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

Week of March 3, 2019


Dear Cunningham Family:

As most of you know, the special General Conference of The United Methodist Church completed its meetings in St. Louis, Missouri on Tuesday, February 26. The news media has been quick to report the headlines that the Conference, by a narrow margin (438 to 384), adopted the so-called “Traditional Plan.” This Traditional Plan retains the church’s rules that prohibit clergy from conducting same-sex marriages and bars the ordination of “self-avowed, practicing homosexuals.” 

I have read a number of reactions from friends and colleagues to these actions taken by the General Conference. As one might expect, the reactions tend to reveal the differing opinions that our denomination’s diverse membership has about these issues of human sexuality. 

As we try to sort out what this all means to us—as individuals, as a local church, and as a world-wide denomination—our Bishop will be conducting a conversation on the “State of the Church: Where do we go from here.” This conversation will take place via a live video feed on Monday, March 4 at 10:00 am. You can view it at home online at www.vaumc.org. I will plan to watch the Bishop’s presentation from the Gathering Place. I would love to have you join me.

I also would like to offer a chance for conversation this Sunday morning, following the worship service, in the Gathering Place. I would like to hear directly from you—not so much what you think about this news but more about how you respond internally. Are you encouraged or saddened by the actions taken by the General Conference?. Are you hopeful or discouraged about what these actions mean for our church? Do you feel that it brings us closer to Jesus and His way of loving or does it make us more distant? 

I am cautious, by nature, about reacting too quickly to events such as this. This much I can affirm, however. God loves you. Period. And God calls us to love each other. Period. Our challenge is to discern how to best live out Christ’s love—even when we disagree with each other.

I look forward to continuing this discussion with you on Sunday. See you in church!

Grace and peace,
Pastor Tom


March 3, 2019

Sunday, March 3
         9:10 am    Prayer Team (Gathering Place)
         9:30 am   Worship Service & Children’s Sunday School
       11:00 am    Adult Sunday School
       11:15 am     Pastor’s Forum
         5:00 pm   “Love to Stay” Marriage Study
         5:00 pm   Hand Chimes
Monday, March 4:
       11:00 am    Feeding the Hungry
         6:15 pm    Fellowship Supper
         7:00 pm   Bible Study
Tuesday, March 5:
       10:00 am    UMW Workday
         6:00 pm    UMM Meeting “The Time of Our Lives,”
                          by David Eddy
Ash Wednesday, March 6:
         6:30 am    Receiving Ashes
       12:00 pm    Ash Wednesday Service
         7:00 pm   Ash Wednesday Service


Other Announcements

Pastor’s Forum on the St. Louis General Conference: Pastor Tom invites you to join him in the Gathering Place after our Worship Service on Sunday, March 3, for a discussion about last week’s General Conference in St. Louis. This conversation will be informal and will focus on hearing how the members of our Cunningham family feel about the actions taken by the General Conference.

Update from the Staff-Parish Relations Committee: Bishop Lewis and the Cabinet (the District Superintendents of the Virginia Conference) will meet this week to begin the process of appointing pastors for the Conference for the Conference Year beginning July 1. The SPRC asks all members and friends of Cunningham to pray this week for the Bishop and the Cabinet as they begin this process, that they will approach this appointment process with open minds and hearts as they discern God’s direction in appointing a new pastor for Cunningham.

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 will be meet on Sunday afternoons at 5:00 pm, beginning March 3. Please indicate on your Connection Card if you would like to participate. Books are available in the old fellowship hall.

Feeding the Hungry: We invite you to help feed the hungry at First United Methodist Church in Charlottesville on the 1stand 5thMondays of the month. Food preparation begins at 11:00 am. If you can help, please contact Bill Peters at jacbuc@embarqmail.comor on his cell phone: 434-825-7044.

United Methodist Men’s Meeting: There will be a slide presentation for the UMM meeting this Tuesday. “The Time of Our Lives:  A Retrospective;” to the tune of Bill Medley, with Jennifer Warnes doing vocals. There will be photos of men’s events from the past twelve years. From floats down the James River to ice skating to camping to firewood and fall festival activities, the slide presentation will be a delightful way to remember some of the groundbreaking work that our men have accomplished.  

Decor Donations: The Décor Committee reports that several items still are needed for the Gathering Place. Copies of the Committee’s brochure are available in the Narthex.

Kitchen Training: A free class will be offered on Monday, March 4 from 6-8 pm by the Fluvanna County Extension Office: "Cooking for Crowds." Further information is available from Walter Hussey. 

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 of Lent.

  • Ash Wednesday Repentance: A 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 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. We will observe a mission focus on putting our faith into action. Suppers will rotate locations. Cunningham will open the Gathering Place for suppers on April 3 (Cunningham will provide that meal that evening) 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.

Looking for Help: We still are trying to fill several positions including: Assistant Treasurer, Mission/Outreach Chairand 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 24, 2019:


Amount Committed


34 Pledges 



Other Contributions







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.





Deut 6:1-9 

148, 149, 150

Heb 12:18-29

John 12:24-32


Deut 6:10-15


Heb 1:1-14

John 1:1-18


Deut 6:16-25

26, 28

Heb 2:1-10

John 1:19-28


Jonah 3:1-4:11

95, 32, 143

Heb 12:1-14

Luke 18:9-14


Deut 7:6-11


Titus 1:1-16

John 1:29-34


Deut 7:12-16

95, 31

Titus 2:1-15

John 1:35-42


Deut 7:17-26

30, 32

Titus 3:1-15

John 1:43-51


Food for Thought

For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for
your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. 
Jeremiah 29:11 (NRSV)