Kairos Moments . . .
Reflections by Rev. Pamela Moyer
January 7, 2020
Happy New Year! I trust you had a lovely Christmas season with family and friends. Some may have had a “Blue Christmas” missing loved ones lost this year, and our prayers were and continue to be with you. This reality for our congregants led me to a new theme for 2020: “Be Sustained . . .” Last year was a busy year of transition, loss, assessments and learning. During that time, we got to know one another, experiment some and honor the legacies that make up The United Baptist Church. This year we’ll focus on what it takes to “Be Sustained.” Certainly it takes God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, Scripture (Bible Study), Worship, Prayer, Mission and Fellowship, but there are other words we will explore this year both corporately and personally: “Be Sustained through … vision, spiritual growth, grace, service, community, creativity, health/fitness, environmental stewardship, renewal, financial wellness, spiritual practices, outreach, caring, growth, church, Mission Center, inspiration, fun, art, music, poetry, etc.”
You may begin to notice little changes and this theme around the building as we promote the theme, the Church and Mission Center to welcome more visitors 7 days a week! Beside this article are some highlights of Advent/Christmas, Deck the Halls, 100 Women in Red (New Beginning Missionary Baptist Church), Cantata Sunday, Wakefield Chorale, and Sopranessence.
December 3, 2019
Can it really be December 2019 and in four short weeks we will see January 2020?! Writing this article helped me look at our past month of activities and insights, while looking forward to this season of Advent and the coming Christ-child at Christmas. Of course, we know Jesus is here already in us through the presence of the Holy Spirit and will come again, but the symbolism and preparation time to find quiet periods to reconnect with that presence (NOT presents!) in the midst of holiday madness is crucial to our spiritual growth. As transformed humans, not monarch butterflies, we are never too mature to develop and grow spiritually, and we hopefully live longer than one season.
This is a good month for personal and ecclesial (gathered body of the church) reflection on the past year. I encourage you to fill a gratitude journal before pondering next year’s calendar; it may help prioritize what’s next for you and for us. I am grateful for the freedom to vote and worship; we stood to thank our Veterans for their service. Thank you to the hospitality team for a delicious Annual Thanksgiving Luncheon with our Mission Center Community Partners. Thank you to several who collaborated to repair/fix/adjust building issues for Fire Marshall inspection compliance, in order to host two Hypothermia Prevention Weeks here in the Fellowship Hall. We are a safe space to be. I thank the team of volunteers who began “Decking the Halls” for Advent. Each week you will see new things, with photos to come.
Our Ministerial and Support Staff wishes you and yours a serene, Christ-filled Advent season of preparation filled with Hope, Peace, Joy and Love, and a memory-filled Merry Christmas with family, friends, neighbors and fellow spiritual travellers along your way. ~~ Pam, Twyla, David,Charles, Melissa, Linda and Pedro
November 5, 2019
Happy Autumn! This is my favorite time of year; yet it has been a weather/temps/sports emotional rollercoaster season! How about those Nats World Series Champions?! Our baseball team “Finished the Fight” after much effort; UBC had excellent representation watching and cheering the games and parade. We’ve seen camaraderie and high spirits over America’s pasttime, and that’s not all bad. It has been refreshing to focus on something other than our world’s violence, despair or politics.
I hope you voted in local elections today. For us, the Annual Membership Meeting and luncheon was another opportunity to voice our opinions and vote to approve United’s 2020 Budget. The process went smoothly, thanks to all the committees, staff and Linda Hasselkuss, our Financial Manager. Sally Norris again led our participation in the Annandale ACCA CWS/CROP walk this year, and received an award, Cream of the Crop and a beautiful scarf, for raising $54,040.58 since 2007. The church received its award, Cream of the Crop, as well for 2018; I led the prayer while the founders plus local representatives encouraged all participants in the fight against hunger on the 50th Anniversary (40th for Annandale)! Funds also relieve hurricane and flooding damages. I attended the Taste of Annandale festival for its 5th Anniversary, and the ACCA Pastors and Partners Luncheon, meeting other service-minded individuals from Annandale. As part of our Mission Center outreach to the community, we invited the Shepherd Center of Annandale-Springfield to have their Fall Lunch-n-Life here in October; it was very well attended by our folks and other Senior Adults in the area. Congregants will reconnect with many of our Mission Center partners for a Thanksgiving Lunch on November 24th after church at 12:30 pm. We hope you can be here to express your gratitude; please RSVP to the office.
Fall is a time for preventive maintenance; we turn our clocks back and get an extra hour to sleep. We change smoke alarm batteries, check fire extinguishers, clean filters, rake leaves, tune up equipment and turn on the heat. Our elevator and Fire Marshall inspections happen every Fall. October Sunday sermons tuned up our Spiritual selves, looking at the hope of mustard seed-sized faith (Lk 17:5-10), the gratitude of one leper (Lk 17:11-19), wrestling with God and Man (Gen 32:22-31) and having a humble vision through prayer (Lk 18:9-14). What’s next? The holidays are fast approaching, so we need to be ready, both spiritually and physically. Are you fasting before Thanksgiving and Christmas? It’s a good spiritual discipline after all the candy from last week! Will you make time to engage with us in some new way? Prayer, service, activities, worship, choir?
October 1, 2019
Is your closet as confused as mine? One day we need summer clothing and the next day a sweatshirt! It has been an unusual and dry September. We got a spot of rain here and there, but our region is parched. One of those sweltering days I ordered a mango smoothie before choir. The shop was filled with Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology Girls Cross Country Team members, laughing, eating and having cool drinks too. Their energy was infectious! I went over to Greenspring Gardens for a bit to walk and think.
What a fortunate location we have here at The United Baptist Church in Annandale! Even though the closest neighborhoods have changed over the years, we are right between Alexandria, Fairfax and Falls Church. We have several distinctive and delicious restaurants close by, a horticultural center and gallery, florists, a regional public library, coffee and tea shops, thrift stores, several grocery options, schools, assisted living centers, convenient services (dental, medical, personal grooming, banking), a golf course and more! There are little pockets of neighborhoods I am just now discovering.
These residents and consumers need God too in their lives. Yes, there is also religious diversity in Annandale and Fairfax County, so our church may not be a good fit for all as it was in the Sixties; however, our Mission Center could be a good fit for all now. We have a church and space to share with small businesses, entrepreneurs, non-profits and community groups. Who do you know that we need to know? Who might you refer to us?
On Sundays in September, Scripture readings took us on a stewardship journey of “intentionality” and “cleaning our spiritual mirrors.” Jesus challenged the disciples (and I, you) to invite the unlovable or the “poor and maimed” to our table with God’s grace. We went to the potter’s house, remembering that a marred and imperfect pot could be used anyway or remolded to a more beautiful vessel (our building, perhaps?). Although Israel made some bad choices, God gave them yet another chance. Even though Paul was the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus showed him grace and mercy by cleansing his soul, mind and heart. His mirror was cleaned so he shared his story with others. The lost sheep parable reminded us that Jesus’ love is so great that he sacrificed the many to find and save the one lost (you?). Although the obsessive love of money may create greed and complexity, earned wealth can be used for Kingdom work and service. Psalm 91 reminds us that God protects and provides for our basic needs, because he created and loves us. We need your help: what time, talents or resources might you share with us as we grow? We are still connected through relationships and this newsletter. Our legacy remains strong; what’s next? Let’s talk.