(thanks to Joyce Beales for providing a monthly summary of the work of the church.)
December brought snow . . . and ice . . . and sleet . . . and power outages! ‘Yes, Virginia,’ winter has arrived in Culpeper with typically cold temperatures along with some of the white stuff, too. Happily, the storm was small and brief with only modest damage sustained from the ice. Despite still being under COVID restrictions, mask mandates and social distancing, JOY and hope remained the hallmarks of our church family this year as we celebrated our Savior’s birth.
All during the month I heard the voices of children peeling like tiny Christmas bells through the hallways of our buildings as they practiced for the livestream service on the 4th Sunday of Advent. And speaking of the Sunday services, each one was special in its own way and the music was particularly meaningful in this year of change and uncertainty.
In the interest of keeping everyone safe, leadership decided early on to forego gathering for business meetings until later in the year. In the meantime, they kept our church family informed through various media such as Facebook, our website, the E-News, etc. By early December, restrictions had eased enough for us to plan a business meeting [in- person as well as by zoom]. The only items on the agenda were the proposed 2021 Ministry Budget and the Leadership Slate for 2021, which were both approved as presented.
We held our annual Christmas Remembrance Service early in the month this year. This is a time when our Church family gathers with the families of deceased church members to celebrate their loved ones’ hope in Jesus Christ. This service was in-person as well as livestreamed, and family members provided video content that included special Biblical passages and remembrances about their loved ones.
Pastor Hans treated us to another Sight and Sound Production mid-month of the Voices of Christmas, which was recorded during their last performance at the older, Living Waters Theatre. Though we were small-in-number it was a great Christmas show, composed of traditional and contemporary carols along with period costumes, no less!
Many in our church family posted daily Advent readings on Facebook this year. Visit our Facebook page to see your friends share their hearts about Christmas. Other members of our church family had an opportunity to be Christmas elves as they delivered USDA food boxes to local members of the Culpeper community and Angel Tree gifts as well. This ministry of Prison Fellowship enables incarcerated parents to provide gifts for their children through the generosity of others. We served 11 families this year. We held our Community Christmas Dinner (drive through this year) and served 80 people. This is a great partnership that includes the Culinary Arts Program of Culpeper County Public Schools.
Alex and his musical friends provided a virtual Blue Ridge Chorale Concert this year that was pre-recorded right here in our sanctuary. Well done, Alex! Speaking of concerts, the three Advent Concerts during the month were great! Our good friends, Louisa Loe and Chuck Seipp, were back this year and Randy and friends performed the last one. Thank you so much for the lovely sounds of the season!
Three options were available for the Christmas Eve service: a 2 o’clock family-friendly service along with a 4 o’clock and 6 o’clock candlelight service that included communion. Christmas Day we were treated to Christmas music throughout the day via the magic of our technology! A play list of the music presented all during the month was available for our listening pleasure.
That about wraps up December [no pun intended] and as 2020 draws to a close, I think we can all agree it has had its share of historical moments and a generous portion of uncertainty as well. Soon we will flip the calendar on a brand-new year. Like freshly fallen snow with nary a footprint anywhere, it stretches before us unmarred by even the tiniest flaw. Let’s help each other to remember that God is still in control even if it looks as if He’s not. Let’s be open to hearing the pain of others and sharing how God has brought us through our difficulties. Let’s help each other remember that life is a precious gift from God, to be unwrapped and appreciated. I’ll see you next year! Be well.
So . . . November was a ‘mixed bag,’ as weather goes. Temperatures haphazardly dipped below freezing, only to soar into the mid-70s a few days later. We even had a nice, fuzzy-crunchy frost one early morning. As the old timers often said, ‘. . .it looked like a young snow. . .’ on my front yard last week. The fall foliage was beautiful, but the dahlias have long since curtsied goodbye and lain their fluffy, powder puff blooms to rest, snuggling down in a blanket of mulch for a long winter’s sleep! It’s definitely, nose-tingling cool in the mornings, now.
Angel Tree, a program of Prison Fellowship that serves incarcerated parents by providing a pathway for strengthening and restoring family relationships, went virtual this year because of, you guessed it, COVID! Here’s the main thing, though—we are reaching out to families with the love of Christ. CBC is serving 11 families this year [28 children]. Hans and his ‘elves’ plan to deliver the gifts Saturday, December 12th.
