(A brief summary of the work that is happening through CBC. Thankful to Joyce Beales for providing this testimony each month.)
Happy New Year 2020! I can hardly believe another year has drawn to a close . . . already! By the time you read this, the Christmas tree will be out on the curb for town employees to haul off, all the lovely, seasonal decorations will be packed away in some dusty corner of the garage or basement, some of us will be heading off to exchange gifts and some to the gym or our favorite easy chair with a sigh of relief that at last we can now catch our collective breaths! We made it through another Christmas season. Here are just a few of the busy December activities we hosted at CBC.
Christmas music was abundant and varied during the month, beginning with an amazing concert performed by Chuck Seipp and Randy Sheets December 3rd for our PACT evening. Children and families from the community were treated to an evening of classical and traditional Christmas music.
The Blue Ridge Chorale stunned us once again with awesome performances and spectacular talent. Speaking of amazing talent, The First Leon, a musical performed by children through the Windmore Group and directed by Alex Smith, showed us that the Culpeper area is booming with some very remarkable youngsters. Prior to the show, we were treated to a well-done performance by The Piedmont Community Band.
Speaking of children, the little ones from our Child Development Center out-danced and out-sang everyone with their annual Christmas Program. Moving from children to our senior adults, the wonderful group from The Culpeper dazzled us again with an excellent performance of The Christmas Pageant. Our own Christmas Celebration mid-month showcased many impressive performances!
Not to be outdone, the Charlottesville Ballet presented the Class with Clara FREE this year to a sold-out crowd because of a generous grant, from the Virginia Commission for the Arts, to our Child Development Center. Just a few days before Christmas, Acoustic Café brought in their biggest crowd with some amazingly talented individuals! On Christmas Eve we had a wonderful service of Carols, Communion & Candles.
As is our custom, we enjoyed a “Partnership Christmas” beyond the great performances mentioned above. Here’s a rundown of some of those partnership activities:
- The Softball Team and the Flower Team collaborated again this year to decorate our sanctuary, and the results were stunning! Thank You for all that effort!
- The Angel Tree Program provided our folks the opportunity to respond with gifts for children of incarcerated parents.
- We worked with SAFE to provide a Christmas shopping and celebration event for families that suffer from domestic violence.
- The local Sheriff’s Office sponsored a Christmas meal and family time for locally incarcerated individuals and their families here in our Worship Center.
- We worked with Culpeper High School Culinary Program, JROTC from both high schools, Culpeper Sheriff Cadet Program, high schoolers from multiple other clubs and sports, The Culpeper staff, Rotary and Lions Clubs and local businesses to provide a Christmas meal for clients of The Senior Center and Culpeper Shelter and Emergency Services.
- In partnership with The Culpeper, we provided a time for older adults and their caregivers to see the beauty of our sanctuary and enjoy Christmas songs and Scripture.
- We worked with Rappahannock-Rapidan Community Services and Oxford House to paint 3 bedrooms in the first recovery house in Culpeper (which opened at the end of December).
- We hosted the Converge Christmas Party. Over 50 youth have attended from multiple area churches and the group continues to grow!
We’ve just celebrated Christ’s birth all month. December, just like the eleven months prior, was full of opportunities for each of us to join God where He was at work and to touch lives and hearts with His love. This new decade will begin a new chapter in our legacy. . .with new opportunities, new challenges, new tests, and, perhaps, even a few new questions. We have 245 years upon which to build. . .may we be as faithful those who came before us to the call of God on our lives!
Else Williamson – December 5, 2019
Shirley Faulconer – Decrember 14, 2019
The last of the Thanksgiving turkey has morphed into soup or salad, black Friday is a blur for a lot of folks [and probably one they’ll be paying for well into next year, this is Joyce-speak for we are well and truly into the Christmas shopping season]. The weather is seasonably cold—think, ‘. . .chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose. . .’ and the mellow voice of crooner, Nat King Cole, along with hot chocolate, holiday baking and visiting! As we prepare for the busy days ahead, take time to savor the real meaning of Christmas. . . then visit a shut in, reconnect with an old friend or be there for friends or family who may be grieving the loss of a loved one. LOVE is not just a noun—it’s a verb too!
