Cokesbury Digest – 10/6/2021

Cokesbury Worship Update:

The Cokesbury Healthy Church Team met Monday evening, 10/4, to review the current plans for upcoming church worship services. Due to the continued elevated risks posed by the coronavirus pandemic, and through lots of prayer, it was determined that we should continue with Outdoor Worship through October, and postpone returning to Sanctuary Worship until we can safely do so. The Team will meet again on Monday, November 1st, to review conditions and provide the next update to the congregation.

While most of us are anxious to return to Sanctuary Worship, it was discerned that we can not now safely do so. Some of the conditions considered were: our unique congregational makeup; the Commonwealth remains in the High risk level for COVID-19 infection; the daily new case infection rate for COVID-19 appears to have plateaued, but remains elevated; only 61% of Virginia’s population has been fully vaccinated (up from 57% at the beginning of September) and 68% has received one dose (up from 64% at the beginning of September); while the majority of new infection cases of COVID-19 are in unvaccinated individuals, vaccinated people are being infected as well, though with generally less severe symptoms; and church building preparations required including deep cleaning and air conditioning systems. In the most recent info for Virginia, unvaccinated individuals are 7.9 times more likely than fully vaccinated and 2.5 times more likely than partially vaccinated individuals to develop COVID-19. Of fully vaccinated Virginians, 0.5% have developed COVID-19, 0.021% have been hospitalized, and 0.0054% have died from its complications. The latest on this is here.

The Healthy Church Team monitors local, state, and national conditions for trend changes in the Pandemic with an eye toward safely returning to Sanctuary Worship. Until that becomes possible, we will continue with Outdoor Worship and work to enhance the Worship experience as best we can. If you have recommendations or comments toward that end, please let church leaders know.


A devotion for today

Hallelujah Chorus – Shopping Mall Flash Mob


Worship Services (weather permitting – inclement weather will move worship to online only):
– Every Sunday,
10am: Drive-In, Lawn, and Online
We are holding expanded outdoor worship. You may bring lawn chairs for the area by the main parking lot under the trees (above the pavilion) or remain in your car for the service. Worship will be streamed online via
Facebook Live and posted later on YouTube.

In sunny weather, those with lawn chairs please park your car closer to the church or in the Flea Market parking area, to allow those who remain in their cars to park closer to the worship service area.
In overcast weather, the worship area may be set up under the entry portico and parking will need to be adjusted accordingly.
In rainy weather, the worship area will be set up inside the Narthex and
streamed online.


Prayer Requests and Hospitality:

The Cokesbury UMC Prayer Group meets weekly at the church on Mondays at 5:30pm in the church Fellowship Hall – all are invited to join and participate!
Please send or share all prayer concerns with Pastor Gayle so we may give each concern prayerful attention. 

October Birthdays
Tom Taylor (10/04),
Michael Obeng (10/08),
Mary B Crist (10/10),
Shelby Wilson (10/11),
Diana Delozier (10/18),
Don Dorton (10/19),
LeRoy Bennett (10/19),
Harry Fizer (10/22),
Leo Bonner (10/22),
Blair Wilson (10/26),
Carlos Kuvaszko (10/28),
Wenona Marques (10/30),
Vera Edmonds (10/31)

Continuing prayers and concerns for: Gloria Baltimore, Eunice Bonner, Deirdre Dorsey, Mary Jane and Harry Fizer, Jane Foster, Tom Fabricius, Al Firth, Kathy French, Marian Benson Ivy, Mary Jewell, Kyle & Peggy Keen, Ellen Kuvasko, Bruce MacGruder, Cheryl Petitt, Rev Gayle Porias, Mark Young


Please continue your mitigation efforts. Wear a mask, socially distance, and get vaccinated. Virginia infection rates appear to have plateaued but now needs to proceed to trend downward.

The FDA has granted full approval to the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine. This releases the vaccine from emergency use approval and is now fully approved for two doses, three weeks apart, for anyone 16 and older. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines remain under Emergency Use Authorization.

The FDA has approved booster 3rd shots for some immunocompromised individuals. Please check with your doctor to see if you may be eligible. Here is the
full FDA statement, and the CDC followup statement of August 13th.

All of Virginia is now in Open Season vaccine eligibility. Every Virginian 12 and older is eligible for vaccination and pre-registration is no longer required.

