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.
This Fall, Providence will explore Stewardship in its broadest sense, the essence of which is beautifully captured in this quote: “Christian stewardship is the practice of the Christian religion. It is neither a department of life nor a sphere of activity. It is the Christian conception of life as a whole, manifested in attitudes and actions.” W.H. Greever (1937). Our theme during this exploration of stewardship will be “This Is Our Story” — borrowed from the old hymn Blessed Assurance. We will be celebrating and remembering the long, rich history of Providence and imagining and looking forward to our future. We will be naming and claiming God’s active presence in our midst, both in the past and now.
During this time current members, former members, former pastors and friends of Providence are invited to share their stories about the church — any memories or experiences that have been meaningful to you. All stories are welcome, especially those about times during which you experienced the blessings of this community of God.
We also are inviting everyone to dream and imagine the possibilities for Providence’s future. What do you envision happening in the next chapter of the Providence story? Where do you see God acting in our midst and calling us to grow?
Please write your stories and email them to Pastor Karen at email@example.com, or mail them to her at the church’s address, P.O. Box 13, Gum Spring VA 23065. Pictures are welcome, too!
On September 20, Pastor Karen Witt preached on Psalm 1: “Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers; but their delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law they meditate day and night. They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.” (NRSV)
The wicked are constantly on the move, always in pursuit of their next scheme. Scoffers are autonomous, self-reliant and self-centered. Their punishment is self-inflicted; they self-destruct.
In contrast, the “happy” delight in God’s law, or “Torah.” They find value and “delight” in connection with God and with fellow believers. They stand together in community, sharing not only one another’s happiness, but also one another’s burdens and pains. They recognize that all they have comes from God, and they share those gifts with others as God moves them.
Karen’s sermon addresses these themes and the motivation of the righteous to be good stewards of God’s gifts. Her thought-provoking sermon is accessible here.
PPC Sermon 9-20-15
The New Testament lesson on which Pastor Karen Witt preached on September 6 is James 2:1-17: “My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, ‘Here’s a good seat for you,’ but say to the poor man, ‘You stand there’ or ‘Sit on the floor by my feet,’ have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong? If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. For he who said, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ also said, ‘You shall not murder.’ If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker. Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment. What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” (NIV) You can listen to Karen’s thought-provoking sermon here.
PPC Sermon 9-6-15
The New Testament lectionary passages for August 30 are James 1:17-27 and excerpts of Mark 7. James is speaking to “mature” Christians, first about the saving faith God graciously bestows on them: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.” James 1:17-18. Then James turns to the outward expression that demonstrates the sincerity of that faith: “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:19-27. Following James’ lead and meditating further on his message, Pastor Karen Witt preached today on faith being not only God’s gift but also a call to action — “faith as a verb.” Karen’s thought-provoking sermon is at the link below.
PPC Sermon 8-30-15
On August 23, Pastor Karen Witt preached on Paul’s marvelous exhortation from Ephesians 6:10-20 to put on the armor of God: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.” Karen’s sermon touches on what Paul — and, before him, Jesus — meant in using battle imagery and bids us to employ God’s armor to love, care and pray for others. You can hear Karen’s lovely sermon at this link.
PPC Sermon 8-23-15
After feeding 5,000 people with five loaves and two fish (and THEN walking on water!) Jesus told the people following him, “I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” John 6:48-51. Many of the people following Jesus were turned off by the idea of eating flesh … not understanding the deeper meaning of what he was saying and how it references his crucifixion, his incarnation as the Word made flesh, and our spiritual need for nourishment only Jesus can provide. Pastor Karen Witt’s August 16 sermon meditates on these ideas as well as the promise that Jesus is “guaranteed wholesome nutrition” for our hungry souls. You can listen to Pastor Karen’s sermon here.
PPC Sermon 8-16-15
On August 9, Pastor Karen Witt preached on Ephesians 4:25-5:2, in which Paul advised the Ephesians to “put off falsehood … bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice” and instead to “follow God’s example.” Karen urged her listeners to “put on Jesus” as the most important and beneficial cover we can wear each day. The 13th century German mystic and theologian Meister Eckhart captured this idea when he wrote: “One ought to keep hold of God in everything and accustom his mind to retain God always among his feelings, thoughts, and loves. Take care how you think of God. As you think of him in church or closet, think of him everywhere. Take him with you among the crowd and turmoil of the alien world.” Listen to Karen’s sermon and meditate on how you can take Jesus with you wherever you go.
PPC Sermon 8-9-15