As we continue to languish in the grip of the COVID pandemic and changing regulations to corral the uptick in infections, there is some good news on the horizon. Vaccines are coming soon! In the meantime, we partnered with Aging Together and hosted a virtual webinar entitled, Coping with the Holidays Through COVID, a goldmine of timely strategies for staying well. A second webinar—also sponsored by Aging Together—was A Walk in the World of Dementia. Designed for family caregivers as well as professionals, this informative workshop focused upon the stages of dementia and the best care strategies.
During the month, we also offered 2 two-hour grief workshops, entitled ‘Surviving the Holidays.’ This helpful seminar, structured much like a single, weekly GriefShare session, provided information and strategies to deal with the complicated emotions folks experience at the holidays in the wake of a loved one’s death. Our thirteen-week grief support group that began in September, ended at the end of the month. Following a short break, we will begin another support group in late winter.
On a lighter note, we had two virtual concerts—one featuring our own Randy Sheets and Chuck Seipp—on Veteran’s Day. The second introduced King’s Cadence, a Christ-centered ministry with a vision to bring Good News and encouragement through music, and provided some good ol’ toe-tapping gospel music. Both concerts were ahhhhmazing! Thanks, guys!
Hans and Dan finished their twice-a-week Bible study of First Corinthians, covering different issues of life and doctrine; divisions and quarrels; law suits among believers; marriage and singles; worship and freedom in Christ; spiritual gifts and even the resurrection—all disciplines that are still relevant today! They moved on to a study of ‘Thankfulness’ in concert with the approaching Thanksgiving holiday; now they’re tackling a study around Advent—the period of waiting and preparation for the celebration of Christ’s birth and His return at the Second Coming. Other on-going Bible studies include the Young Adults, “Take Back Your Life,” and the Youth who are studying [family] “Fam.” It was great to have the Converge Band and our teens lead in the live stream service on November 22!
Our campus underwent a stunning transformation last Sunday, THANKS to all of our wonderful volunteers who spent the entire afternoon ‘hanging the greens’ and dressing the sanctuary in lovely Christmas finery. Even the courtyard is a virtual Christmas Wonderland, courtesy of Maranatha. In a year that has brought unprecedented change and uncertainty; not to mention financial hardship and pain for so many, it is comforting—even reassuring—to participate in the warmth of well-worn holiday traditions. Why? Because the preparation reminds us to prepare our hearts as well as our homes, the greenery points to our eternal life in Christ, the carols remind us of God’s love for us and the special services around Christmas gently tug us toward a God who gave the Best Gift of all—His Son! Enjoy all the Christmas preparations . . . and remember to prepare your heart as well. Until next month, be well.
What a beautiful fall! The leaves are s p e c t a c u l a r this year. Makes me want to hop in the car and take a nice, long drive along Skyland Drive with maybe a stop along the way at a quaint local eatery with an intriguing name . . . like the Three Blacksmiths, located in Sperryville, VA. Despite the Coronavirus dragging on and on with no end in sight yet, October has been a very busy month here at CBC as we continue our gradual re-entry into Community life.
The Thursday Senior Adult Lunch Fellowships have been a welcome change from the monotony of remaining cooped up at home or hurriedly scurrying out to run errands. Consisting of less than a baker’s dozen of folks, these gatherings provide an opportunity for our senior adults to gather in small groups [masked and social distancing] just to catch up on what’s happening with each of us and enjoy some ‘togetherness.’ The warm intimacy of a small group enjoying a simple meal together does wonders for the soul and spirit. I don’t know about you, but I sure do miss my church family! If you would like to join a Thursday lunch, contact Hans (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Early October brought the annual Culpeper Cycling Century bike ride launching from our parking lot. These guys and gals pedaled through some of the most scenic countryside in the state, winding around back roads, up and down rolling hills through Madison, Culpeper and Rappahannock counties. Culpeper Recreation Foundation, a local non-profit that promotes recreation here in Culpeper County, is the beneficiary of this worthwhile event.
Another Covid-related casualty this year—the annual Culpeper Domestic Violence Vigil—went virtual during the month. Pre-recorded in our sanctuary, this event celebrated survivors and remembered victims of domestic abuse. The recent lockdowns, job losses and other unintended, negative consequences of Covid have only exacerbated the problem of domestic abuse—even here in Culpeper. Victims shared powerful stories of hope and resilience during the evening.
In a similar community-minded vein, near the end of the month we also hosted a clothing give-away from our parking lot sponsored by SAFE, as well as a Goodwill job fair at our front entrance that saw a lot of foot traffic, too.