Many local retailers offer vaccinations, so please see this page for current availability. You can input a zip code and distance to find locations.

Gander Mountain Vaccine Site Reopens Thursday Oct 7: Beginning Thursday, October 7, 2021, a Community Vaccination Center (CVC) will be opening offering First, Second, Third, and Booster doses for the Pfizer BioNtech vaccine in the Prince William Health District. The CVC will be operated by Prince William Health District  (PWHD), Virginia Department of Health (VDH), and Ashbritt, a vaccination vendor. The location is the former Gander Mountain store, 14011 Worth Avenue, Woodbridge, VA 22192. The CVC will have appointments from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Mondays through Saturdays. Walk-ins accepted.

Visit this page if you need a record of your COVID-19 vaccination record.

For more information, please visit:Prince William County COVID-19 Testing Site
Prince William County Coronavirus Site
Virginia Coronavirus Site
CDC Coronavirus Site



This Sunday, Oct. 10 @ 11:30
, is our community outreach program, Messy Church. It is our first time with this particular approach. Come out!  There will be stories, crafts and food. The Methodist men are grilling hamburgers and hot dogs. The rest is pot luck. We do need 1 more salad and 1 more bowl of beans. It will be held outside under the pavilion and in the parking lot.

An additional way to serve our neighbors is to donate food stuffs for the local food pantry. Just a can a week will make a difference. Bring it with you when you come to church, or drop it by the church. We make a difference in someone’s life when we give to our community. In September we donated 68 lbs. of food.  Help stop hunger. Bring a can or two!!

Cokesbury’s Annual Charge Conference will be held Sunday, October 24th after the worship service. Please make plans to attend.

Operation Christmas Child collection week is November 15th – 22nd. The program web site provides information about selecting items to include, how to pack a shoebox, and drop off locations. In Woodbridge, drop off is at First Baptist Church, 13600 Minnieville Road. You can find other locations here. Drop off times will vary, so please check the web site. If you have your box to Cokesbury by Sunday November 14th, we will be sure it is delivered to First Baptist. You can also build a box online, here.

Cokesbury’s Administrative Council met on Monday, Sept 27th, for its first formal meeting in 18 months.The Cokesbury UMC budget for 2022, approved and submitted by the Finance Committee, was reviewed and adopted by unanimous consent. Among other business covered, initial preparations were made for Cokesbury’s annual Charge Conference, which will be held on Sunday, October 24th, following worship.

“Questions God Asks Us”
, by Trevor Hudson, Small Group Discussion is every Wednesday at 7pm.  Trevor identifies 9 questions God asks in the Bible.  Participation is offered in-person and on Zoom.  The book can be purchased on Amazon or Upper Room.


ACTS (Action in Community Through Service) has many volunteer opportunities available. Please visit their website for more information.
Visit Volunteer Prince William for local volunteer opportunities.


Book Review: Starting Your Messy Church
by Lucy Moore and Jane Leadbetter

The authors write that their 58-page book is a beginner’s guide for churches that tells everything needed to start a Messy Church. They applauded the existence of other resources one can tap into later including a comprehensive volume, a video, website materials, and experienced Messy Church Ministries in various communities. However, the authors believe that there is enough information, instructions, and directions in this simply written book for one to consider if this ministry is for your church. This book also shares strategies and techniques to minimize some of the challenges that leads to questions about the efficacy of such ministry.

The overriding goal for starting a Messy Church is to facilitate families to get to know Jesus. Subsets are making disciples, accommodating those who have not found a church home and getting to know Jesus through a shared experience. Some of the obstacles include the amount of hard work and dealing with people who are less committed to being successful in making disciples.

According to the authors, by definition, Messy Church is a form of church for children and adults that is centered around creativity, celebration, and hospitality and is attracted to people who are yet to locate a home church. There are typically four ingredients to a successful Messy Church and they are welcome, activity time, celebration/overt worship and meal and held typically once a month.