One of the exciting things that happened this month was the presentation of the prestigious AARP Community Partner of the Year Award to CBC for outstanding contribution to the work of the community by partnering with AARP on numerous educational opportunities on age-related topics. This recognition will undoubtedly open other doors and propel us into new areas to contribute. Pastor Hans traveled to Richmond earlier in the month to accept the award.
News from the land of ‘the little people’ wouldn’t be complete without Operation Christmas Child—the CDC, with a little help from the Ruth Sunday School Class, netted 55 boxes! THANK YOU! November Chapel activities included making time to thank God for their families and friends and focusing on thankfulness for things the children do have; rather than concentrating on things they don’t have. Family Yoga Night, with Pranapiloga Yoga on November 13th, was a fun activity and featured a kid-friendly dinner as well. The CDC children closed out the month in song during the 8:30 a.m. service November 24th! Thanks kids!
Well FPU has concluded, and they had a class of nine. Listen at this, folks! Five families retired a whopping $46,986 in debt and saved $8,925—ALL this during a 9-week class! Mark your calendar because a new class will begin Sunday nights, starting February 9, 2020. Hey! This stuff actually works. I implemented one of their strategies a few months back because I was consistently exceeding my grocery budget. So, I decided to use ‘the [one] envelope system and used cash instead. Not only did I stay within the budget, I had money left over at the end of the month! Yessss!
Converge is still going strong. Near the end of the month, about twenty-five teens gathered for a Nerf battle in the worship center. Sharon, our custodian, transformed the place into a fun and dimly lit battle scene with inflatables—even Mickey Mouse was there.
Thursday evening, November 21st, a friend and I took in the Community Thanksgiving Service hosted by Culpeper United Methodist Church. What a great event. The Mayor gave his yearly Thanksgiving Proclamation, followed by prayers for our civil servants as well as our community of neighbors all around Culpeper. Our own Gospel Choir, under the superb direction of Alex Smith, was there with several toe-tapping, hand-clapping, finger-snapping songs that brought the audience to their feet and Amen’s ringing out like a bell choir. W E L L D O N E!
The Shiloh Benefit concert rounded out the month featuring 10 choirs including the Blue Ridge Chorale! My goodness, the music was great. At the conclusion of the concert, the emcee asked all of the pastors in the audience to come down front, gather around Pastor Reese Washington to uphold and encourage him with the laying on of hands and prayer. This was a powerful moment! In all, about $11,000 was collected Saturday night increasing the overall total to $57,000 so far. Our thanks to everyone who helped to organize as well as make this event happen.
All in all, this was a very busy month, and I’m pretty sure there’s no slowing down during December, either! I hope you’ll try to attend at least one event during December. Take care, and I’ll see you next month!
In Memoriam: Barbara Heltzel
The leaves they are a-changin’. With the autumnal equinox last month, the fall foliage season has “officially” begun across much of the nation. Ahhhhhh! October . . . it’s a lovely month and what we’ve all been waiting for—crisp, cool temperatures, apples and pumpkins, lovely fall foliage and skies so blue you can see f o r e v e r! To be sure, we’ve had some 90°F days, but overall the weather is typical though somewhat lacking in rainfall.
The first Saturday of the month the Culpeper Cycling Century launched from CBC bright and early. This race, which attracted many out-of-town participants, offered racers the option of a 30, 60 or 100-mile trail through the rolling farmland of Culpeper and surrounding counties. The competition fielded 250 registrants, compared to only 45 in 2008 at the first race. Quite an accomplishment in a little more than a decade, I’d say!
Right around mid-month, we had a blast from the past as our church family and friends gathered at Yowell Meadow Park for a good old-fashioned church picnic! What a great opportunity to get to know each other better! The weather cooperated with sunny skies and a gentle breeze –lovely, lovely, lovely.
Several days later, we hosted the annual Culpeper Domestic Violence Candlelight Vigil in our worship center with folks spilling out into the courtyard. This is a time when law enforcement personnel, local agencies and survivors come together to remember victims of domestic violence, support survivors and acknowledge the heroic efforts of those who work to prevent this type of violence.
