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.

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

The Family of God

The gospel lesson following our celebration of the Lord’s Supper on June 7 was Mark 3:20-35, in which Jesus’ family appears to want to see him out of concern that he is doing — or at risk of doing — some crazy things:  “Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him.  A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, ‘Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.’  ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ he asked.  Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers!  Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.'”  Mark 3:31-35.  Pastor Karen Witt’s sermon vividly described the ties that bind the members of God’s family together … starting with Jesus’ crazy, uncontainable love for us.

PPC Sermon 6-7-15

Our New Playground Is In!

Our new playground equipment arrived on June 5th!  Bill Waters supervised the installation of the equipment.  The crew came from Northern Virginia and transformed our playground into a safe, modern, colorful place for kids to play.  A couple days later, new mulch was delivered and spread on the playground by Bill and Jim Walker.  Providence is most grateful to Bill, Jim and the generous donors who made the new playground a reality … just in time for Vacation Bible School! Playground1  Playground2

Lord of the Dance

“Who we think God is matters.”  That may seem obvious when you see it on the page, but most of us seldom consider why our mental image of God — both conscious and subconscious — might matter.  As Pastor Karen Witt noted in her Trinity Sunday sermon on May 31, it matters for both how we relate to God and how we see and deal with the world.  Whatever our deeply imbedded images of God may be, Pastor Karen taught that the doctrine of the Trinity can widen our vision of who God is.  She explained that, contrary to common misconception, the Trinity is not characterized by a Father-Son-Spirit hierarchy or by a God bent on judgment and punishment.  Rather, the doctrine of the Trinity emphasizes loving relationship, fellowship and community among equals.  Pastor Karen invited us to pay attention this week to our mental images of God as we think about and pray to God.  We invite you to listen to Karen’s thought-provoking and encouraging message about our loving Triune God.

PPC Sermon 5-31-15

Enlightened Eyes of the Heart

May 17 is Ascension of the Lord Sunday in our lectionary.  We recall Jesus’ time with his disciples after his resurrection, his promise to them of a Comforter, the Holy Spirit, and his ascension into heaven.  Acts 1:1-11.  Pastor Karen Witt’s May 17 sermon weaves the Acts passage with a heartfelt prayer of the apostle Paul:  “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.  I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms.”  Ephesians 1:17-20.  You can hear Karen’s lovely, hopeful sermon here.

PPC Sermon 5-17-15

Onto Perfection

Passages from one of yesterday’s lectionary readings and an insightful devotional series gave me a sense of calm assurance in a storm.  From Hebrews 6:1-3:  “Therefore let us go on toward perfection, leaving behind the basic teaching about Christ, and not laying again the foundation:  repentance from dead works and faith toward God, instruction about baptisms, laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.  And we will do this, if God permits.”  Having a strong foundation for our faith (leaving behind “dead works,” faith in God, baptism as union with Christ, prayer, hope for resurrection), what is it the author(s) of Hebrews would have us do?  Or, perhaps the better question is, how do we permit God to do it for us?  Today I am thinking it might be something along these lines:  “the counter-intuitive nature of the Jesus-journey shows it is not at all about getting, attaining, achieving, performing, or succeeding (all of which tend to pander to the ego).  Jesus’ spirituality is much more about letting go of what we do not need anyway…  Jesus taught us the way of descent, which we later called ‘the way of the cross’…  [L]ive a simple life … a life lived in constant presence to what [is] right in front of [us] … an always present doorway to the divine…  [I]ntegrate the negative — forgiving and accepting the imperfection and woundedness of life.  [As Paul wrote] the supposed inferior or weakest are, in fact, ‘the most indispensable.'”  (Excerpted from Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation, “A Spirituality of Subtraction” (May 18, 2015).)

To God be the glory.  May we grasp hold of and share with the world His love that is “right in front of us.”