top of page

Kairos Moments . . .

Reflections by Rev. Pamela Moyer 

July 7, 2024

Happy Independence Day! There is a lot on my mind about resistance, equality, justice, and independent thought and action since the June Vision newsletter, so my longer than usual article will flow over to the next column. Please know that these are my personal reflections and not necessarily the opinions of everyone in our church. 

 

On the front cover, I remind us to celebrate this week and every day our Christian religious liberty and Baptist Distinctives. They were threatened over the last few years by the Southern Baptist Convention (Female Pastor Disfellowship List [no longer on SBC website] & the Law Amendment) and by Christian Nationalism (see www.bjconline.org). Thanks to centuries of independent religious thinkers, philosophers, academic scholars, curious students, and committed, quality preachers (like United Baptist’s), our distinctives held their ground; they are truly valuable to society, not just religion. Baptist Women in Ministry expressed solidarity with First Baptist Church of Alexandria, VA and Pastor Kim Eskridge in the face of the SBC Messengers’ decision to disfellowship the nearly 180 year old church. This vote occurred even before the SBC Law Amendment prohibiting women to hold the title or calling of “pastor” failed. Some of you know that I was on the original list, and due to a “clerical” [financial] error, SBC claimed our church, when in reality we have been with the CBF (Cooperative Baptist Fellowship) for 30+ years. Our Council and Board of Directors withdrew formally, and I received no threats or had any repercussions from being targeted. However, it became personal as the publicity surrounding myself and my peers threatened our safety, our God-given call to ministry, others’ benefits, and even their parsonages as addresses were shared publicly with maps and photos. Rev. Kim Eskridge and I were classmates at Leland Seminary.

 

Although the issue has calmed somewhat, the facts reveal that many fundamentalist Baptist churches do not affirm any women in leadership as Deacons, Chairpersons, or Pastors even today. I thank you for the affirmations I received during this time, a recommitment to our Baptist heritage, and for the opportunity to attend the CBF General Assembly in Greensboro, NC this year, where like minds connected to do Kingdom work in an egalitarian way. The theme was re:imagine, and their verse was the same as ours! Philippians 4:8-9 The Message: “8-9 You’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.”

Organizations like Baptist Joint Committee were there, eight prominent seminaries, Judson Press, CBF Latino Network, Bread for the World, Center for Congregational Health, and more. There were worship opportunities with amazing preaching, prayers (including a prayer quilt), tasteful praise bands, a children’s and adult choir, and even a mambo band with people dancing in the aisles. Imagine Baptists praising God’s goodness through movement! Folks, I think that will be what heaven’s all about – many expressions of worship, languages, and creative beauty. There was some tasteful fundraising and a silent auction with art, jewelry, and digital technology (I learned how to do a QR code, which I can teach you if you’d like). There were big conversations about calling, and small conversations about faith and the church’s future. It is time for us to embrace and reimagine this vision of God’s work in the world! Using Scripture, CBF reminded us that God is on the move despite what you hear about church decline. The Mid-Atlantic CBF was well represented too (photo); paraphrasing Exec. Coordinator, Paul Baxley, let us as UBC ask new questions, embrace new ways of serving, imagine new ministries, setting aside old fears and rediscovering the incredible gifts we have been given to serve our communities! This is collaboration. Amen? Amen!  

June 4, 2024

Happy Father’s Day! Happy Graduation! Happy Summer! Happy Public School Music Teacher Retirement to David Evans! Yes, again this month, we have a lot to celebrate and be thankful for! When I wrote last month’s article, it occurred to me that summer was upon us, yet I had not scheduled a vacation for myself; how about you? You may be retired but you still deserve a vacation for a life reset. Other than my big Israel trip in January 2023, since the pandemic, I have a tendency to schedule a “staycation” where I can get things done at home, take day trips, walk, play, go to museums, and rest. But this May 24th marked my year heart-health anniversary, so it felt like I needed a change of scenery.

 

As some of you know, I chose Lancaster County on the good reports of Mae Smith and her family trips there. I only spent 3 days this time to get to know the area, but I assure you I will go back. It wasn’t a bad drive – 2.75 hours even in rush hour and beautiful scenery, small towns, and friendly truckers. Mostly, I shopped and admired the Amish farmland, silos, traditions, cows, horses, mules, beautiful handmade quilts, furniture, bread, jams, pickles, cheeses, and of course fresh dairy ice cream! A few of my favorite food stops were Wilbur’s Chocolate factory, James Sturgis Pretzel factory, Lancaster City Central Market, tea shop, book store, Bird-in-Hand Farmer’s and Craft Market, the towns of Lititz and Intercourse, PA. I intentionally avoided the huge Shady Maple Smorgasbord, the largest in the USA, but plan to go in the future with friends, after a few weeks of fasting to prepare! The people too were so friendly; they were hard-working on the farms and in the shops, yet also I saw people sitting on the front porch, just being. No cell phone games but just observing the world around them; resting and relaxing or contemplating the beauty of their neighborhoods. If you’ve never been, please go; next time I’ll do the buggy ride and Amish breakfasts.