Near the end of October, we hosted the Piedmont CRUSH – National Drug Take Back Day, that provided local residents a ‘hands on’ opportunity to participate in the prevention of drug addiction and drug overdoses by safely discarding old, no longer useful prescription drugs. Studies show that teens and young adults often experiment with drugs because they are easily accessible from the family medicine cabinet! This is a safe, anonymous way to pre-empt that problem, and we are glad to help make our community a safer place to live.
We continue to partner with the Culpeper County Public School system to host technology nights designed to assist students to meet the challenges associated with online learning. With that in mind, we hired several part-time bi-lingual individuals to restart PACT. This is another great way we continue to impact our community with the love of Christ!
Griefshare, Financial Peace University, Converge for teenagers, our Young Adult group and the work of our Child Development Center continues. We are grateful for the new opportunities for ministry we have during this time.
So, the lovely month of October draws to a close in a cloudburst of brilliant red, orange, yellow and rust leaves doing a mad dance as they freefall on the wings of the wind, piling up in fluffy drifts of color—a timely hint that we are ‘way down in the Fall,’ and winter is just around the bend. Until next month, stay well.
Well, September is the last gasp of summer before the fires of autumn color consume the trees like flames licking along the forest floor, burning itself out in a delicious radiance as it races headlong up a mountainside! ‘To everything there is a season . . .’ and summer’s riotous blooms are giving way to the rich hues of autumn leaves—appearing one-by-one like so many twinkling jewels in the tiara of a gaily dancing nymph twirling in the wind. If you’ve ridden by some of the apple orchards or wineries in the area, you’ve probably noticed the heady perfume of ripening fruit as folks gather the last of the summer bounty before the onset of frosty mornings and cozy fireside chats while the earth prepares to rest during the winter months.
We were glad to see several of our ministries resume in September. Our GriefShare group meets on Sunday nights and is needed more than ever as we navigate times of grief without some of the normal ways to gather. We have two Financial Peace classes involving over 25 people! Our young adult group is meeting on zoom on Tuesday nights, and there is an in-person class that meets on Sunday nights in the chapel. Converge for middle and high-schoolers started and moved to the courtyard/worship center area so they can “spread out.” We have had over 20 teens involved and 8-10 adults leading each week! Hans is organizing Thursday lunch groups for our senior adults. If you would like to join a lunch group – contact Hans. Sunday School classes continue to meet on zoom, and we look forward to discovering more ways to connect to one another in the weeks ahead.
We’ve changed our worship schedule and now offer two in-person worship opportunities, one at 9:00 a.m. in the worship center; the second at 11:15 a.m. in the sanctuary. Our livestream service at 10:00 a.m. remains the same. Residents are gathering again at the J. T. Edwards Chapel at The Culpeper on Sundays to watch the live stream. We hope to “see” them in our live stream in the coming weeks! And . . . speaking of worship, we are beginning to think about and sketch out our 2020 Christmas celebration. Despite the uncertainty the virus has caused, we plan to decorate the church as we have in the past, but we will need to think through what Christmas at CBC will look like under this new paradigm. Definitely we want to make use of our courtyard for worship services, carols and community engagement. So, if you have ideas or just want to help, please contact Dan or Hans.
We partnered with Culpeper County Public Schools to host a technology training night near the end of the month to assist students and families who were experiencing difficulty with online learning. With the help of Maranatha, we had translators and lots of friendly faces to greet people. CCPS provided technology staff to lead the sessions. We will be hosting another one on Thursday, October 8 – if you would like to help – see Jeanine or Dan.
Our Young Adult group, joined by the women’s basketball team at Bethune-Cookman University, had the distinct pleasure of “zooming” with Andrew Lanham, screen writer for “Just Mercy.” The film depicts the story of Bryan Stevenson and his work through the Equal Justice Initiative. Andrew is the grandson of our member, Georgia Lanham.
If you’re a people person, there’s still time to sign up with the new Encouragement Team we’re putting together. We want to encourage people in the church and the community in these challenging days. If this might be a good fit for you, please contact Dan or Jeanine.
Well folks, that about rounds out September! Autumn has officially moved in to Culpeper because I’m beginning to see the Maples blush with color—a sure sign of some lovely fall leaves just around the corner. Why not pick up a plump, orange pumpkin and a jug . . . of apple cider at one of the local orchards! Until next month, be well!
February 11, 1930 – September 16, 2020
Although we are some weeks from the official close of summer, cool crisp mornings have begun to creep in here and there, vegetable gardens are winding down—some overtaken with an influx of weeds and crabgrass, and sunrise comes a little later every morning. Fall is on the way, my friends.
