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 

January 5, 2021

Happy New Year! I hope you had a safe holiday filled with hope, peace, joy and love. For some, it was not a good Christmas or a happy New Year. For those of you feeling the post-holiday blues or true grief, remember that we are praying for your comfort and assurance; we have new directories and are only a phone call away! During 2020, many felt despair, overwhelmed, or lonely. We cannot minimize the effects that COVID-19 has had on our church family, the country, and the world.

Yet, we also observed silver linings. We learned the humility of not being in control (Isaiah 55:8). We have learned to heal from the loss of loved ones; to become creative with the loss of income and opportunities (Matthew 6:25-34). We lost fellowship and 5 months of no community worship together (Psalm 137:1-9). The loss of congregational singing is crucial for our safety, but it has since become more meaningful than we realized (1 Corinthians 14:15). There were gains too: creative musical opportunities; virtual concerts (like Sopranessence and Voce Chamber Singers that David Evans performed in), and virtual committee Zoom meetings to accomplish church business (see front page, both a gift and a curse!)

Families have come together to educate and entertain their children, finding innovative ways to help them grow and develop without classmates close by. Some of us have had deeper phone conversations; I have learned more of our church history and found new ways to serve one another at a distance. We’ve gained time to rest, contemplate, pray, study the Scriptures without interruption, do puzzles and home or church projects. Reflectively, name your own examples of where you saw God at work in your life in new ways.

As I shared on Christmas Eve, we have a choice to live in darkness, resentment of losses and chaos or to live in the light of Christ, reconciliation, acceptance, and peace. What wisdom have you gained these last months of isolation? The next many months will still be uncertain and unprecedented, but we are a resilient people! Let’s move forward the best we can, as Mary did. She answered God’s call; she obeyed with no hesitation. She overcame obstacles of shame and poverty to bear the Christ child for us!

As we welcome the New Year, what lessons will you take into 2021? What personal transformation has occurred, perhaps in your relationships, life rhythms, or a reevaluation of pursuits? What church insights have you had you could share? Has your relationship with God withered or intensified? What new things does our community need? How will this wisdom impact our decisions on Missions and Evangelism? Let us recall and live out the hope of the exiles in Babylon who would return to a destroyed Jerusalem, but later thrive in obedience to God: “He who scattered Israel will gather them and will watch over his flock like a shepherd (Jeremiah 31:10b).”

December 1, 2020

Happy post-Thanksgiving, and Merry Christmas! I do hope you had a safe holiday filled with gratitude and love! I am thankful for you as a church and extended church family for so many things, but especially your support during this unusal pandemic time. You have checked in on us, sent encouraging cards and notes, have attended services if you could and have been steadily faithful in giving. Our mission giving continues to be strong; lights and heat are still on when many churches and small businesses have had to close. You are a resilient people! We celebrated Hazel Ball’s 99th birthday on Nov. 22nd! This year among us, there have been other milestone birthdays demonstrating your strength and resilience! By your human nature, your life experience and legacies, you are strong and resilient! But also, I have witnessed and firmly believe that your sustenance comes from your faith and connection to God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit’s leading. Well done.

After a recent boiler repair, an aging, rusty pipe burst, We studied Acts of the Apostles this month: the conversion of Cornelius’ household and friends; Peter’s prayer support and escape from prison; Paul’s and Barnabus’s rejection by the Jews and acceptance by the Gentiles during the first missionary journey; and now in Advent, the hope of Jesus Christ born and coming again.

In our isolation, we have taken refuge in the Lord for the safety of ourselves, family and friends, as we are told in Hebrew prophecies. The big “aha” for me this month was that yes, “refuge” is being under the yoke of Jesus Christ; but not for a rest – rather, for a joining together to do the work, like oxen in a field. We are bound to Christ, who calls us to work, to action! Our work may be prayer, like the prayer that freed Peter! Our work may be in the health field, in schools, or in public service. Our evangelism work is just being kind to people you encounter daily.

When we seek refuge in the Lord, get ready! Prepare for internal and external change, action, and response. I too am experiencing change as I work with my V3 BGAV Re-Missioning Cohort of a few fellow pastors sharing wisdom and support as we envision the uncertain future. There is challenge yet great satisfaction in that type of change, which can lead to spiritual growth at any age and creativity of all types that only God can sustain.

