Welcome!

Welcome to Providence Presbyterian Church
in Gum Spring, Virginia!
We are a small, historic, country church serving a big, living, world-loving God.
Our mission is to share God’s abundant love in the counties of Goochland and Louisa
(and beyond!) … and we have been doing it since 1747!
Whether you are looking for a church home or just plan to visit,
we invite you to come and see what God is doing in our midst.

Both Ears Tingling

The Reverend Dr. Lynn McClintock blessed the people of Providence on July 26 by leading worship and preaching on 1 Samuel 3:1-18, in which God speaks to Samuel for the first time.  The interaction between the chief priest Eli and the young boy Samuel is both sweet and heartbreaking, and Lynn addressed both elements of their relationship.  Readers often focus with this story on God speaking with one of His people (Samuel) for the first time in hundreds of years.  But Lynn focused also on Eli’s apparent need to hear from God through an intermediary, in this case Samuel — a lesson that we modern Christians also can and should take to heart.  You can listen to Lynn’s insightful sermon at this link.

PPC Sermon 7-26-15

Youth Sunday

Providence’s youth led the worship service on July 19.  With guidance from David Youel and Marti Wunsh, our youth welcomed everyone, prayed, read scripture and “led” the congregation in song.  The director of Goochland Young Life, Will Funk, gave the message and, with Henry’s help, introduced us to the work — and play — of Young Life, which brings junior high and high school youth into relationship with Jesus Christ.  Thanks to Will and to Maggie, Samantha, Adam, Ethan, Steven, David, Forrest, Henry and Jack for leading our joyful worship service!

7-19 Worship1

Meet a member … Nancy and Jim Walker

jim walker and berries

“All the believers were one in heart and mind.  No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but thy shared everything they had.”  Acts 4: 32.

Anyone who steps foot in Providence will quickly meet Jim and Nancy Walker, two very loving and friendly members of the Providence family.  Jim and Nancy moved to Louisa County from Richmond in 1974.  They raised their daughter Amy and son Patrick on their farmstead on Paynes Mill Road.

The entire community looks forward to summer … and the bounties of Jim’s amazing garden.  Jim’s rows of thornless blackberries are the subject of many a cold winter’s daydream … memories of walking among the rows in the early morning, cool dew soaking the hem of our blue jeans … or the feeling of the hot evening sun beating on our back as we reach deep beneath the shade of the vines to snag the perfect plump berry.  Jim and Nancy invite their friends and neighbors to “c’mon over and pick a few.”  We leave with bowls bursting with ripe fruit, a few ears of corn and squash thrown in for good measure.  We will make jam and pies and freeze the rest.  Nancy will pull out a blackberry cobbler or even barbeque sauce in the fall.

None of this just happens.  The Walkers’ gardens require a great deal of time and energy to produce a harvest, but they just give it away.  Jim and Nancy take joy in sharing.  They plant abundantly and share all they have.  They freeze what’s left and share that too.

What would Jesus do?  He’d invite us into the garden to work beside him.  He’d invite in those who never even lifted a finger, those who were complete strangers to him.  Pull up a chair, let me get you a bowl of warm cobbler with ice cream on top.  Generous, welcoming, joyful, not judging … and kind, arms open wide with a big grin on his face.

“Do you need any blackberries?”  Sounds like someone we know!

Preschool Yard Sale on Saturday July 18

yard sale flyer

A yard sale to benefit the Providence Preschool will take place on Saturday, July 18, from 8 am until 2 pm!!!  An impressive array of valuable items at VERY GOOD prices will be available.  The location is 837 Cross Country Road (Route 522), next to the Dairy Queen.  At the same time as the yard sale, Providence’s youth will be hosting a lemonade stand, with cookies, brownies and other treats also for sale, benefitting Pediatric Cancer Care at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond.

To all readers of this blog who live within a 50-mile radius of Gum Spring … we look forward to seeing you on July 18!

Traveling Light

We expect a conquering hero to receive a hero’s welcome when he returns to his hometown.  So when Jesus “went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples” (Mark 6:1) right after an awesome display of power in raising Jairus’ daughter from the dead (Mark 5:41-42 — listen to Pastor Karen’s June 28 sermon!) a parade of proud Nazarenes was in order.  It therefore seems shocking that the people mocked and “took offense at him” (Mark 6:3)!  Why?  As Jesus himself explained, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town” (6:4).  In response to Nazareth’s skepticism and lack of faith, “Jesus went around teaching from village to village.  [Then] calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits” (6:6-7).  Not only that, but Jesus told his disciples to travel light … to “take nothing for the journey but a staff” (6:8).  They succeeded wildly in this endeavor, “drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them” (6:13).  And this success came because the disciples took on their journey not full suitcases but the love and power of God.  Pastor Karen Witt’s July 5 sermon is a lovely meditation on the freedom of “traveling light” with Jesus.  You can hear it at this link.

PPC Sermon 7-5-15

Power in Vulnerability

As a middle class, middle-aged, 21st Century American male, I am bombarded by society, culture, media and other messengers with the admonition — sometimes subtle and other times not — that I should NOT show vulnerability.  To be vulnerable is to let your guard down, show weakness, risk harm, open yourself to ridicule.  Sunday’s gospel lesson, Mark 5:21-42, presents lessons on vulnerability that defy society’s point of view.  The audacious faith of the woman “who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years” and of Jairus, a synagogue leader whose daughter was dying, was born of their desperation and willingness to be vulnerable before Jesus.  Pastor Karen Witt’s sermon delves deeply into the stories of these people and the eternal value of acknowledging our powerlessness to our loving and all powerful God.  You can listen to Karen’s sermon here.

PPC Sermon 6-28-15

The Shamelessly Compassionate Father

Pastor Karen Witt’s Fathers Day sermon on the well-known story of the prodigal son is a good reminder of the value of historical context to our appreciation of the richness and deep meaning of the biblical text.  Sunday’s gospel lesson was the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:1-3, 11-32), with Pastor Karen focusing her message on the father.  To gain an understanding of the father’s shameless compassion and radical forgiveness of his son (and to learn about the ancient Jewish tradition of kezazah, in which the community shamed and rejected one like the prodigal who had frittered away his inheritance) listen to Karen’s sermon at the following link.  The amazing application of the story for our own lives will become crystal clear from hearing and contemplating her message.

PPC Sermon 6-21-15