Our senior adults have kept themselves busy with all of their usual activities such as Game Day, Senior Adult Food Delivery and even a fall foliage tour in the Staunton area with lunch at Mrs. Rowes’, a local eatery that serves down-home comfort fare…and they have wonnnnderful pies. I know this because I was the lucky recipient of a delicious cherry pie right out of Mrs. Rowes’ kitchen, compliments of a friend. Unbelievably delicious!
Acoustic Café continues to be a big hit with our church family as well as the greater Culpeper community. It’s one of THE best venues for live music! October brought guitarist Keith Walters, The Guitar Master, Eddie Estes and singer songwriter, Bill Sullivan.
The Branch worship service launched near the end of the month and utilizes our live streaming technology. This service is a creative way to engage people in a unique and relaxed environment and offers an opportunity to connect and grow.
At the end of the month, the Seipp and Sheets duo was back by popular demand. The concert was fabulous and featured a well-rounded program that included Handel, Brahms, Bach and others. Both Chuck and Randy are premier musicians, and we are so fortunate that they share their musical gifts with us! Thank you both! I can hardly wait for the 2020 series!
Well, it’s ‘raining cats and dogs,’ not to mention it’s Halloween D A Y! The phones are lit up like Christmas trees with calls from anxious parents wanting to know if we’re having our fall festival [we are until the candy runs out] because everyone else has cancelled! This should be quite a scene! November is just hours away…and after the 5th we’ll leave the election day hoopla behind to begin thinking about Thanksgiving and Christmas. A welcome relief, if you ask me! See you next month.
Well, summer’s over … and I know this because all of the local garden shops are stocking lovely fall plants like Asters and Chrysanthemums along with happy scarecrows, bright orange pumpkins and bales of straw! Why, community grocery stores are even getting shipments of Apple Cider, too; (not the hard stuff). I understand traffic is picking up as folks head to the apple orchards for some crisp, red apples. Yummmmm! This, my friends, is the precursor to the ‘real deal . . .’ cooler weather. Don’t let the recent 90oF fool you! Fall is here! Over in my vicinity, neighbors are beginning their fall clean up around homes, lawns, flower beds and such. Yep! Won’t be long before the trees will don their vivid reds and golds to celebrate the conclusion of another harvest season!
September was a busy month here at CBC, b e l i e v e me! The Converge youth group is chugging right along with over 40 teens from seven churches participating in the first month after a summer-long break. Imagine that … 40 teenagers! Brings back good memories from bygone years, doesn’t it? What a great idea to open our doors to teens from neighboring churches—definitely a new twist on missions.
As you know, the ministry of our church isn’t restricted by church walls; so we took advantage of our technological options and began Live Streaming the 8:30 a.m. service to The Culpeper, J. T. Edwards Chapel. About 20 folks join us for this opportunity every Sunday. Another new worship encounter is the Out of the Pew services at selected locations that are more relaxed and are geared toward folks whose schedules preclude Sunday morning attendance or who may be reluctant to attend more formal services. We will experiment with six of these worship times/venues through the fall.
Here’s another great event – PACT Night [People and Community Together]! Visit our website
or talk with Lynn Gore, PACT Coordinator, for a full list of everything that’s offered on Tuesday nights. Recent kids’
opportunities included homework/tutoring assistance, STEM activities, music enrichment, Pickleball [also available for adults], just to name a few. Adult options included the Gospel Choir, line dancing, conversational Spanish, English as a second language, Financial Peace, etc. Community partners have stepped up to the plate in a big way. Dinner is even provided for those who wish to avail themselves of this convenient perk. This is a grand way to impact our community, build relationships and love people like Jesus does! We had over 50 folks in attendance this month.
Old standbys like Financial Peace, GriefShare, the Marriage Course and the Senior Food Distribution Program are back up and running after having the summer off. Nevertheless, our senior adult group stayed busy during the summer with a Thursday Game Day each month and even a trip to Myrtle Beach! Way to go, friends! Oh, and the Pickleballers—dedicated souls that they are—were on the courts even on hot, humid days. You may not realize this, but Pickleball is a serious sport here in Culpeper. There’s no shortage of folks who love to play this game, and they hit the courts every chance they get. If you’d like to give it a try, contact Mike Showalter for details.