Our Ministerial and Support Staff and all support teams wish you and yours a hopeful, kind and generous Advent season of preparation and spiritual attentiveness! We also extend a safe and healthy “Merry Christmas” with your “Quaran-team,” whoever that is for you. ~ Pam, David, Charles, Melissa, Margarita, Linda and Pedro

November 3, 2020

Wishing you a Happy Winter a month early! We had a cold snap and set our clocks back an hour, so it’s dark by 5 pm! This happens every year but we are still surprised by the change. Some jokes going around say who wants an extra hour of 2020?! Yes, it has been a challenging year, but you all have made the best of things by being creative, reading books, doing puzzles and taking care of one another. For that we are truly grateful. Erma, Libby, Martha and Dot have been baking, cooking, canning and making jelly! Lee Ann and others have been knitting or crotcheting. Mae, Ben and Martha have been reading, while Aubrey and Charlie have installed many appliances. Melissa and Jeff are packing up for a move, while Melisa has been running marathons. Elmer is healing well and exercising toward recovery. So many more names but I don’t have room! Share your pandemic stories to uplift others.

After a recent boiler repair, an aging, rusty pipe burst, and requires some major work for us to get heat. Just like a car or house, when you fix one thing, another pops up; but we are coping and finding creative and appropriate solutions. God cares for us. We had a successful Annual Membership Meeting and voted to accept the Virginia Department of Transportation’s offer for Traffic Signal Improvements at Chatelain and Columbia Pike. This means a small corner of our property will be used for equipment to make it more accessible to pedestrians using scooters or wheelchairs. We will be compensated well. We also decided to sell one of our 2004 buses, since it is aging and has not been used for programming for a couple of years. Due to ongoing uncertainty/financial challenges related to the COVID 19 pandemic, those present approved continuing the 2020 budget for 2021, and that the 2020 Church Officers, Support Teams and Committee members continue in their same positions for 2021. For minutes of the meeting or other business, please call the office.

Regathering is continuing to go well with about 14 each Sunday, masked and socially distant. We are continuing to pray at noon wherever you are, so please join us! Our nation, state, communities and church need Christ’s peace and healing. Sermons are available if you do not attend. We are continuing with Acts until Advent: Stephen’s execution, Saul’s conversion, Philip’s evangelism and Peter’s testimony at Cornelius’ house have been our topics. There is always something new to learn from Scripture, so I hope your personal spiritual practices are continuing to sustain you as they are me. I am in a peer learning group (of pastors) that is helping me to balance life and work rhythms. You may hear more of that as I learn to apply new tools. I thank you for your encouragement, prayer and affirming love! 

October 6, 2020

Happy Fall! Each month I am so surprised that it is the next one. That sounds absurd, since I keep a calendar, but during these seven months of pandemic, where things are so different for us individually and as a church, the cancellation culture has taken hold. We used the term “suspended” in the early days, but based on the number of cases, flu season and winter indoor life approaching, our leadership (as in most churches) has had to “cancel” previously loved events and activities. Although 14+/- have been gathering on Sundays, our building is still closed to the public and groups. This was our first communal loss in September, when we are usually “gearing up” and planning for the holidays.

Our second, third and fourth community losses were what Debbie Caffrey called in her prayer “Three Sisters of Faith:” Odette Mueller, Hester DePue and Evelyn Evans within a week and a half. We honored Hester and Evelyn with abbreviated COVID-compliant services, and their families were appreciative. I am particularly grateful for you who could attend and represent our whole church family. Odette’s celebration of her life will be in the future (no photo available yet), as her family is organizing a safe musical, family and friends tribute. September brought another loss for our leader, Debbie Caffrey, whose brother Richard Klotz lost his battle with cancer. Details are on the prayer page. Our nation has lost key leaders (John Lewis, CT Vivian and Ruth Bader Ginsberg), yet the personal and isolated deaths to COVID-19 are most painful: 210,195 as of this morning.

Despite the stressors of homeschooling, virtual teaching, working from home with pets and people “helping,” and defensive, masked grocery shopping trips, we have the joys of the season and our faith to fortify us. For you it might be digging in the dirt, clearing flower beds; adding seasonal plants; apple picking; grilling outside; serving families during times of grief; safe day trips for a change of scenery; excitement when that Amazon, grocery or restaurant delivery comes; the beginning of cool crisp air; the smell of chili cooking; or finally, some football! Please know that we are in this together, praying for one another, our country and our world. Find your silver linings each day; it helps! Our worship focuses on the early church(es), Peter and Paul’s ministries from Acts of the Apostles: the disciples after Jesus’ Ascension, the windstorm of fire at Pentecost, the right hand of God, sharing the work and this week we will be “Standing on Holy Ground” (Moses & Stephen). 

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.