2024 Monthly Recap

(we are grateful to Joyce Beales who is now in her 6th year of writing ministry recaps!) March 2024 Recap March has been as unpredictable as a thunderstorm in tornado alley! Sunny and warm one moment, windy and cold the next; rainy, foggy and everything in between! Just when you think warm weather might be here to stay, BOOM! Grey skies open, weeping as a thin grey mist crawls down the windowpanes, bone-chilling cold makes your teeth chatter and the wind whistles through the stark leafless trees like a run-away train! Never mind, the earth is waking from her winter rest—the Robins have returned, the grass is getting green, tulips are blooming—soon we’ll be “commenting” about the heat. If you have’t attended our 1st & 3rd Wednesdays lately, you might want to consider attending—the food is great, the fellowship is warm and inclusive and ‘there’s something for everyone.’  Young adults, teens and children as well as adults of all ages touch base in their small groups throughout the month with Bible study, games and social events. Senior adults are taking advantage of the fun and innovative program, Stronger Memories,’ that launched the first of March. Whether you are on the spectrum of mild cognitive impairment or simply want to thrive as you age, you’ll enjoy this fun and entertaining mind workout.  Just 20-30 minutes per day reading aloud, writing, and completing simple math problems will have you firing neurons and reveling in all those synapses in no time. Come on and join us! Mid-month, the fabulous Nathaniel Gumbs opened our 2024 Concert Series with a marvelous program spanning musical genres such as classical, African American spirituals, and Gospel—to name a few!  Dr. Gumbs, who currently serves as the Interim Minister of Music and Fine Arts at the historic Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, NY, was recognized in 2017 by The Diapason magazine for his achievements. He is a first generation, self-taught church musician who started to learn the piano and organ around age 10 but did not have his first formal organ lesson until he was in college! If you missed his concert, you missed a real treat. However, there are six more concerts scheduled, with Claire Jones, one of Britain’s finest classical harpists, joining us April 9 at 7:00 p.m. The annual Way of the Cross Prayer Walk, uniting churches in the Community as they prepare for Easter, happened on a drizzly Saturday—forced inside this year because of spring rains. Culpeper United Methodist Church quickly pivoted and opened their doors rather than cancel the event. Thank You to our friends across the way! Palm Sunday launched Holy Week with an enthusiastic procession at the 9:00 a.m. service on March 24. Kids and their parents came into the sanctuary waving palm leaves, commemorating Jesus’ triumphal entry to Jerusalem and the events leading up to the cross. Our Maundy Thursday service was held in the sanctuary with the communion table in the center of the room and the chairs arranged around the table.  We reflected on the centrality of the table and Jesus’ invitation to all of us.   Our Good Friday service was held in the courtyard as we shared in the scriptures and songs of the cross.  On Sunday morning, we welcomed Easter at The Culpeper with a sunrise service at 7:00 a.m. Later that morning, our church family gathered in the sanctuary to joyously celebrate the resurrection and all that it means to us as believers!  We were especially glad to unveil the painting of “The First Easter” at Mt. Poney.  Alessandra Cortese de Bosis is the artist that painted this for us and it is a beautiful rendering of how the first Easter of our church might have looked.  We provided hand signed prints of the painting to all who attended. Thus, another month has drawn to a close in the life of our church. This is a small glimpse of the many ways our church impacts those around us in the Name of Jesus. Until next month, stay well. February 2024 Recap Even with an extra day, February has passed by like a whirlwind! And. . . speaking of  wind, we are right on the cusp of March—when winds howl and you might even see a snow flake or two—the weather is that unpredictable!  I hope we’ll enjoy some 70 degree days next month—as a precursor to a warm and sunny spring! Unlike January when we cancelled Acoustic Café because of wintry weather, February brought our old friends, Ronnie Williams and the Carter Family Sound, back to Culpeper for an engaging evening of country music performed in the style of the famous Carter Family of country music fame.   The lilting music of the Carter family sprang from down Southwest Virginia way and came to full flower in Henrico County, the Carter’s base of operations—just a few miles southeast of here.  Amazing!  Many thanks to Geary Parkinson for continuing to treat us to a musical feast with many of his friends and neighbors. Our kickoff of the 250th year-long Anniversary is in full swing, now, with the coming of Dr. Bob Roberts early in the month and Rob Fox, a returning alumnus of youth intern fame.    Dr. Roberts, son of a Baptist preacher from a small town in East Texas, is a trailblazer and leading thinker in the areas of peacemaking and international religions; as well as a champion of evangelism and what it looks like to live out the commitment to love others who are different from us.  