Area schools reopened in late August. This is all new territory, and I don’t envy county and state officials that have had to wrestle with that decision. Although the school situation is still fluid, we did welcome over 70 elementary-age children to our CDC. Each day they are logging on and doing virtual school or joining us after their school day. Our CDC staff has worked incredibly hard to make sure children can stay on track with their school work.
We continue to make changes and explore options for how best to support families in this school year. The last few weeks we have had plumbers and electricians on the 3rd floor of the 1954 building to fix bathroom fixtures, add hot water lines, install smoke detectors and emergency lighting so we can meet licensing standards for that part of our building. This will allow us to serve additional children.
Early in the month our church family was saddened by the death of long-time member, Clarence Batten, from complications due to a fall. ‘Mr. Clarence’ has been active in all phases of church life for many decades. Besides holding the office of treasurer for 50 years, he also served as a Trustee, a deacon, served in the youth department when his own sons were young teens and was on the committee that built our sanctuary in 1961! Like so many others who have passed in recent years, he will be missed—greatly.
With the effects of the lingering pandemic keeping folks confined to their homes still, our volunteers remain faithful about delivering monthly food supplies to vulnerable homebound seniors. In addition, the USDA Food Distribution Program is seeing an uptick in clients as people begin to feel the economic pinch associated with the early spring shut down. Volunteers are active with this distribution too, and many of our members have collected personal toiletry items for this distribution as well.
We consistently provide in-person worship opportunities on alternate Sundays [9:00 a.m. one Sunday; 11:15 a.m. the next—although our church family is appropriately cautious about returning], as well as livestream worship each Sunday at 10:00 a.m. The livestream service consistently draws out-of-state viewers as well as other countries! More recently, we have invited small groups for a casual lunch/fellowship. Pleasant gatherings of this type are appealing to our folks, and they have really enjoyed getting back together to visit with each other over a delicious meal. Of course, we wear our masks and practice social distancing. Look for these to continue during the coming weeks. While we have all been impacted in different ways by the effects of the Corona Virus, the one constant in our world of rapid change is Jesus Christ—the same yesterday, today and tomorrow! His presence in our lives, along with the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the promise of our Father’s unfailing love will see us through anything looming in the future! Unit next month, be well.
Church Members who have died this year
Well folks, it was a happy day for me when I came back to work after being quarantined since March because of the Covid pandemic and having shoulder surgery in May on top of that! Wouldn’t you know it, we’re right in the middle of the ‘dog days of summer!’ It’s been ‘sirius-ly’ hot and d r y nearly the entire month, with no break in sight! Speaking of ‘the dog days of summer,’ some of the ancient Greeks and Romans believed the heat generated by the brightness of Sirius, [aka the Dog Star in the Orion constellation] actually caused the hot, summer weather and when combined with the heat from the Sun, the resulting intensity had a powerful effect on everything including plants, animals, humans—even dogs, causing them to become aggressive and prone to attack. That association morphed into, you guessed it, ‘the dog days of summer.’ Yeah, I can identify with that! On hot, sweltering days I retreat to the cool interior of my little cottage on Ripplebrook, only poking my nose out to run errands, visit family or head over to Powell’s for PT.
Amazingly we seem to have adapted to the ‘new’ normal of pandemic living rather quickly, I think. Livestreaming Sunday service is old hat and so are zoom Sunday School, prayer time, youth group and young adult gatherings. We’re accustomed to social distancing now, and face masks are a regular element to our wardrobe. What a difference a few months make!
Despite the social distancing and all that came along with it, we did enjoy a virtual Patriotic Concert this month as well as the annual town fireworks display from our steeple cam on Independence Day. Randy Sheets and Chuck Seipp provided live patriotic music along with selections from past concerts on our Facebook page, Youtube channel and website. Lovely! Kudos to all the guys [techs and musicians] for finding a way to get the job done!
Hans and Dan treated us to a 10-session Bible study from the book of James, besides the myriad of other things they do behind the scenes to keep us engaged and connected during this unusual season of time. Pssssst! Here’s a sneak preview: the next Bible study will be Malachi.
Because of the social distancing element, the Culpeper Farmer’s Market relocated to our lower parking lot. How convenient is that! You can actually preorder from vendors and do a drive by pick up without ever leaving the comfort of your automobile. Forget to preorder? Come anyway, just drive through, give your order to vendors from the safety of six feet away; they will bring it to your car and even load it in the trunk or rear seat. In the same vein, our usual cadre of volunteers continue to help with the monthly food distribution in conjunction with the USDA.