 

I realize that a week’s vacation cannot make up for a rest or sleep deficit, but I found it useful to go somewhere new. I ask you to rethink what it means to rest; I am not talking about boredom! Rest includes renewal and refreshment; soul care includes a focus on God’s word and direction. Matthew’s Gospel in Chapter 11 tells us: “28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Anyone who cannot rest is basically a slave to habits or obligations. This is not about a lack of exercise, but rather rest is an exchange of energies between you and the Holy Spirit to restore oneself mentally, emotionally, spiritually, creatively, and socially. Finding beauty is restorative!

May 7, 2024

Happy Church Anniversary! Happy Mother’s Day! And Memorial Day! Happy Nurses Week, and Teachers’ Appreciation Day! Wow, April and May have a lot of holidays to recognize. First I want to publicly thank Chaplain Anne Smith again for preaching for me on Sunday, April 14th about Zaccheus. Since I had been at a wedding out of town on Saturday, it allowed me to just lead the service, and be ministered to by her message. We learned of Christ’s humanity to enjoy Zaccheus’ hospitality and Christ’s acceptance of him, even though tax collectors were considered greedy, dishonest, and shunned by most.

 

The next Sunday, we spent some time finding beauty in music and the arts, with 2 Samuel 6:1-5, Colossians 3:12-17, Exodus 35:31-33, and 2 Chronicles 2:13-14, asking ourselves why do we come to worship each week? Let me also ask why don’t some of us come to worship anymore, since the pandemic or long before? For some, it becomes a habit, a social club, or entertainment. However, most of us attend from a desire for God’s presence in a “sacred” space with like-minded people. We also seek beauty, fulfillment, awe, and inspiration as we participate in the worship experience. We were formed in the image of God (Imago Dei) and therefore have a creative need to express our love and faith through hymns, anthems, instrumental music, drama, poetry, liturgical dance, craft, art, flowers, beauty, and more. When I was in Israel, making several museum and archaeoligical stops along the way, it was truly a joy to see and photograph the historic creative arts (tiles, mosaics, architecture, cathedrals, sculpture, textiles, jewelry, icons, and to hear different music).

 

That next Sunday was our 21st Anniversary! You blended two sacred dwellings and a third congregation into a brand-new Body of Christ. In the months leading up to the first official worship of The United Baptist Church on April 27, 2003, you and many others prayed and pondered a consolidation. You were pilgrims and pioneers when you joined your resources, missions, ministries, and people. Last year was our milestone, but this year, we glanced back briefly and gazed forward to all that God has in store for us. We recalled why and how we are church in Acts 2:42-47, and pondered how we can make our light shine more in the world (Luke 8:16-17) so we do not hide what God is doing here. I also announced a new emphasis to reconnect with many of you in our directory. I do not have phone numbers for our many on our Vision mailing list, but if you’d like to hear from a congregant (or the pastor), please call the office (703) 256-5900 or reply to a Mail Chimp email. May 5th was appreciation day for our nurses and teachers for your work! This Sunday, we appreciate nurturers!

April 3, 2024

Happy Easter! He is Risen! Hallelujah! I hope you had a lovely Easter celebration after a reflective Lent, jubilant Palm Sunday, a communal Maundy Thursday, and solemn Good Friday. As you can see in the photos, ours was filled with the beauty of sunrise, banners, flowers, music, Scripture, symbolism, food, and fellowship of one another. We thank Jeff & Melissa Snavely, David & Beth Evans, Charles Potter, Debbie Caffrey & Sonia Duran for adding to our expression of musical beauty this year through clarinet, horn, trumpet, piano, organ, and voice. It was my honor to preach on John 20:1-18 and hear Mary Magdalene say the words, each with a different emphasis: “I Have Seen the Lord!” It was a fitting tribute to the BWIM (Baptist Women In Ministry) month of advocacy, declaring her authority as apostle after seeing the angels and hearing Jesus call her name. He was and is still alive!

 

We saw Christ’s mandate to love our neighbor on Saturday at the New United Gospel Food Mission giveaway. It is a work in progress, and does not interfere with our generosity to ACCA. All three of us pastors were there Saturday to learn and work, but we need you too. Due to a community conflict, we’ve decided to open our doors the 2nd & 4th Saturdays, from 11 am-2 pm in Rm 121. We need the muscles of many workers, and  recipients cannot come weekdays. Please let the office know if you can assist with inventory tracking (Tuesdays after 12) or donating funds (pg 3). We thank Pastor Ed Young and his wife Belynda (NBMBC) for their tireless shopping and initiative, for his congregants and Pastor Francis (VGBC), and his trustee, who came the first day, and to Carol and Candace, friends of Martha Lowe and now United Baptist, who lent their expertise to help us kick off the mission! This is beauty in action! Amen!

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 months. If you are interested in previous articles, please contact our office. The first 3 pages of the newsletter are on our home page. The members' prayer list is not included due to confidentiality. Call the office if you have an update or a concern. 

bottom of page