He is founder of GlocalNet and Multi-Faith Neighbors Network—non-profits that help to create and encourage religious freedom through international, cross cultural relationships.  His message was timely and challenged us to think through why religious freedom for others means religious freedom for us and how our fears can be a hindrance in reaching others for Christ. Conversely, Rob Fox, a former member and youth intern at CBC during the 1990s, shared a wonderful testimony of how our support and encouragement during that time influenced the trajectory of his life and subsequent call to the ministry.  Look for other alumni to return throughout the year.  In fact, Allen Taliaferro and his family will visit in March, and Allen will preach in both services the first Sunday! As many of you have heard, Amy Martin, Director of the Child Development Center for the past decade, has resigned to spend more time with her family.  Staff hosted a farewell reception during the month, giving friends and church members an opportunity to express their appreciation for all of her hard work.  Thank YOU, Amy!  Best wishes to you and your family.  Meanwhile, the CDC Board is on the search for another Director. Our worship team visited Highlands Church in southwest Virginia near the end of the month to glean ideas from their worship and children’s ministries.  Always friendly and welcoming, Highlands staff made everyone feel right at home and invited Lindsay and Christina to participate in worship with them. If small group activities are more your ‘cup of tea,’ the month was chocked full of those activities as well.  The youth went snow tubing, our men’s group gathered for a Saturday breakfast and Bible study, the senior adults delivered USDA food boxes to area folks, and we gathered for dinner and special music from Christina and Lindsay on Valentine’s evening.  Speaking of Valentine’s Day, the little people from the Child Development Center brought hand-crafted valentines to the clients of Generations Central and visited for awhile, too! All-in-all, February was busy as CBC shared the love of Jesus with each other and our surrounding community.  If you’re wondering how you can plug in to the network, give Pastor Dan or Hans a call, they can always steer you toward an area that will utilize your gifts and talents.  Until next month, stay well, and may you be blessed! January  My goodness, January was hardly more than a hazy blur.  The weather was a mixed bag with lots of grey, foggy days, a little snow/ice and even one 80F day that blew the temperature records off the charts!  Typical Virginia weather. . . always changing.  Acoustic Café was even cancelled due to inclement weather—to the dismay of their fans. Over 30 of our folks traveled to Montpelier January 13th, to hear John Ragosta, historian at the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello, discuss James Madison’s contribution to the development of religious freedom here in Virginia and the United States.  Pastor Dan also discussed the role and legacies of dissenting Baptist ministers in the national story of religious freedom.  His presentation focused in particular on the connection of Culpeper Baptist’s/Mt. Poney’s involvement through the efforts of John Leland and Baptists in and around Culpeper.  During the birth of our country, Baptist ministers and lay people in this area were instrumental in persuading Madison to address the religious freedom issue.  Many of these same men were arrested and put in the Culpeper jail.  Nevertheless, they continued to preach the Gospel.   Thank You for your generosity during the Matching Gift Challenge! We exceeded our $100,000 match with a total giving of $124,300!  We are making a payment of $400,000 on our debt, lowering the total debt to $1,200,000 (which includes the $450,000 debt we had on the 2012 building when we started the sanctuary building renovation).    In addition, we received over $52,000 this year for Christmas Missions, which was $15,000 more than our previous year!  Over the past 2 years, we have sent more than $200,000 to meet the needs of churches in Ukraine, Pakistan and Israel and Gaza.  Staff mailed end of year giving statements near the end of the month.  For questions, contact Mark Torosian. All of our small groups are back from their Christmas break.  The young adult group gathered to study Martin Luther King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail, the youth group is planning a snow tubing event soon, and the senior adults are busy planning a Spring trip to Charleston, SC.   As you know from past recaps, Amy Martin will be leaving us in February.  Well- wishers and staff gathered near the end of the month for a reception and dinner in her honor.  Amy was instrumental in leading our Child Development Center through a crucial expansion of their ministry to families here in Culpeper.  We wish you well, Amy.  Come back and visit with us often. Friends, this is just a small sample of the happenings within our church family.  Thank you for the many ways you participate and support our church and its’ ministries.  Hoping to see you Sunday at Dr. Bob Roberts’ workshop!  Stay well and I’ll chat with you next month.
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