The United Baptist Church
Hours: In person, only by Appointment; Phones M-F: 9 am-1 pm
7100 Columbia Pike | Annandale, VA 22003

The United Baptist Church

Ph: 703.256.5900

Kairos Moments . . . 

     Reflections by Rev. Pamela Moyer 

June 1, 2021

May was an eventful and emotional month! Mother’s Day, Pentecost Sunday and Memorial Sunday. Joy, sadness, wonder, awe, memory, grief—it is all welcome and created in us by God, isn’t it? June is here already, with some pandemic restriction relief for the fully vaccinated; however, after research and discussion, the Council (CLCEB) decided to continue with masks, distancing, and access to the building by appointment or prior agreement for a while longer. There are still some with complicated issues preventing vaccination, so to be safe for all our members, we will maintain the status quo until further notice. Thank you for your cooperation!

On Mother’s Day we traditionally honor the mothers and all women among us; we noted the comprehensive and resilient love witnessed during the pandemic as well. We saw it lived out in heroic deeds of first responders, medical personnel, families, restaurants feeding the poor, churches, and neighbors helping each other. Travel nurses, doctors, and chaplains left their own families for a time to care for others at their own peril. Teachers gave up space in their homes to teach virtually because they loved their students! New mothers risked everything to give birth in the pandemic. Adult children made posters to show through windows of assisted living homes to let their parents know how much they loved them. Many mothers, greats and grands were lost this year due to COVID-19. Painful isolation from children, great and grandkids happened because of their protective and sacrificial love. Are we grateful for the love we saw poured out this past year? Or are we still angry or fearful of the changes required? Love’s resilience as witnessed in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is what we must honor; our heart source is God. Let us appreciate the “mothering” we received or shared and carry its value forward as we regather and reopen our society.

Then, on Sundays we began our “Dream Dreams” series of Joel and Revelation. It has been interesting to study prophecy and apocalypse together, especially at Pentecost and Memorial Day! We tried something new this year to honor all those lost since May 2019. We chimed the bell for each and gave a memory cross with the loved one’s name on it, wrapped with a scroll of poetry and Scripture: “When Great Trees Fall” by Maya Angelou has these words: “When great souls die, after a period peace blooms . . . Our senses, restored, never to be the same, whisper to us. They existed. We can be. Be and be better. For they existed.” And “They will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.” As we go back to dreams and re-imagining our church and Mission Center post-pandemic, can we say that we are grateful? And how are our spiritual habits? Are we living life like Christ did? 

May 4, 2021

We are in the season of Eastertide, the period of 50 days, spanning from Easter Sunday, from April 4th to Pentecost Sunday, May 23rd this year. April and May are also a beautiful time to be outdoors to enjoy early blooming flowers. Some of us have allergies, but we find ways to cope. For many it has been a vaccine scheduling time as well. The church had its Quarterly Membership Meeting on April 18th. If you would like a packet of information/reports, please call the office. Thank you to all who were able to participate. All that we do to steward the institution of this church is for the purpose of furthering our mission to share the Gospel, serve the community, and collaborate with the work of the Holy Spirit for the Kingdom.

Another area of congregational responsibility is discipleship. We now know that the post-pandemic church will be a bit different. We will see more hurting or skeptical individuals; the world is full of conflict that had been buried for years and is finally surfacing to receive the love of Christ for healing. It will be a challenge. One pastor cannot do this alone. It will take each of us to grow a little and commit ourselves to this exciting journey of Discipleship and Leadership Pathways.

When Joshua was about to take the land of Canaan (Joshua 1:1-9), all that God required was his obedience and courage. He could rely upon God’s presence in all he attempted to do. Isn’t that a word for us too, especially after the violence, disease, and natural disasters we have had. Substitute Annandale, Falls Church, Fairfax, Alexandria, or wherever you reside in verses 3 and 4: “3 I promise you what I promised Moses: ‘Wherever you set foot, you will be on land I have given you— 4 from the Negev wilderness in the south to the Lebanon mountains in the north, from the Euphrates River in the east to the Mediterranean Sea in the west, including all the land of the Hittites.’” In studying these passages, I was reassured that we are on land God has given us, in a building God has provided, and with people that Christ has transformed and matured to share the Gospel and serve this community!

Even Apollos was humble enough to be tutored by Priscilla and Aquilla to teach baptism by the Holy Spirit. Are we life long learners? Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 3:6: “I have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.” We Baptists are excellent prayer warriors, but are we prayer captives too? How is your spiritual practice? Are you spending time in solitude, silence, and Holy Listening? We will be starting a new distanced or Zoom class in June for the curious or the newcomer to our church. Let us know if you are intrigued. Bless you!

