Centerville is a church of “ands”. We are traditional and contemporary. We are liberal and conservative and moderate. We are old and young. We desire to be a big tent. We want to be a home for you, especially if you have a hard time fitting anywhere else.
Though we place a high value on hospitality and friendliness, we are not simply seeking some “soft middle” where everyone merely gets along and nothing ever gets done. Rather, we hope to be a diverse and dynamic community where we sharpen one another, pool our different gifts and perspectives, and act as a family with many differences but a shared purpose to proclaim the good news of Jesus, pursue mercy and justice, and promote God’s kingdom.
Pastor Kevin has described CBC as jello. It’s hard to pin down. It’s hard to contain. But, for people who are willing to experience it, it tastes good. We accept that faith requires trust in God’s Mystery. Though we at CBC don’t tend to embrace the kind of free-wheeling, impulsive, and often individualistic culture that one associates with many “Spirit-led” churches, we do place a high value on being led by the Spirit of God. Jesus compares this Spirit to wind in John 3:8: “The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Accepting that God is the Creator of an ordered universe, we value a good measure of order, civility, reason, accountability, and protocol—just not a one-size-fits-all, cut-and-dried, simplified kind of faith or identity.
When it comes to following the Spirit, we lean towards thoughtful, communal discernment rather than individual spur of the moment inspiration. As we move forward, we hope that we become a place more and more driven by Spirit-led, communal discernment than by status quo.
Finally, faith at CBC often manifests itself in action. Love of God, others, and self, translates into the many service and outreach opportunities that flourish in our mid-size congregation. One simply has to scan our ministry teams and committees to get a sense of the diverse and creative hands-on work we do—from our community garden to our work with homeless neighbors in CAST and at the Burfoot House to our partnership with Norfolk Highlands Primary School to our active Women’s Missionary Union to our annual Eastern Shore trip… and the list goes on—folks wanting a “living faith” have multiple opportunities to plug in. Moreover, anyone wanting to explore new avenues for ministry is encouraged in our equipping culture to do just that.
As a community which strives for authenticity, let’s be honest. The pandemic puts us in an awkward place. It’s our opinion that all churches are struggling with their identity and their way forward as a result of this worldwide crisis (and if we’re really honest, the political and cultural divisiveness that has accompanied it). We admit we are finding our way. Though we have returned to a form of in-person worship, it does not look like worship from early 2020 and before. Worshippers of all ages are required to wear masks and keep six feet of distance from those not in their “pods” while on church property. There is no congregational singing and, in fact, music and many other elements of worship are pre-recorded and projected onto our screen in the sanctuary. Other in-person opportunities are still quite limited—though you will see more and more in upcoming months—and all access to our property must be pre-arranged with our church office.
Though awkward, many of our changes have opened up new ways of being church together! Our online presence has grown dramatically since March of 2020, and we believe that you can connect authentically with us through our digital experiences. Our worship services will be streamed live on Facebook and YouTube indefinitely, we offer several discipleship opportunities via Zoom (including two Sunday school classes, Wednesday Night Prayer and Bible Study, and our Midweek Youth Meetup), and we publish a monthly video for children, complete with a Bible story and songs featuring our adult and youth helpers.
We appreciate your patience with us, and we invite you to talk with our pastors as we navigate these unique times together.