Every Friday Centenary’s Walk-In Ministry offers a hot lunch. We are one of 6 downtown churches, partnering in the Downtown Community Ministry, providing a noontime meal on a different day of the week. With many of our neighbors lacking homes or regular meals, we are now serving between 180 and 250 people every week. Some of the food comes from the Central Virginia Food Bank where we are able to purchase staple items at a reasonable cost for the meal preparation. Most of the food used for the meals is obtained through the Food Bank’s Virginia Tables Enabler Program in which certain Food Lion and Panera Bread stores provide food that has reached its “sell by” date at no cost. The gleaned food provides wonderful hot meals while using food that would otherwise be thrown away.
Our church staff provides some support, but the program relies on a volunteer coordinator, as well as 16 to 20 other volunteers each week. Many of the volunteers come from other Richmond District churches who commit to sending a team every month or every other month. These churches currently include: Asbury UMC, Bon Air UMC, Beulah UMC, Forest Grove UMC, and Providence UMC. We also hire 7 to 10 part-time people each week (recruited from the guests we serve) for a minimum wage salary to help with the set-up and clean-up of the Fellowship Hall and kitchen, plus an off-duty police officer to provide security during the meal time.
For information about how you could support this Walk-In Ministry, please contact the church office
"Bless My Sole" nourishes soles—and souls—of the homeless. "Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet." (John 13:14)
This ministry was created as an extension to the Walk-In Ministry. Each Friday volunteers provide a warm soak, massage, pedi-care, and clean socks for the tired feet of the poor.
We greatly appreciate the generous donations of socks from Bombas Socks, and our congregation throughout the year. If you are interested in helping with the Walk-In Ministry, please contact the church office
Homelessness isn't a lifestyle, it's an emergency. On any given night about 1,000 people in the greater Richmond area are experiencing homelessness, and for many, CARITAS is the only place they can turn.
CARITAS is Richmond's largest emergency shelter, sheltering up to 110 people per night, and over 1,000 people annually. It provides over 90% of the shelter beds available to single women. The hard work of 15,000 volunteers and 155 host congregations creates a safe and hospitable place for our most vulnerable citizens.
Upon entering CARITAS, guests find not only the necessities for survival -- they find the tools for success. Through the growing web of CARITAS volunteers, staff, and agency partners, guests get the help they need to get off the street, back on their feet, and on the path to self-sufficiency.
To learn more about CARITAS, visit http://caritasva.org
Centenary’s Thanksgiving tradition has been to give groceries to those who are in need. If you are able, please take this list to the grocery store and purchase the listed items. If more than one bag is needed, it is not necessary to join them together. If you are unable to buy everything on the list, do what you can. Please bring the bags to the altar on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. These items should feed a family of four for a week.
- 1 box of powdered milk
- 1 large box of cereal
- 1 jar of peanut butter
- 2 packages of dried beans or peas
- 2 cans of tuna or salmon
- 2 cans of fruit
- 2 cans of vegetables
- 1 can of corned beef or beef stew
- 1 lb. box of spaghetti
- 1 jar of spaghetti sauce
- 3 boxes of macaroni and cheese
- 1 jell-o or cake mix
If you are interested helping with the Bring in the Harvest, please contact the church office.
Centenary has partnered with other downtown churches to distribute new shoes to as many children as possible as they return to school. We have donated many pairs of new shoes for children and adults. Although the last few years have challenged this outreach, we hope to pursue the annual project in the future.
Centenary’s commitment to reconciliation has led it to be involved with several important initiatives for racial reconciliation. Most recently, in partnership with our Annual Conference, Centenary engaged in a process led by Rev. Jim Melson, leader of Cornelius Corps (http://www.corneliuscorps.org/). Over a period of about two years, four people from Centenary and four from Asbury United Methodist Church in Church Hill met monthly in a covenant group for prayer, study, and honest discussion. A series of workshops was also offered to the public, led by Rev. Jim Melson on the theme of the modern civil rights movement. The purpose of these workshops was to heighten awareness of the struggles of African Americans for racial justice, and to enable white Christians to consider ways to work with African Americans to overcome the barriers to racial equality that persist. As a result of these efforts, Centenary and Asbury UMC are involved in discussions about how we might be in mission together.
Citizens and Clergy Against Racism
Our pastor is also involved in a group called Citizens and Clergy Against Racism, an inter-racial and inter-faith group of Richmond clergy and citizens that meets regularly to consider how to work on racism in the Richmond region and beyond. These efforts include a Stations of the Cross walk each Good Friday as a way to remember Christ’s suffering and to make a public witness for racial justice.
Thousands in Richmond lack access to healthy food. Many also lack the tools and resources to prepare and share it. Shalom Farms seeks to collaboratively transform the Richmond food system so that all people have access to good food – food that is good for our bodies, good for the environment, and good for our communities. Through hands-on experiences on the farm and in the city, Shalom Farms and our diverse partners are making a difference on dinner plates all over the Richmond area. Shalom Farms grows an array of healthy produce to provide to underserved communities; provides introductory experiential learning opportunities for children and adults on, and link community groups to a wide range of resources and partners, using a strengths-based approach to build individual and community self-sufficiency. To learn more about Shalom Farms, visit http://shalomfarms.org