3389 Thomas Jefferson Parkway, Palmyra VA 22963 CunninghamUMCPastor@gmail.com 434-591-1363

Week of February 24, 2019



Dear Cunningham Family:

This weekend, the Special General Conference convenes in St. Louis, Missouri, to address important questions concerning the future of our denomination. You will find more information about this Conference in the Announcements below. Please remain in prayer about this Conference, that God’s will be done. You will find below a prayer that will be used in the Worship Service at the Conference on Sunday Morning. We also will be using this prayer at Cunningham.

In a time when we struggle with these decisions, we read the message of Jesus, telling us to love our enemies, to do good to those who hate us, and to "do to others" as we would have them do to us (see Luke 6:27-36). It is a timely, although challenging, lesson. Jesus tells us to do something that seems almost impossible, unless we open ourselves to the transforming love of God.

I hope you will join us on Sunday as we talk about this very challenging subject. See you in Church!

Grace and peace,
Pastor Tom



February 24, 2019

Sunday, February 24:
       9:10 am          Prayer Team (Gathering Place)
       9:30 am         Worship Service & Children’s Sunday School
      11:00 am         Adult Sunday School
       5:00 pm         Hand Chimes
Monday, February 25:
        6:15 pm         Fellowship Supper
        7:00 pm         Bible Study
Tuesday, February 26:
        9:30 am         UMW Workday
Wednesday, February 27:
        7:00 pm         Choir Practice
Friday, March 1:
      11:00 am           Moving On
Saturday, March 2:
        7:00 pm         Sock Hop


Other Announcements

Decor Donations: Thanks to your generosity, we were able to buy 5 tables, 23 chairs, and carts for storing tables and chairs. In addition we received two new clocks. The classrooms received a donation for cabinets and bookcases that are in the process of being installed. We hope that while you were in the Gathering Place you enjoyed the metal cross art work donated by Sam & Linda Edwards, the lovely banners made by Dana Hawks and the beautiful painting by Hunter Muddiman. We have made significant progress furnishing the Gathering Place. However, there are still several items in our pamphlet available for purchase. Copies are available in the Narthex.

Sock Hop: Saturday, March 2nd from 7 to 9 pm. Bring the family and dance or just enjoy the toe tapping music for a good cause. Admission: donation or a package of adult or children’s socks.

Special Session of the General Conference: The Special Session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church is underway in St. Louis, Missouri. The purpose will be to act on a report from the Council of Bishops based on the recommendations of the “Commission on a Way Forward.” The 32-member Commission was appointed to examine paragraphs in The Book of Discipline concerning human sexuality and exploring options to strengthen the unity of the church.

  • Resources about this special session and work of the Commission on a Way Forward are available on the Virginia Conference website at https://www.vaumc.org/GC2019. This includes the archived livestream from the September 26 Q&A session featuring Bishop Sharma Lewis, the Rev. Tom Berlin, and Ms. Martha Stokes. The direct link is https:// livestream.com/VAUMC/COWFQA.
  • Links to the three proposed plans can be found at https:// www.vaumc.org/document.doc?id=3289.
  • Please continue to be in prayer: for the United Methodist Church, for all the delegates to the General Conference, for our Virginia delegation, for our Bishops, and for the mission and ministry of our local churches. A “Sign-up Genius” has been created to help us be faithful in prayer for this Conference. You can sign up at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/30e0a45a9af2fa6fe3-96hour.

Moving On: This class provides women with help and encouragement for a smoother transition into their new surroundings, and to feel “at home” quicker. Our class meets on Fridays; 11:00 am – 12:15 pm. We will discuss the book, “After the Boxes Are Unpacked,” with other women who are new to the community. Please invite your neighbors to join us!

Love to Stay: This book by Adam Hamilton offers realistic, down to earth guidance for couples of all ages wishing to enhance their marriages. This class will continue for six weeks. We are proposing to meet on Sunday afternoons at 5:00 pm, beginning March 3. Please indicate on your Connection Card if you would like to participate.

Prayer Team: A Prayer Team is a group of people who feel called to participate in a more organized prayer ministry at Cunningham. A Prayer Team commits both individually and as a group to lift up in prayer the prayer requests that we receive on our Connection Cards and in our worship, to pray for the pastor and all who serve at Cunningham, to pray for our community. Please indicate your interest on your Connection Card! Our Prayer Team will gather to pray this Sunday morning at 9:10 am in the Gathering Place.

Kitchen Training: With the new kitchen some folks might be interested in taking the upcoming free class offered by our Extension Office: "Cooking for Crowds". Further info available, including registration at: https://fluvanna.ext.vt.edu/content/dam/fluvanna_ext_vt_edu/files/2019%20Fluvanna%20Cooking%20for%20Crowds.pdf. See Walter Hussey for more details.