Messy Church is designed to welcome people of all ages who are at various stages of their faith journey. Projected outcomes are many. For example, the old and experienced Christian benefit from exposure to the young and inexperienced, children and adult teach each other, and the Christian community share with those who are struggling to find Jesus. The shared learning is multidimensional to include social, formal, and informal learning which is done through exploration of the Bible, using activities and storytelling, formal and informal conversation and education, and social learning. Another important goal for participants is to take what they have learned back to their families and others with whom they make contact. Primary learning modality is more informal than formal; thereby, contributing to a more comfortable method of learning and acceptance to the overall goals and objectives.

Typically, the population that gravitates to Messy Church Ministry are ones who are reticent participants, so warm and sincere welcomes are very inviting and reassuring. Therefore, the welcome might look like and feel like a casual gathering of friends with conversations, coloring, chatting, eating snacks, and drinking a beverage.

The activity portion is Bible themed and might include anywhere from 5 to 10 activities that are appealing to ages, stages, gender, and ethnicity of the participants. And hopefully gauging when enough is enough will come with time, experience, and population of the day.

The celebration is in keeping with the theme of the day and feels contextually like worship. The authors say that it is a celebration of God, his redeeming work manifested through Jesus, our lives and identity in his story, community, family and individual lives.

The meal is designed to nourish our bodies and soul. It is a time when everyone convenes together as equals and in a noncompetitive spirit.

These four elements intersect by building and enhancing relationships and becoming comfortable with God through words and actions.

The authors emphasize the importance of networking if one is committed to making this ministry a success in one’s church and broader community. The importance of networking is indirectly sharing the burden and joy that the successful ministry brings. Networking brings about problem solving, sharing successes and failures, and continued dialogue about how to maintain the purity of the model.

Networking also includes making appointments to visit other Messy Churches with prepared questions since the churches maintain the same model. However, contextually you can expect each to look and feel different.

The authors briefly point out what you may expect, both good and bad. Look out for unexpected talent to raise its beautiful head, a slow start for people wanting to be assured that what you are offering is exactly what they need, the challenge of integrating the stages with the ages, adding ethnic and cultural differences of the participants and team leaders, and convincing folks that Messy Church and Sunday church are not synonymous.

And finally, the authors provide a blueprint for selecting, organizing, sustaining and evaluating the Messy Church Team to include a planning team, a competent leader for each of the four sections, and a team of leader helpers. They ask that you understand that growth requires more leaders and helpers, and it is important that the entire congregation buy into the concept and concretely contribute.

My favorite direct quote and one paraphrased from the book are, “Keep a record of God Moments” and that making disciples is slow faithful work, especially if you are serving individuals and families who have been hurt by a church or their private lives are a little messy.

I recommend reading this book the moment you hear about it to discern if this sounds like a ministry you want to start. Once you make that preliminary decision, go to the references listed in this book and douse yourself with the information. If it is still clicking with you, go for it for as the authors said, “God is not limited by mistakes and that his strength is made perfect in our weakness.”

As a personal aside, if you are not aware, Cokesbury United Methodist Church, under the pastoral leadership of Rev. Gayle Porias, made that decision to have a Messy Church Ministry. It will have its first ministry Sunday, October 10th, at 11:30am, located under the Pavilion as well as in the parking lot. All are invited. There are ways to serve, even if you don’t plan to be there. For example, ask if you can buy arts and craft supplies or food for their meals or set up for the activities. This will be an ongoing ministry and will needs lots of support and participation.

Eunice Bonner, the reviewer of this book, is a member of Cokesbury. She ordered and read this book shortly after Pastor Gayle expressed that starting a Messy Church Ministry to be one of her visions for the church. This book, along with other books on Messy Churches, can be ordered from Amazon and received quickly.


Reminders and Links:Keep an eye on Cokesbury UMC’s Facebook page and website for periodic updates and items of interest.
  – The worship message is streamed online every Sunday at 10am on Facebook. You can find previous worship messages there as well.

Cokesbury UMC Facebook Page
Worship Services – YouTube
Time of Prayer – YouTube
Cokesbury UMC Web Site
Common Lectionary Daily Readings

For Tithes and Offerings:

 – Join us for Sunday Worship,
 – Online via Cokesbury’s PayPal page,
 – Via mail to Cokesbury UMC, 14806 Blackburn Road, Woodbridge, VA 22191,
 – Via the mail slot next to the upstairs door at the church.