April 6, 2021

Hallelujah! He is Risen! Last year’s Easter celebration was done through mailers and watching online or TV services. This year we were fortunate enough to gather in the large sanctuary, masked and distanced to acknowledge our risen Lord and Savior as a congregation. Amen to that! It was good to see you! Thank you to our custodial staff, volunteer cleaners and greeters, and you for your compliance. Also I thank the members who placed flowers in memory or in honor of loved ones; they bloomed just in time for Sunday morning!

During the worship service, our staff instrumentalists, David Evans, Charles Potter, and Melissa Snavely plus Clarinetist, Jeff Snavely, treated us to several duets, a trio and ensemble (piano, organ, french horn and clarinet) of familiar Easter music and hymns! The feedback from those who were there was tremendous gratitude and appreciation of your diverse talents! Thank you all for adding a reverence and rejoicing to the day! We are truly blessed every Sunday by your commitment to share the Word through music. [We will put portions on our Facebook page at a later date.]

In preparation for Resurrection Sunday, I challenged our members to study Christ’s journey to the cross, reflecting on our pandemic year of lament and polarization. As a world, we have a lot to grieve and must receive healing for the pandemic losses; personal friends and family who died this year; ethnic, racial and other senseless shootings; more suicides than ever before; and yes, even the loss of activities and social embraces. So, if we cannot face the reality of grief, then we cannot fully experience the joy and hallelujahs of Resurrection! Faith must be personal, just as your relationship with God is personal.

Once we have done the interior and spiritual work, then we can dream big, bold dreams! Our general mission to share the Gospel and to serve the community has not changed. We do need your prayers and creativity to find new ways to be church beyond our walls. Resilience is God’s victory over the virus; Christ’s resurrection is our victory over death! Let us not forget these difficult times as we slowly regather, re-imagine and rejoice! May God Bless You! Amen!

March 2, 2021

Happy almost Spring! March 20th is only 18 days away! Hard to believe after missing 3 Sundays in a row! I am grateful we were all safe and toasty, unlike our Texas friends and those from other states. We are praying for their resilience and restoration.

Last month I asked us to imagine how God wants us to live out our mission and vision. You might be wondering what it is! It hasn’t changed recently, so it’s printed on the front cover. I would like us to review the words, thinking about its relevance in today’s world. We will have more conversations about that in the near future.

For Lent, I ask us to re-examine our motives for developing healthier spiritual practices. Can we as a church practice 2 or 3 habits of self-denial to better focus on a renewed sense of mission for the church? Loving and serving our neighbors during a pandemic means something different than before. Our Souper Bowl of Caring (until March 14) and October’s Crop Walk help to combat food insecurity; generous contributions of food, money, time, and prayer are more urgent this year, and we are grateful to the Endowment Fund Committee for approving this year’s ACCA Covid Challenge Campaign contribution of a much needed $15,000! Local news reports that Asians are being attacked in Annandale shopping areas as pandemic punishment; how can we allow that violence and do nothing? By supporting targeted small businesses with prayer and support, might we be showing them because of Jesus, we care? Repentance, fasting and benevolent practices can transform us out of sinful habits and complacency, while service and compassion done in God’s name can transform a whole community!

The Mission of the church must feed and define every decision, every program, and every committee. The institution cannot be the driving force; Christ must be! Have you let a local restaurant owner, server, hair stylist, waste collector, or postal carrier know you are praying for their financial stability, health, and success during this rough time? Write a note, give a larger tip, or say it to them out loud! If you are doing this already, that’s great! There is much to do to share the love of Christ.

Your leadership and I have been exploring ways to deepen our discipleship, recalling past successful experiences and dreaming of new opportunities to serve the community, so we’ll be ready for post-pandemic operations and outreach. Not knowing when, we are still looking forward to fellowships and Bible Study, but are also seeking community events and chances to meet others in the community. We need your help, feedback, participation, and ideas! Who do you know in your neighborhood? Who can you serve in the next quarter?

Blog postings:

Kairos (καιρός) is Greek for “opportune time,” where God may break in to our circumstances, and we then can reflect on the purpose of His in-breaking. I think of it as the Holy Spirit nudging me toward an “AHA!” moment. “Kairos Moments” will be the title of this regular article, so that observations, reflections, questions and theology can be examined for action.

These articles will be displayed for 4 weeks. If you are interested in previous articles, please contact our office. The first 3 pages of the newsletter are at the bottom of "Our Message", but our prayer list is not included due to confidentiality. Call the office if you have an update or a concern.