Welcome to Centenary United Methodist Church

Downtown Richmond, VA

Centenary United Methodist Church is a Reconciling Congregation, extending hospitality and encouraging full participation of all, regardless of age, race, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, educational or economic background, and physical or mental ability.


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This Week at Centenary

Worship with us Sunday, June 26 at 8:40 am (informal) and 11:00 am (traditional) as Senior Pastor Matt Bates explores the scripture Luke 9: 51-62 with a sermon entitled "Risking All."

Read our weekly newsletter here.

A Letter from our Pastor

Dear Family and Friends of Centenary,Matt img 125005

The theme of this year's Annual Conference was "Thy Will Be Done." The focus of worship, teaching, and preaching was to challenge us as individuals and churches to seek to understand God's will and obey it.

I confess that I struggle with discerning and knowing God's will for my life. There are two things I am certain of that relate to all Christians:  1) God's will involves loving God more than anything. 2) God's will involves loving my neighbor as I love myself. That, of course, is how Jesus summed up the essence of the law.

Beyond that, we are faced with many big decisions - and small ones - that often perplex us. Who should I marry? What kind of work should I do? Where should I live? 

I know that prayer helps us in discerning God's will. Occasionally some of us may discern God's will through some gift of divine revelation. More often than not, though, prayer opens us up to respond to new opportunities and even adversities with imagination, courage, and faith. After I'd completed the course work for my Ph. D. at Union Seminary, I assumed I would go back to Western North Carolina. Indeed, I'd been offered a "good" appointment. But the call came to serve a small urban church here in Richmond. After praying and thinking about my theological and spiritual journey to that point, I'd come to believe that Jesus is usually found among the neediest among us. And I concluded that being part of a church committed to that kind of ministry was where I belonged. It was counter-intuitive, but as best as I could understand it, it was God's will.

During Annual Conference, I realized that none of us, regardless of our age or place in life, can think that God is through with us. Even in the middle and later years of our lives, we can discern some new thing God wants us to learn, or become, or do.

And this is true for churches, too. Discerning God's will is a constant process. Our Centenary 2020 committee has been working and praying to discern God's will for us as we approach the year 2020. What should our ministry look like given the dramatic changes happening in downtown Richmond? How do we most effectively align our financial, facility, and people resources to be faithful and fruitful in this time and place? In early fall, they will be inviting all of us to join in that conversation. Our District Superintendent Peter Moon has already let us know that this is what he wants us to be in conversation about at our Charge Conferences in the fall. I invite you to be thinking and praying about God's will for your life, and God's will for us as a church family.

The Gospel reading this week Luke 9:51-62 raises these questions as Jesus invites people to make dramatic changes in their lives to follow him. The sermon I'm working on is entitled "Risking All." I look forward to seeing you Sunday.  

It's a joy to serve Christ, and to seek God's will with you!

Matt Bates
Senior Pastor

Weekly Services

Our weekly services are open to all, regardless of age, race, gender, or sexual orientation. We invite you to attend any of our weekly worship services and encourage your full participation.


  • Informal Worship Service: Sunday @ 8:40am
  • Sunday School (all ages): Sunday @ 10am
  • Traditional Worship Service: Sunday @ 11am

Childcare is offered during all Sunday services.

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Upcoming Events

Learn more about all of our upcoming events and programs by viewing our calendar:

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Get Involved

We offer several programs for children, youth, and adults. Our arts programming includes the visual and performing arts, as well as instrumental and choral music. These programs are open for all to participate and enjoy. Come be a part of this exciting and lively community!

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