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The United Baptist Church

7100 Columbia Pike | Annandale, VA 22003

Ph: 703.256.5900

Hours: Drop in, M-Th 9 am - 1 pm; or by Appointment, M-F: 9 am-3 pm

Rev. P. Moyer

If you'd like to read Rev. Moyer's sermon messages for study or reflection, please click here.

Kairos Moments . . .

Reflections by Rev. Pamela Moyer 

March 7, 2023

I’ve had a month to process my pilgrimage and it is just starting to sink in as I share more stories about the journey. In this season of Lent, many of us fast, eliminate things from life or diet, or add a new habit or routine to draw us closer to Jesus before he goes to the cross and rises at Easter. Even these 40 days can be a sort of pilgrimage if you are praying and reading Scripture with spiritual discipline and intentionality.

What is a pilgrimage? You will find many definitions; it “is a journey, often into an unknown or foreign place, where a person goes in search of new or expanded meaning about their self, others, nature, or a higher good through the experience. It can lead to a personal transformation, after which the pilgrim returns to their daily life [].” According to Bruce Feiler, American writer and celebrity, there are specific elements to a pilgrimage of the call, the separation, the journey, the contemplation, the encounter, the completion, and the return. I would add sharing and processing.

For me, I was called to take this trip January 2019, but declined due to my candidacy for the Senior Minister role here at United. An invitation to preach in view of a call took a higher priority at that time, and I am glad I did not postpone my trial sermon! Then pandemic hit, and the next available NorthStar pastors’ trip was postponed. God’s will be done! I was not ready to embark until this year both personally and professionally. The separation part went smoothly because of the spiritual growth of our church leaders and the experience of our staff, especially our worship team who handled two Sundays, and our Administrative Assistant, Roudaina, who handled the office for my 2 weeks away. We prepared well together, and all completed their tasks with excellence and efficiency, even handling one or two unexpected issues. I am truly grateful to our speakers as well. The 11-hour+ flight wasn’t too bad, the bus driver friendly and competent, the numerous stops I shared last month made the journey a healthy challenge. Some contemplation was scheduled so that I could encounter the sites, their significance, and God’s presence. Completing the trip and returning proved the pilgrimage was necessary to my spirit and successful in the depths of my soul.

God’s presence is everywhere if we pay attention, so the sites themselves were “gravy” to what we can read in the Scriptures. Sharing my stories is helping me process what transformation is taking place because of this intense pilgrimage. It’s exciting to see the Scriptures come alive on the page and to share those insights in my preaching and teaching. Hope you’re not bored yet! More to come.

February 7, 2023

I’m baaaack! And so grateful for the opportunity to travel to Israel with 42 other pastors, spouses, parents, and NorthStar staff in January! It was truly a pilgrimage with 6 sites each day. Thank you, church, leadership, and staff, for your steadfastness and commitment to worship and activities while I was gone for 12 days. I had perfect peace knowing that you are competent and willing to serve in my absence. Also, let me thank you for your powerful prayers. I felt safe and strengthened the whole time. Let me share. . .

The scope was bigger than I realized, so processing this trip will take me months of additional study and reflection. You may hear more around Easter and Christmas, since we followed Jesus from birth to resurrection, as well as Old Testament familiar locations. After a week home, it is helpful to share the context and atmosphere, because although a modern country, the culture, language, and people were so different. Hebrew, Arabic, then English was spoken and on signs most places, and we had an amazing guide, Reuben Nevo (, who spoke five languages, was a certified tour guide for the Ministry of Tourism in Israel and has an advanced degree in Jewish history. It was like a seminary course!

The logistics and strenuous hill and stair hiking were distracting at first until my knees adjusted! Did you know that Israel is built on stone, and has had earthquakes, wars, and rebuilding to the point that where Jesus walked is well over 20 feet below today’s paths? I also learned that early builders used what was available, with irregular steps and stones to slow people down so they could pause to reflect on God or greet members of the community. The hotel buffets were abundant with healthy mediterranean dishes: local fruits (citrus, mango, bananas, dates, figs), many salads, the best hummus, babaganoush, luscious cheeses, fish, beef, lamb, chicken, and a few American options (french fries, pizza, hot dogs) for the timid.

There are a few pics on page 3, but I took hundreds! We felt safe as we travelled from Tel Aviv north to the Sea of Galilee, then to Bethlehem, Nazareth, Capernaum, the Dead Sea, the Judean Desert, Jerusalem (both old and new cities) and finally Golgotha with communion at the Garden Tomb area. Our guide changed the itinerary for safety; there was violence while we were there (3 incidents plus protests). The highlights for me were sailing and worship on the Sea of Galilee, worship and reflection in the Garden of Gesthemane, and visting the Yad Vashem, or Museum of Shoah (the Holocaust Museum). Two adventures were hiking through a wet Hezekiah’s Tunnel and off-roading in the desert (Samaria & where Jesus was tempted). Drivers were skilled and hospitable (ask for more details about it). Networking with other pastors built friendships to strengthen us as a church. My trip was like the huge red pomegranates grown in Israel: they smell delicious when cut, and have juicy edible seeds (my stories); but you cannot eat it like an apple all in one sitting. More later!

