holiday travel plans are starting to develop.  All of this has forced me to look down the road a little bit.  One thing that has struck me is the next few months are full of new beginnings!

Schools start back on September 3rd, but many teachers and administrators have already gotten back to school.  It is the perfect time for a fresh start.  New class, new teacher, new grade!  Even for people who aren’t directly involved in school, the fall has a feeling of a time for a fresh start.

December 1st is the first Sunday of Advent.  It is the start of the liturgical new year!  It is a time when we start simultaneously preparing for the birth of Christ and looking toward the time when he will come again.  What better time for a fresh start (and not just because Santa is watching!)

A month later, the calendar will turn from 2019 to 2020 as we celebrate New Years. Time to sing Auld Lang Syne and make New Years resolutions. A brand new month, a brand new calendar, and a brand new fresh start.

How wonderful to have so many chances for a fresh start in such a short amount of time!  Whether you have been waiting to rededicate yourself to reading scripture, or praying, or coming to church.  Now is your chance! If you have been putting off cleaning out the garage, closet, or junk drawer, you now have an opportunity!  If you have been wanting to rededicate yourself to fitness, household chores, or eating right, you now have a fresh start!

Aren’t fresh starts wonderful?  If you think so, as well, I have great news for you!  As followers of Christ EVERY DAY is a fresh start!  We all make mistakes.  We all sin.  We all fall short of the Glory of God. But we have a Savior who understands what it is to be human.  We have worship a God who loves us in spite of our stumbles and missteps.  Above all, God forgives us our sins, our debts, our trespasses if we but ask.  This gives us the opportunity to make every day a fresh start!  If you are not happy where you are, whatever the circumstance, God loves you and tomorrow can be a fresh start!

Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, let us argue it out, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be like snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.”

August 21st News and Notes

Kick-off Sunday

We will kick-off the 2019-2020 program year on September 8th.  Make plans on joining us and invite a friend!

Video from Rev. John Molina-Moore’s visit

On August 4th, the Executive Presbyter of the National Capitol Presbytery visited our churhc.  See what he learned about our UPB here.

SEEDS

Seeds will return on September 11th.  Please consider providing a meal sometime during the fall and look for sign up sheets soon!

Cross-Gen

Cross-Gen, our intergenerational Sunday School returns September 15th.  Make plans to join us!

Buddy Program

We will be restarting our “Buddy” program soon.  If you are interested in being an adult “buddy” to a child in our church or your child would like to have a “buddy” please let Chris Deacon or Sue Kennedy know.

Sermons Online

Did you know that our sermons are posted on our website, usually a week after worship?  You can find them here.

Two Week Outlook

Thursday, August 22nd

  • Men’s Breakfast, 8:15, Nautilus Diner, Crofton
  • Board Meeting, 7:00 PM

Sunday, August 25th

  • Worship, 10:00

Wednesday, August 28th

  • Choir Rehearsal, 7:30

Sunday, September 1st

  • Worship, 10:00

Wednesday, September 4th

  • Choir Rehearsal, 7:30

 

Looking Ahead

  • September 8th, Kick-off Sunday
  • December 1st, Advent Begins
  • December 15th, Children’s Christmas Program
  • December 25th, Christmas
  • February 26th, 2020, Ash Wednesday
  • April 12th, 2020, Easter
  • July 12-18th, 2020, Mars Hill

August 9th E-votional

I have had this week penciled in to restart the e-votionals after the summer break.  Art & Music Camp, Mission trips, classes, and vacations are all over and I am returning to a somewhat regular schedule.  I figured my first message back would be about the Holy chaos that was this summer and how God is present in the chaos.   Then last Saturday happened.  Two horrendous mass shootings within a 13 hour period.  While we were still getting news updates about the shooting in El Paso, the reports about the shooting in Dayton broke.  Since then I have struggled to find the words to say.  What can we say when mass shootings are becoming a weekly, if not daily event?

Many things have been blamed for the mass shootings: video games, lenient gun regulations, white supremacy, single parents, mental health, the list goes on and on.  Unfortunately, as with many modern concepts, we do not find these issues in the Bible.  Scripture does speak to weapons and violence, but it gives a decidedly mixed message.  The Old Testament has some extremely violent and disturbing parts such as Yael, who drives a tent peg through an enemy’s head in 2 Samuel or when Joshua causes the walls of Jericho to fall and the Israelite army invades resulting in genocide.