If you shop at Amazon, please use our AmazonSmile access link to direct a portion (0.5%) of the price of eligible sales to Cokesbury UMC (it will not change the prices you pay): 


Above Water Manatee Cam– Homosassa Springs – Discover what’s been called “The most beautiful river and springs in the world” and a sanctuary for Manatees and an astounding number of fresh and saltwater fish. Homosassa headspring, where this camera is positioned above water, is unique in that the main vents flow from three points underground with each vent having different salt content and water quality. The three sources blend together in the basin before exiting down the spring run and into the Homosassa River. Due to this, the Homosassa Spring is filled with a variety of saltwater and freshwater fish species and perhaps known best as a warm water haven for wintering West Indian Manatees.

Jesus Paid It All – Celtic Worship, Steph Macleod


God be with you til we meet again,
Walter and Eunice
Cokesbury UMC Church Council Co-Chairs

Volume 2.26 – 10/6/2021

Book Review Index:
2021-09-22: God Always Has a Plan Bby Zondervan Publishing,
Homegoingby Yaa Gyasi,2021-09-01: My Beautiful Broken Shell, Words of Hope to Refresh the Soulby Carol Hamblet Adams,
2021-08-25: “
When You Lose Someone You Love” by Randy Petersen,
2021-07-07: “
How To Hug A Porcupine. Easy ways to Love The Difficult People In Your Life”  by Sean K. Smith, June Eding, Debbie Joffe Ellis2021-06-30: “The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls,
2021-06-23: “
The Confessions of Saint Augustine” translated with an introduction and notes by John K. Ryan,2021-06-16: Angel in Aisle 3by Kevin West with John Frederick Edwards,2021/06/09: Just As I Am” by Cicely Tyson,
2021/06/02: Koren Tanakh, the Jewish Study Bible, the NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible, and the Emphatic Diagott by various authors,
A Time for Mercy by John Grisham,2021/04/28: Born a Crime. Stories from A South African Childhood by Trevor Noah,2021/04/21: Caring for Mother: A Daughter’s Long Goodbye by Virginia Stem Owens,2021/04/14: “The Earth Shall Weep: A History of Native America” by James Wilson,
2021/03/24: “
The Jesus Storybook Bible” authored by Sally Lloyd-Jones & illustrated by Jago,
2021/01/13: “
The Shocking History of Phosphorus: A Biography of the Devil’s Element by John Emsley,2020/12/30: “The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson,2020/12/16: “African Americans and Africa: A New History” by Nemata Amelia Ibitayo Blyden,
2020/12/09: “
Living Courageously by Joyce Meyer,
40 Years in the Wilderness by Norma Jean Burnette,
Mommy Couldn’t Find Her Eyelashes by Mary Jane Fizer

Bio sketch index:
Mary Baker-9/16/20, Gloria Baltimore-9/2/20, Diana Bauer-7/8/20, LeRoy Bennett, Jr-9/30/20, Nemata Blyden-12/23/20, Leo Bonner-7/1/20, Norma Burnett-3/17/21, Mary Crist-5/27/20, Kitty Drabczyk-5/26/21, Peggy Embrey-10/28/20, Barbara Firth-1/6/21, Mary Jane Fizer-10/14/20, Gordon Freeman-7/29/20, Brandon Grabher-Meyer-11/11/20, Winnie Hogan-10/7/20, Ed Horne-8/12/20, Linda Irby-6/17/20, Marian Ivy-6/24/20, Rita Johnson-8/5/20, Hasanatu Kamara-9/23/20
, Kyle Keen-9/9/20, Bob Kucharuk-10/21/20, Carlos Kuvaszko-8/26/20, Ellen Kuvaszko-8/19/20, Wendy Lamptey-7/22/20, Barbara Wagner-5/5/21, Bunny Wirick-1/20/21, Louise Young-1/27/21
Spotlight Recipe Index:7 Can Soup-9/15/21, Beef Stew-7/14/21, Best Meatloaf-8/18/21, Chicken Corn Soup-2/23/21, Chili-2/3/21, Cream of Potato Soup-3/3/21, Easy Skillet Meatloaf-8/11/21, Enchilada Soup-2/10/21, Ham & Bean Soup-2/17/21, Mac and Cheese-7/28/21, Meatloaf-8/4/21, Pizza-7/21/21, Pumpkin Soup-3/10/21, Sweet Buttermilk Cornbread-9/29/21