January 4, 2023

Happy New Year! Our staff and I thank you for the year-long gifts of your loyal participation in church life and the recognition of our work to support the mission and vision of the United Baptist Church. We do our work out of love, faith, and a personal passion to nurture the disciples and apostles among us. Thank you also to New Beginning Missionary Baptist Church for hosting the “Love Potluck” in December. Thank you to all who brought appetizers, salads, side dishes, or desserts. The food and conversations were all so delicious and rich, re-connecting the two churches post-pandemic!

These wild temperature fluctuations between 8° and 68° have been challenging, but help to remind me that life, like weather is changeable and unpredictable. Just like our health and this year’s market, we may influence the outcome, but cannot control it. We are all praying for the Buffalo Bills safety, Damar Hamlin, only 24 years old, who is fighting for his life after suffering cardiac arrest on Monday night during the football game with the Cincinatti Bengals (did you see the 2 crosses on his cheeks before the game?) Having been through such an ICU vigil with my brother Joel in 2010, I understand the pain and anxiety his family is experiencing. We ask God for healing and comfort for him and many others on our prayer list. Prayer is a good way to begin the year!

One topic of Advent preparation was “emptying: an intentional decision to let go of distractions, busy-ness, self-centeredness, sin, hurt, anger, cynicism, or fear.” If we kept or keep on adding things to our lives and schedules, there is a good chance of burnout. Ask God to bear some of the burdens. When we make New Year’s Resolutions, they are often an additional habit or practice, like exercising, reading the Bible, or starting a new diet on top of everything else. Remember that Jesus modeled rest and prayer for us in several passages: Matthew 14:13; Mark 1:35; 4:36; 6:31, 46; Luke 5:16; 6:12; and John 4:6. That’s your homework to look these up and calendar periods of rest and prayer for yourselves. Leaving unhealthy behaviors at the altar will make new space in mind and heart for you to add in a spiritual or physical discipline this year. I did this “emptying” for myself so that I would have room to absorb and learn all I could experience from the upcoming Israel pilgrimmage with NorthStar Church Network pastors, spouses, and staff. My brain and heart were so full of Christmas preparations! But I am ready now. You blessed our staff with days off so we could have time with God and family, resting and renewing. It was a fruitful time of visioning and preparation for me. This trip will be a study and reflection journey rather than a tourist trip, and I plan to bring back lots of stories and visuals for the year of Divine Experiments ahead! 

December 6, 2022

Merry Christmas! As I write today, it feels like spring again~rainy and warm-ish! It was nice to have a mild November and Thanksgiving too. We had better prepare for a cold winter!

Speaking of preparation, the church calendar puts us in Advent, a time of waiting and preparation ~ Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love. Again we have a fresh wreath with candles to remind us of God’s timelessness, a circle with no beginning and no end. This tradition orginated with 16th Century German Lutherans, lighting one candle each Sunday of Advent. This year we have evergreens of spruce, weeping cypress, and yew symbolizing immortality and boxwood symbolizing eternal life, nature’s abundance, healing, and grounded-ness.The center white candle, called the Christ Candle will be lit on Christmas Eve as we wait and acknowledge Christ the Savior, “the light of the world”, is born. We will have a Christmas Eve service at 3 pm with a Woodwind Quintet, Carols, Scriptures, Guest Vocalists, Communion, and Candlelight, so we hope you can attend! We will follow our normal schedule for Christmas Day which falls on Sunday this year. More carols to sing then too! We had a wonderful “Deck the Halls” team this year, so thank you to those who helped!

Although our year’s theme has been “Listening for the Work”, and we are hearing God’s direction for us personally and for the church, this quarter we were striving to see the extraordinary in the ordinary through Scripture, everyday living, and missional opportunities.

My year’s sermons and Scriptures are available on our website: if you’d like more “education” or to discuss with me.

And now for Advent, we ask you to join us as we refresh our spiritual lives like we do at Lent, by “emptying” ourselves of sin, selfishness, regret, stress, misplaced priorities, unfruitful habits, and unrealistic, unhealthy expectations. With all those things clogging up our hearts and brains, how can we possibly take in the innocence, holiness, beauty, humility, salvation, awe, glory, and power of the Lord Jesus Christ?! Please use the prayer tools we learned this year, like silence, contemplation, confession, prayer walking, Scripture prayers, and more to clear your mind and open your heart. These exercises and topics will lead us into next year’s theme of “Divine Experiments!” I too am emptying myself to prepare for a pilgrimmage to Israel in January. How could I take in all the images and sensations we read of in the Bible if my mind and heart are already full? Please begin to pray for me and peace in the Middle East so that our NorthStar Pastors’ Trip can occur. Thank you. Have a beautiful holiday! 

Blog postings:

Kairos (καιρός) is Greek for “opportune time,” where God may break in to our circumstances, and we then can reflect on the purpose of His in-breaking. I think of it as the Holy Spirit nudging me toward an “AHA!” moment. “Kairos Moments” will be the title of this regular article, so that observations, reflections, questions and theology can be examined for action.

These articles will be displayed for 4 months. If you are interested in previous articles, please contact our office. The first 3 pages of the newsletter are at the bottom of "Our Message", and on our home page. The members' prayer list is not included due to confidentiality. Call the office if you have an update or a concern.