It’s almost too hot to think about fall, but we are steadily ambling in that direction, and in just a few weeks the Financial Peace University will be ‘open’ for full churchwide access. Skip and Lou Price are leading this very worthwhile 9-session seminar. Learn how to budget, save for emergencies and plan for the future. You can begin your journey to financial freedom via in-person or virtual classes beginning by August/September. Feel free to access our website to register. Although there is no charge, we do request that you make a donation of any amount to our Benevolent Fund so we can help others during this continuing crisis.
The Child Development Center is hiring PT and FT staff to support their elementary children this fall. For full details, please check your E-News. As a matter of fact, YOU, too, can make a difference with children in our community (we just aren’t sure how we will use you!) by volunteering. This area of service (perhaps one-on-one tutoring, reading to children, using Zoom, etc.) will be critical to our Culpeper families, and you’re invited to be part of this opportunity. Although plans going forward are certainly unsure at this point, we DO know we will need lots of help. Please contact Jeanine Judd, our Children’s Director, to get involved. The CDC has also begun their fall registration for the infant, preschool and elementary programs. At this writing, we are preparing for various scenarios regarding the CDC census, but expect a decision soon from local leaders and school board members outlining a viable plan for school attendance in our local area.
As the pandemic rages on with infections spreading down through the south and across the south west, we see the inevitable sorrow of families who are reeling from the loss of relatives, the overwhelming exhaustion of the medical community complicated by longer than usual time lapses for test results and shortages of essential resources such as beds and PPE. A second contributing factor is the huge economic tsunami brought about because our economy has ground to a standstill during the quarantine. All of these issues and others, along with the stress and anxiety of prolonged quarantine, have combined to produce the ‘perfect storm’—a convergence of challenges to rock the confidence of anyone. As believers in Jesus Christ, we are uniquely gifted to offer hope to our community by being present, and providing love, encouragement and practical assistance to folks who will most certainly be dealing with a tangled web of emotions and issues—sorrow and anxiety because of the sheer magnitude of their loss; financial and childcare issues; not to mention how they will provide just the mere necessities of life for their families. It is in meeting people where they are that the Holy Spirit will provide opportunities for us to offer the life-giving Gospel to folks who may be losing hope in the world around them and be open to a gentle introduction to Jesus. Perhaps we have been ‘called to the kingdom for such a time as this. . .’ Let’s be there together!
As the days ahead pile up into weeks, we’ll have many opportunities to reach out to others and ease their pain and anxiety. I’ve even listed several scenarios in the preceding paragraphs. Let’s keep our eyes open so we won’t miss this chance. As we begin to think about how we can help others, I’ll be looking forward to sharing the many ways God is moving among us again next month. Be well . . . and do your part to slow the spread of the virus.
(this month’s recap was written by Jeanine Judd as Joyce is recovering from shoulder surgery)
The March 1st big green bulletin still remains in my Bible as a reminder of our almost last Sunday together ‘back in the day’. While reading through it recently, Joyce mentioned Groundhog Day and how Phil didn’t see his shadow. I’m reminded of the movie “Groundhog Day” when Bill Murray (the main actor) wakes up for days on end and it’s the same day over and over. Are you feeling like that now? Sometimes when I awake and realize I have nothing on my schedule for the day, which was the same yesterday and will be the same tomorrow, I get this “Groundhog Day” feeling. Then I realize how the whole world is in this together and we’re all working hard to keep ourselves, our families, and our friends safe and well by following a ‘new normal’.
The month of May passed quickly by with bits of spring and summer tempting us outside to enjoy God’s work. Culpeper Baptist has adjusted (and continues to adjust) to the new normal and offered many opportunities for all to engage in. We started the month with Jami Smith leading our worship to celebrate our wonderful Child Development Center’s 70th birthday. Jami then presented a concert the following Tuesday. She is an extremely talented singer and she and her daughter were amazing in the concert presented from Oklahoma. Randy, Alex, and Winston frequently showered us with wonderful music of all sorts. Randy and Chuck Siepp offered an awesome Memorial Day tune that was both inspiring and amazing! And who hasn’t watched Phyllis Turner entertain us with her many tunes from the J.T. Edwards Chapel?!
