(thankful to Joyce Beales who provides us with this monthly recap.)
Last week on my facebook feed, a portrait of Punxsutawney Phil surfaced with the caption, “Y’aaalll thought I was kiddin,’ didn’t you?” Well, Phil, we had certainly hoped you were kidding! Yep! The 135th Ground Hog Day came and went and Pennsylvania’s famous furry weather prognosticator saw his shadow . . . my, did he ever?! Normally a celebration that draws tens of thousands of spectators to the tiny, western Pennsylvania hamlet of Gobbler’s Knob [last year 40,000], this year there were only a few photographers and cameramen, Phil’s handlers and a faux audience of cardboard human cutouts. Yes, COVID-19 has even shut down dear old Phil! He was definitely on target about the weather, though. With the exception of one balmy 60F day near the end of the month, the remainder of the month was cloudy and cold; rainy; often icy or very windy. Thanks a lot, Phil! All isn’t lost, however. I’m told Phil did predict an early and beautiful Spring.
In fact, the weather early in the month was such that we cancelled in-person worship two Sundays in a row; we all tuned in to the live stream instead. A BIG thank you to pastoral staff and the wonderful tech guys who came out in the ice to make this happen! With weather much better by the third Sunday, we returned to our regular schedule—including the called business meeting to consider a couple of issues. The first: to renovate the first floor of the 1954 building, with CBC’s commitment at $250,000, and to host an Adult Day program. The second motion to consider was that the Trustees be empowered to sell the church-owned property located at 317 S. West Street. Both motions were unanimously approved by those in attendance as well as call-in-votes from members who participated via Zoom.
PACT is going strong and recently tweaked their schedule to 4-7:00 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. GriefShare is back in their 5 p.m. time slot on Sunday evenings, and Nights of Worship on first and third Saturday evenings with Alex Smith and friends is another great addition to the CBC worship lineup! It’s great music in an informal atmosphere. Our Sunday Vesper’s service at 4:00 p.m. (2nd & 4th Sundays) continues to be a highlight as Becky Murdock shared her testimony this past month. The twice-a-week Bible study with Hans and Dan continues to be strong as well. Just in case you’ve missed a session or two, tune in to our Youtube channel to catch up.
I hope you are watching the Youtube videos for Lent–they feature folks from our church family sharing their favorite Scripture passages and prayer. You’ll “see” many familiar faces in the coming weeks leading up to Easter. And . . . look for many unique opportunities to worship this year—keep your eyes on the E-News for details. As a prelude to Easter, Randy Sheets has just begun posting a series of hymns for Lent on Youtube featuring the organ he is building at his home. He shared the first one February 23. Watch for them! It’s Randy at his best doing what he loves. . .and you’ll enjoy the tidbits he shares about his exciting project. Fascinating!
Our regular volunteers were back mid-month to make deliveries of USDA boxes to senior adults in the area. Thanks guys and gals—we couldn’t do it without you! For those kept in by the weather, several webinars were available covering timely topics such as veterans benefits, staying ahead of Medicare and COVID scams and a third featuring information about caregiving which is on-going for 6 weeks—all good information to have! Look for the return of the senior adult luncheons soon with details in upcoming issues of the E-News. It’s a good way to ease back into getting out and about again.
Last, but certainly not least, it’s time to begin thinking about church softball again! Stop by the church office to sign up—a sure sign that warmer weather is coming. Well, that about takes care of THIS month. See you in April—be well
Happy New Year! Despite the pandemic, we cautiously celebrated Christmas but settled for a lot less fanfare around New Year’s. All-in-all, the weather so far is typical of January here in our little hamlet near the foothills of the Blue Ridge—nose-tingling cold temperatures and a little snow and ice here and there.
BIG News! It’s time to celebrate the reduction of our current mortgage balance—we’re below $700,000 NOW! Thank you for your continued generosity! We paid $50,000 in September and another $68,768 THIS month. The other big topic this month centers around an opportunity for CBC to exercise good stewardship of our campus and at the same time to meet a significant community need—by hosting an adult day ministry on the first floor of the 1954 building [where the current administrative offices and chapel area are located now]. More about this on the church website and also the Homebound News.
The 20 Somethings rang in the New Year to the music of Crowder, Kari Jobe, and Cody Carnes and speakers like Tim Tebow right here in our Worship Center along with 700,000 young adults all over the world at the 2020 virtual Passion Conference! They began 2020 at the Passion Conference at Mercedes Benz stadium in Atlanta and ended the year at the virtual Passion Conference right here in our own Culpeper! Our “20 Somethings” have just started a new study “Relationship Goals” and a social time on Monday nights. This group is active and growing!
We began a new worship schedule at the beginning of the month. The in-person service is now 9:00 a.m. on Sunday morning, with the live stream coming a little later at 10:00 a.m. Two new services are planned, 4:00 p.m. Vespers on the second and fourth Sundays and 6:00 p.m. Nights of Worship on the first and third Saturday evenings. These changes allow us to continue to connect with our church family as well as the local community.
Mid-month our own Alex Smith participated in a virtual presentation of the mini musical, Songs that Moved the Masses, from the Little Washington Theatre located in Rappahannock county, in observance of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday. I hope you caught Alex’s powerful rendition of ‘Make Them Hear You!’ This year’s theme was “The Fierce Urgency of Now.”
Like a modern-day pied piper, Miss Jeanine continues to lead chapel with the little ‘scholars’ of our child development center. On warmer days they gather outside in the sunshine, but these cold, January days, the carpeted sanctuary vestibule makes for a soft seat! Kudos to our CDC for ‘being there’ throughout this pandemic and keeping their doors open to help local families cope! A BIG THANK YOU to all the staff!
PACT is our free tutoring and encouragement night that happens Tuesday and Thursday evenings and Sunday afternoons. This past month we had an 8th grader and her mom struggling with science — you should have seen their faces when our PACT folks helped her successfully complete an assignment.
Converge for middle and high school students continues to meet on Wednesdays from 6:00-8:00 p.m. Their current series is “moods” – do you remember some “moods” you got in when you were a teenager? Keep praying for this community youth ministry.
I don’t think anyone was sorry to see the last of 2020! It was, to echo the thoughts of so many others, a ‘year like no other,’ at least in my lifetime! Despite the pandemic, the lockdowns and yes, the loss of life, we were blessed during this past year with God’s continual presence in our lives and His unfailing love. Until next month, stay well.