Near the end of the month Todd Fickley, Organist for the National Presbyterian Church in Washington, D. C., was here in concert. He gave a well-rounded program with selections by J. S. Bach, Francois Couperin and American classics such as Steal Away and the beloved, Amazing Grace. Our 2019 Concert Series draws to a close next month with the Seipp/Sheets duo on trumpet and organ respectively, scheduled for 4:00 p.m. October 27th. Circle the date on your calendar. You won’t want to miss this concert! And…when you see Randy, be sure to thank him for all his hard work in pulling this concert series together! Amazing!!
At the end of the month, we were thrilled to partner with area churches and community organizations to bring Adrian Branch, former Pro NBA Player, to Culpeper. He spoke to the men and women from the Culpeper jail on Saturday morning and then spoke at Culpeper County High School Saturday night. On Sunday morning he inspired our 8:30 a.m. service, before leaving for our neighbor up the street, Unity Baptist to speak there. Adrian is dedicated to encouraging people from all backgrounds by sharing humorous stories from the basketball world with candor and humility.
So as summer takes one last gasp, we will close the record books on September and begin a new chapter in October before hurtling toward the holiday season! Be well. See you next month!
Well, here we are at the beginning of another school year . . . already! My youngest granddaughter went merrily off to kindergarten with hardly a backward glance for her Nanna. We’ve spent numerous Mondays together since she was a wee wisp of a girl all snuggled in soft pink blankets as I sang her to sleep while we rocked. Her parents report that she loves school! When she comes home in the evenings, she lines her dollies up across the bed so they can learn their lessons too. I’m told she’s ‘really big on discipline.’ Meanwhile, Nanna is learning to ‘slow down and smell the roses . . . ’on Mondays. The remainder of the week, I’m trying to keep up with all the young guns in the church office!
The temperatures have been oppressively hot all month with intermittent showers after a drier than normal July, but the late afternoon shadows are growing longer, the evenings crisper as we head toward September and the inevitable changing of the seasons. Here’s hoping we have a colorful fall! And . . . speaking of fall—have you seen our new 2019 Fall/Winter Ministries brochure? WOW! Find your place and plug in—whether it’s small groups, enrichment opportunities, ministry to others, music, or hanging out—there’s a place for you.
The big news this month is PACT Night! The acronym means People and Community Together, but you know that already. Here at CBC, we’re all about relationships—with the community, individuals and each other. PACT launched August 20th with 30+ people in attendance. Of course, many enthusiastic volunteers came also. Activities included homework, tutoring, STEAM activities, music, and story time for kids. Adult activities included exercise, PACT Talk, GED and ESL classes to name a few. Oh yes, did I mention we had great food, too! We will continue to add enrichment activities from week to week. Be sure to talk to PACT Coordinator, Lynn Gore, to find out how you can plug in to this marvelous opportunity. A BIG thank you to everyone who came out to help!
The Virginia Consortium of Quilters was in our building August 10th for their annual meeting. VCQ is a state-wide organization of quilters that meets about four times per year in various parts of the state. Their purpose is to promote quilting, provide community service and document quilting in Virginia. Folks, this is no small organization. Our lower parking lot was full! These ladies are serious about their craft, and they brought their gaily colored quilts—some complete; some in the early construction stages, planned special classes and even had speakers.
That same Saturday morning, staff welcomed newcomers to CBC with mid-morning coffee and refreshments. This is a time to become better acquainted with our church, get to know staff and check out upcoming opportunities for ministry. Keep your eyes on the bulletin and the website for information about the next one.
As usual, our senior adult group has busied themselves with Pickleball, Game Day, local USDA food distribution and even a riverboat cruise along the James River. This was a peaceful 40-minute cruise along the restored James River canal. The skipper shared plenty of local history as well as interesting tidbits about wildlife along the river.