The Bible study by Dan and Hans continues as they walk us through the book of Psalms and prayer and scripture are offered frequently on our church’s website. Church services continue to be held online and we’ve explored communion at home, fun quizzes before the service, and Zoom discussions afterwards due to our wonderful, busy, and smart technology gurus. Dan’s sermon last Sunday and this Sunday from the Davis Street church have been so interesting. Who remembers attending church there? We’d love to hear your comments and see any pictures you have of the Davis Street Church!
CBC continues to be involved in our community with the inclusion of the Farmer’s Market now being held in our parking lot every Saturday. I hear the strawberries are particularly good and the ordering is easy. We participated in the Food Drive to collect food for many needy folks in our community by donating LOADS of food for this event. We work with Empowered Culpeper two times a month as they deliver food to those in need. We continue our monthly Senior Adult Food Box delivery. We just formed two teams with people from CBC, Maranatha and Antioch Baptist to explore how we can work together now and in the future. Our Child Development Center is gearing up for summer camps and continues to provide childcare for essential workers. Thank you for your generosity and prayers as we help in our community.
Times are certainly different these days and there’s a lot of different things to keep up with. We encourage you to keep an eye on our website and our social media to find opportunities to plug in to something new and different. In that March bulletin, Joyce finished up her recap by saying “find your niche and fill it.” How will you get involved? You will fill up those empty hours of the day and your life will be blessed by jumping in on something new. I asked my grandchildren the other day what they might tell their children and grandchildren about this time and was amazed at their answers…
Not a one of their answers were negative and they are embracing the world that God has put before them…one day at a time. Jesus reminds us to come to Him as little children and we will be blessed!
Well, this is the strangest April I’ve e v e r experienced! In the twilight zone of lock downs; pandemics; masks; PPE; daily briefings, and the new normal, this disaster seemingly came out of nowhere. Covid-19 isn’t some horrific nightmare we’ve all stumbled into—it is a lethal killer! At this writing, over 50,000 Americans have lost their lives to the disease; more than 212,000 individuals worldwide. This is a staggering loss on multiple fronts! I cannot even begin to imagine the grief and heartache that has now become the ongoing narrative of the many families shattered by these deaths.
In just a matter of a few weeks, the world has undergone an extraordinary transformation. Whole countries have shut down, including ours . . . most ‘non-essential’ commerce has been brought to an abrupt halt—even here in our own small town. Understandably, we are shuttered in our homes—at least until June—to slow the spread of the disease and, hopefully, save our medical institutions from collapse.
Twenty-six million people are out of work! Some businesses will never recover, and the financial carnage continues to pile up. The collateral damage caused by isolation, anxiety, postponed medical procedures and delayed tests; not to mention the financial implications, still loom out in the future. In the middle of this bleak picture, our church, along with others in the local community, has found new ways to reach out with the love and hope of Jesus Christ to our hurting world.
We are ‘called to the kingdom for such a time as this,’ and toward that end, CBC has embraced social media as a tool to speak into the spiritual needs of the folks all around us. Of course, we were already using social media as one device in our toolbox prior to the pandemic; now—it is our ‘go-to’ means to spread The Good News because of the social distancing element of this event.
Palm Sunday and Easter services were live-streamed, and we were blessed with beautiful music as well. We also received many photos of folks in their Easter finery—and had a virtual Easter parade of sorts.
Staff continues to encourage us to stay in touch with each other and with them to lessen our feelings of isolation and anxiety. They, as well as our Stephen Ministers and deacons are available to talk with you, should you desire. In recent weeks, many of our church family have shared favorite Bible verses and prayer with us. Dan and Hans have provided a weekly Bible study, and Randy and Alex have shared their hearts through music and song. Jeanine has provided a virtual chapel for the children as well as links to some cool videos to keep them occupied. We have even experienced Communion online together! This past Sunday, we had several trivia questions to answer before the 10:00 a.m. service, which provided an opportunity to test our knowledge as well as interact with worship leaders. Skip and Lou Price have posted several segments of Financial Peace—a timely subject, indeed. A new addition to our video world is the ‘Getting to Know You,’ piece—that showcases folks in our Church family that we might not know very well, yet. Jason Ford was recently featured as someone we needed to ‘get to know.’ The Ruth Sunday School class meets now on Sunday afternoons via Zoom, a web conferencing platform. GriefShare, the 20 Somethings and the Youth groups all meet via Zoom also.