Looking for Help: We still are trying to fill several positions including: Assistant Treasurer, Mission/Outreach Chair, and Newsletter Editor. These positions (among others) are described in the February edition of The Messenger (copies are available in the narthex). Is God calling you to serve your church in this role? Please speak with Pastor Tom or leave a note on your Connection Card.

Partners in Ministry Update: as of February 17, 2018:


Amount Committed


34 Pledges



Other Contributions







CUMC Lenten Study: During the Season of Lent, our Monday Night Bible Study will be taking an Inward Pilgrimage. We often think of a pilgrimage as a trip to a special place, often far away. Our pilgrimage will be internal, as we seek to discover the way to the eternal. Pastor Tom will help us on this journey drawing from historic spiritual disciplines, adapted for use in our time. Our pilgrimage begins on
March 11.

Looking towards Lent: On March 6, we will join with other Christians in our community as we begin our journey to the cross during the season we call “Lent.”

  • Ash Wednesday Repentance: An ancient custom of the church has been to receive the sign of the cross on our foreheads on Ash Wednesday as an outward sign of our inward repentance. We will offer “drive-by” ashes at Cunningham on March 6 from 6:30 to 7:30 am. Drive by on your way to work!
  • Joint Services: We will be worshiping jointly with Grace & Glory Lutheran Church, Haden Chapel UMC, Palmyra UMC, Salem UMC and the churches of the South Fluvanna UMC Charge on Ash Wednesday (March 6) at 12 noon and 7:00 pm at Cunningham UMC; Maundy Thursday, April 18, at Salem UMC (7:00 pm), and Good Friday (April 19, at Grace & Glory (7:00 pm).
  • Soup & Study: On Wednesday evenings beginning March 13 and running through April 10, we will once again join our friends from Grace & Glory, Haden Chapel, Palmyra, Salem, and the South Fluvanna Charge for a series of soup suppers plus a study. This year, we will observe a mission focus on putting our faith into action. Suppers will rotate locations. We are pleased that Cunningham will open the Gathering Place for suppers on April 3 (we will provide that meal) and April 10 (the South Fluvanna Charge will provide the meal).
  • Offerings During Our Lenten Gatherings: Our offerings during our joint services and Wednesday night suppers will be donated to Bill and Jane Ford, whose home and personal belongings were recently destroyed in a fire.

Spending Time with the Bible: Center yourself for a moment, asking God to speak to you through the scriptures. Then read slowly. To give you a roadmap, we offer reading suggestions based upon the Daily Office contained in the Book of Common Prayer. You can also find these readings online at
www.BibleGateway.com/reading-plans/bcp-daily-office/today. Don’t rush—it is more important that you take time to hear the voice of God than it is to finish all of the readings on any particular day. As you read, take note of words or phrases that draw your attention, and meditate on the meaning that those words or phrases hold for you. Here are the readings for this week:


Old T.





Isa 66:7-14


1 John 3:4-10

John 10:7-16


Ruth 1:1-14


2 Cor 1:1-11

Matt 5:1-12


Ruth 1:15-22

121, 122, 123

2 Cor 1:12-22

Matt 5:13-20


Ruth 2:1-13


2 Cor 1:23-2:17

Matt 5:21-26


Ruth 2:14-23

131, 132

2 Cor 3:1-18

Matt 5:27-37


Ruth 3:1-18

140, 142

2 Cor 4:1-12

Matt 5:38-48


Ruth 4:1-17

137:1-6, 144

2 Cor 4:13-5:10

Matt 6:1-6


:A Prayer from the Council of Bishops

The following prayer will be part of the worship liturgy during the opening of the 2019 Special Session of the General Conference.
Gracious and loving God, who leads, teaches and guides, You who offer compassion, grace and mercy, be with us now.  
We passionately seek Your presence during challenging times and circumstances and we trust that you are moving in and around our lives.  
We, as one part of your Body, the Church, go into the days and weeks ahead seeking to discern Your deep desire for us as The United Methodist Church.  
Give us courage as we continue to live and respond to Your invitation to be Your hands, feet and voice.  
We ask for a fresh wind of Your Spirit and guidance for each of us as individuals, for the faithful congregations, and for this global community of United Methodists.  
We ask for Your wisdom and presence for those among us who have been called to serve as delegates as the Special Session of General Conference gathers today.  
Grant them clarity and a discerning spirit as they seek to listen for You in their midst.  
Reveal to them Your deep desire for our future as a church.  
Give them and us the faith to lay aside our personal wants and needs so that we can be truly present to You, sit with You in reverence and awe, and listen deeply for the still small voice that woos us, comforts us, and invites us to that place where we can live fully and wholly into the Kingdom life that You desire for us.  
We lay all this before You as the deep desire of our hearts and minds in the name of Jesus, the Christ. Amen