The New Testament tells of the coming of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.  Yet it is also not crystal clear.  Not only did Jesus turn over the tables in the temple and drive out the money changers with a whip of cords, but in Matthew 10:34, Jesus says, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword” and in Luke 22:35, he says, “but now, the one who has a purse must take it, and likewise a bag. And the one who has no sword must sell his cloak and buy one. ”  Without examining these texts closely, it seems as if Jesus is condoning violence.  Yet, he also taught that if someone strikes us we are to turn the other cheek and when Peter cut an ear off one of the guards who came to arrest Jesus, Jesus stops everything and heals the guard.

What the Bible is very clear about is idolatry.  Idolatry is putting anything above or in place of God.  The first instance is when Moses is on Mount Sinai, Aaron created a golden calf and the Israelites worshiped it.  Idolatry is mentioned at least 140 more times in the Bible from Exodus to Revelation.  I believe idolatry is partially responsible for these mass shootings.  The shooter in El Paso elevated white supremacy into an idol.  Both young men elevated violence into an idol.

Above all, we have lifted firearms into an idol.  In our society, many worship them.  Many have placed them at a sacred level.  You can hear it in the rhetoric.   “Our guns are the only thing that can protect us from a corrupt government.”  “The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”  A former NRA president even said, “sacred stuff resides in that wooden stock and blued steel.”  When we say that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” we are saying that guns can do no wrong.  In the United States, guns have become our Golden Calf.  Guns are talked about as if they are the only thing that can protect us, can offer us salvation.  Guns can are discussed as if they do no wrong.  Guns demand loyalty and even the smallest measure to regulate them is seen as a grave offense.  Worst of all, we are willing to sacrifice our neighbors, our brothers, our sisters, and even our children on the alter of the almighty gun again and again and again.  This is because we have created idols out of guns.  The solution is not to take away all the guns, but we need to start by stopping the worship of guns.

Idolatry is one of the sins we see mentioned most often in scripture, yet it is one that we as Christians tend to forget.  It is the basis of the first two of the ten commandments, we are not to have any other gods before God and we are not to create any idols.  Yet our society is full of idolatry.  So what are we to do?  First we need to examine what we have personally made into idols in our lives.  Do we worship your career, comfort, money, power, or something else?  What do we worship in our lives?  We, then, need to examine what our society idolizes.  We need to remember that Jesus, alone, is Lord.  We need to denounce anything that society raises to the level of idol.  We need to remember that idols don’t leave on their own, that they have to be torn down.  We need to speak out against the idolatry of violence, white supremacy, and gun violence, as well as anything else people try to worship.  Only then will we see the day that the prophet Isaiah spoke about when he said, “The haughtiness of people shall be humbled, and the pride of everyone shall be brought low; and the LORD alone will be exalted on that day. 18 The idols shall utterly pass away. ”

 

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” – Jesus in Matthew 5:9

“You shall have no other gods before me. 4 You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. ” – The Ten Commandments, Exodus 20:3-4

August 7th News and Notes

Mission Giving

Our August mission giving will be for STAIR (start the adventure in reading) on August 11th.  Join us to hear more about this wonderful organization!

Backpacks 

The Mission and Service Committee will be collecting school supplies and large back packs for the Bowie Pantry.  Please leave your donations in the Narthex.  They will be delivered during the week of August 18th

Kick-off Sunday

We will kick-off the 2019-2020 program year on September 8th.  Make plans on joining us!

Video from Rev. John Molina-Moore’s visit

On August 4th, the Executive Presbyter of the National Capitol Presbytery visited our churhc.  See what he learned about our UPB here.

Sermons Online

Did you know that our sermons are posted on our website, usually a week after worship?  You can find them here.

Two Week Outlook

Thursday, August 8th

  • Men’s Breakfast, 8:15, Nautilus Diner, Crofton

Sunday, July 11th

  • Worship, 10:00

Thursday, July 15th

  • Worship Team, 10 AM

Sunday, August 18th

  • Worship, 10:00

 

Looking Ahead

  • September 8th, Kick-off Sunday
  • December 1st, Advent Begins
  • December 25th, Christmas
  • February 26th, 2020, Ash Wednesday
  • April 12th, 2020, Easter
  • July 12-18th, 2020, Mars Hill