Next month, Jami Smith will lead our worship through the magic of technology in conjunction with our CDC and Give Local Piedmont! Amazing!! Yeah, we don’t do church the way we did a few months ago, but we sure are using the tools and the people God has so wonderfully provided to us! In this moment of ever-changing circumstances, the One unchanging constant is Almighty God! He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow! He is walking with us through this.
Stay home, stay well, and I’ll be back next month to fill you in on all that God is doing here through CBC.
Well, March came in with a bang and lottttts of wind. In fact, it had all the ear marks of a typical Spring with budding flowers and trees, pollen everywhere and Robins on the lawn. As a staff, we were deep into Easter preparations as well as the anticipation of the usual uptick in other church activities that come with warmer weather. Financial Peace and PACT were chugging along great, the Stephen Ministry was blossoming, the 20 Somethings were giving powerful testimonies of their Passion Conference experiences—things were moving . . .life was rolling along. There was not even a hint of the faintest shadow on the horizon that life as we knew it would come to a screeching halt!
But that’s exactly what’s happened! Near mid-month, we began to hear the faintest rumble that all was not well in the world. The evening news networks began reporting on a viral pandemic called covid-19, now known as the Coronavirus, a highly contagious, acute respiratory disease with flu-like symptoms that can progress to fever, coughing, breathing difficulties, fatigue and myalgia. It’s deadly to those with compromised immune systems, those age 60 and over as well as the very young.
Even here in the rural beauty of rolling farmland and peaceful Civil War battlefields, life has taken on a surreal quality. Except for essential services, everything else has stopped. We are shuttered in our homes at the behest of state and federal government with travel restrictions imposed; the only exception being to venture out for groceries and/or fast food at drive ups or to pick up medications from a pharmacy. Restaurants are closed as well as most shops—although stores such as Walmart, Target, grocery stores and such remain open for folks to get what they need. Schools are closed for the remainder of the season as well as many other mainline businesses.
Things are different here at CBC, too. We live stream Sunday services now at 10:00 a.m. on YouTube, church website, and Facebook, and last Sunday the Sunday School class of which I am a part, had class via Zoom. I have no idea what this technology is or how it works, but it does work because I saw most of the class on my laptop screen! There are several worship aids on our website that you might want to check out while we’re in this “quarantine.” Pastor Dan and Hans are doing a virtual Bible Study from Mark that people can check out at our website during the week. You can even tune in for a CBC history lesson with Dan and Roger L. Clatterbuck, which I really enjoy. We have some great stories that need to be told and re-told! There’s a zoom Prayer Meeting as well videos of church family reading Scripture and praying together. Randy, Alex and Winston continue to do their thing with music each Sunday – and even under these unusual conditions they’re amazing! Our deacons and staff are reaching out to the Church family and our Stephen Ministers are also available to talk with folks who may be feeling lonely or isolated. Feel free to give Dan or Hans a call if you would like to speak with a Stephen Minister or either of them. If you have a suggestion for how we can connect better with our Church family, please contact the church office.
Folks, these are unprecedented circumstances and right now—after 15 days of social distancing and more to go [‘til June 10th], I hope you’ll make this a matter of serious prayer! Pray for the researchers – that they’ll find a vaccine; pray for those who are ill – that they’ll recover; pray for the health care workers and EMTs who are on the front lines every day – that they won’t become overwhelmed or ill themselves; pray for our country and all the other countries who are enduring this pandemic; pray for our leaders – that they will use wisdom in the decisions that they make and put politics aside; pray for the families who have lost loved ones – that God will comfort them; pray for God’s intervention in a powerful way—may we be transformed by his love, infused with his power and grace to become useful tools in His hand to relieve the overwhelming misery all around us. Stay in touch and let’s all do our part to stay well.
Groundhog Day came and went, and I’m told Phil didn’t see his shadow this year either. A “sure” sign of an early Spring! Did you know Phil has his own merchandise ‘Brand’ and an ‘inner circle’ of loyal supporters? Oh yeah—did I mention that he has his own web page, too! Check it out—quite the tourist industry in Punxsutawney, PA. Phil’s portly likeness is all over the place.
During the early days of the month, we partnered with Maranatha again this year to staff the local heat shelter for a week. Many thanks to everyone who provided meals, spent the night as hosts and hostesses, or just stopped in to help out. Kudos to the students from local schools who dropped in to assist with making bag lunches for the folks we served.
We have 25 – yes folks – 25 people enrolled in Financial Peace University this month! You’ll remember we offered FPU right after the holidays as part of PACT Night, and it was well attended that time as well.