The college students have all returned to classes including nine CDC staffers! Folks here’s a ministry you can do from the comfort of your own home – commit to pray for these young adults on a regular basis! They will encounter many new experiences during this season of life. Watch for their names to appear in the Prayer Sheet. Pray that in addition to getting an education, they will gain the wisdom to make wise life choices and grow in their relationship with the Lord.
…From an appreciative recipient of Benevolent assistance: “Thank you for your recent generous assistance during my transition to permanent housing. This gave me the opportunity to continue to have a roof over our heads while I sorted out our next steps. I grew up in the ‘50s and ‘60s when you did not ask for help but worked harder so asking was very difficult, and I truly thank you. May God continue to bless each and every one of you. L. E.”
That’s it folks, we’re ready to tear off another month on the 2019 calendar! Before long we’ll be seeing the vivid hues of fall, crisp blue skies, pumpkins; then the sweaters and jackets will pop out of their storage bins to wrap us in cozy comfort. Be well and enjoy these last few days of summer.
A warm welcome to Jason Ford, our new member this month by Profession of Faith.
April weather was fickle as ever with wind and rain interspersed with bright sunshine and a riot of lovely spring blossoms and POLLEN! L O T S of pollen! The daffodils and tulips have waved one last goodbye until next year; flowering cherry and pear have leafed out in their emerald green finery, the Redbuds are wearing their leafy hearts on their sleeves and the sound of birdsong is heard in the land again. Spring is here!
The beginning of the month brought the Faithful Aging Conference to our campus. That event featured keynote programs from Melissa Andrews, CEO, Leading Age Virginia and Hess B. “Doc” Hall, Jr., Director of Older Adult Spiritual Formation Programs, The Upper Room. This initiative is one of less than ten statewide efforts in the U.S. looking toward faith communities to help address the gaps in aging services and promoting a positive quality of life for older adults. The program encourages faith communities to offer opportunities for older adults to remain engaged after retirement, educates faith and lay leaders about services and programs for older adults, caregivers, and persons with dementia, and advocates for aging support programs with faith communities. Growing older is an opportunity to enjoy the wisdom that our years bring, reach out to others who may need a little help as well as just revel in a slower pace. Think about all the opportunities available to you and how you could reach out to others with the love of Christ. Spring’s a good time to begin something new…
Many of our senior adults continue to stay busy and active with Pickleball, the senior adult food delivery ministry, game days and mystery trips as well as civic clubs and community service projects. Incidentally, speaking of Pickleball, keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming Second Annual Pickleball Tournament in June! These people are serious about their game.
April 13th, we joined with twelve local churches for the third year as we walked together on the Way of the Cross through our community. This is a morning we can come together as believers and celebrate faith in Christ by beginning the observance of Holy Week through the reading of Scripture, music and prayer on the Saturday before Palm Sunday. Our walk began at Precious Blood Catholic Church and concluded at Culpeper United Methodist Church; about two hundred folks participated. As Holy Week drew to a close on Friday evening, Pastor Adrian Sledge and the Antioch church family joined us for the Good Friday special service, with Pastor Adrian preaching and the Antioch Church Choir.
Once again we celebrated Easter over 2 days. On Easter Saturday, we welcomed the men and women from the Culpeper Jail and had a wonderful time of worship led by folks from Mountain View, CBC and Maranatha (you can view that service on our youtube channel). We then shared in a wonderful meal provided by Maranatha. Resurrection Sunday was lovely as we celebrated the risen Christ with one service in our sanctuary. He IS risen!
The last weekend of the month brought Touch a Truck – an awesome experience for all ages as we got “up close” to big trucks and equipment! This is becoming one of the most popular spring events in Culpeper. We also held our 2nd concert of our 2019 series with the Rapidan Orchestra and the Madison Choral Society. It was great to hear from local voices and musicians!
At our March Leadership Council meeting, we had a “God moment” during our mission minute when we heard about our free tutoring and praying together. From that moment, we have widened the discussion to our building and community partners, and we are excitedly working together to create “PACT” night starting in August. We will share more details in the coming months – keep praying.