And speaking of PACT, Tuesday nights continue to be popular with language classes and other activities. The Soapbox Derby team is learning physics and math as they work on the car they will race in the spring. We hosted a school supply giveaway with Antioch Baptist, Financial Peace is meeting weekly, and we continue all the other great activities. We especially appreciate the delicious soup and sandwich dinner from Bess Brooks, Brenda Goodnough and Judy Gore!
Small group Bible studies are flourishing as well. In addition to Sunday School, over 150 folks come through our doors to participate in Bible study all though the week except on Fridays and Saturdays. Residents at The Culpeper also host a Bible study on Mondays at 2:00 p.m.; so Bible study continues to be a big focus here at CBC.
Mid-month we offered Dementia Friends training, and we started a discussion of the book “When Words Fail.” We want to be more aware of the needs and effectively minister to caregivers and those dealing with dementia. We want to be a dementia- friendly church in a dementia-friendly community.
Did you catch the Black History Month Benefit Concert? Held on the last day of the month, this was the brainchild of Alex Smith, to benefit the Carver 4 County Museum. Located along Route 15’s Journey Through Hallowed Ground—a National Scenic Byway—the grand opening for Carver Museum was held just one year and six days ago! The inaugural exhibit, “Origins,” housed inside the former library of George Washington Carver Regional High School, helps tell the rich story of a strong African-American community, their desire for equality as well as quality education and the enduring legacy of their hard work to see it through to completion. Thank You, Alex and all those who made this wonderful event possible!
This is by no means an exhaustive list of all that happened within our walls this month. Here are a few other events that occurred. The senior adults enjoyed a Valentine luncheon and game day; in addition to handling food distribution to homebound seniors through the local USDA program. The Nerf Battle has rapidly become a family favorite with over 60 enthusiasts participating this month! Another favorite, the Daddy Daughter Dance offered by the CDC was a big hit with their families. Basketball and volleyball at Culpeper Christian School kept our softball team limber in the off season. The local Parks and Rec Department offered classes for quilting and cookie decorating during the month, too. Dinner groups are forming again, so if you want to meet new people and have interesting conversations, that’s also a place where you can plug in. Find your niche and fill it. Your life will be richer, and you will fill a need! Until next month, be well.
New member: Nicole Way
Well, January 2020 is history! Can you believe it—one month ticked off the calendar already. Other than some conversational snowfall, the weather has been more foggy and soggy than snowy and icy. Sunny and 70F is more my speed, though.
Let me share several exciting updates that will undoubtedly interest you. Last October we launched The Branch worship service, which is a non-traditional worship experience featuring more of a coffeehouse atmosphere. This service utilizes our live streaming technology and gives individuals another creative way to engage. After taking a short break during the Christmas holidays, they are back at full speed. How cool is that!
Now I’ll fill you in on the two live stream services at The Culpeper. One begins at 10:30 a.m. in the J. T. Edwards Chapel and the other at 9:30 a.m. in the Memory Care Unit. Both of these services use our technological capabilities, and the residents receive the same sermon content as the 8:30 a.m. service here at CBC. Imagine what this means to the residents! When weather is less than cooperative or other reasons pop up, they can still ‘attend church’ in the cozy warmth of their own chapel or in the case of folks living in the Memory Care Unit, with their friends in that level of care. Both of these services are opportunities for us to renew friendships and make new ones as we connect with the residents there. Including The Branch, around 70 folks attend worship in these three venues. What a blessing to be at the forefront of utilizing technology in this creative way! There are still volunteer opportunities.
Another biggie during the month was the second Nerf battle held near the end of the month! The Worship Center was again transformed into an eyrie combat zone with plenty of good ambush areas! S e v e n t y, yes 70 people attended from toddlers to seniors! Who knew! Our custodian is still collecting nerf ammunition.
Converge is back after a short break, averaging 29 a week! Way to go! Stop in and see all the fun some Wednesday evening.
New members: Tracy Anderson, Morgan Anderson
Gene Hall – January 9, 2020
Alice Loyd—January 26, 2020
Passion 2020 Recap
A group of 18 from CBC joined 65,000 18-25 year olds at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta December 31-January 2. What an incredible experience. Please click here to read about the impact the gathering had on our group or click here to view some of the videos we made at the conference. We have started a young adult Bible study that is meeting on Tuesday nights at 6:00 p.m. We will lead the 8:30 a.m. worship service from February 16-March 9 sharing some of the themes of the Passion Conference. We are making plans to go to Passion 2021 in New York City! Come join us!