Archive for June, 2012

Story and photos by Susan Brown.

Economic difficulties often spark creativity.

When First Baptist’s budget had less room for maintenance costs, Bonnie Wilmoth, Facilities Director, and Billy Burford, Church Administrator, started First Helpers. These volunteers pick jobs that match their skill sets from a list on the Maintenance Request Board. Some are able to help each week; others on a less regular basis. Bonnie comments that “their work has been a real blessing to the Church.”

calloutIn addition to routine maintenance chores, a group of First Helpers has taken on a massive project to upgrade lighting throughout the church building. In early fall 2011, Bonnie noticed that the fluorescent lighting tubes she usually purchased were being replaced by brighter, more efficient ones. In addition, the new fluorescent tubes would require new ballasts (the devices which regulate the electrical current in the tube).

Bonnie and Billy asked David Warner to lead a group of volunteers to update

First Helpers

David Jackson, Jeff Dortch
and Joe Evans

FBC’s 1,000 or so ceiling fixtures. With his background in electronic technology and previous experience with major electrical renovations at Richmond Baptist Association’s Camp Alkulana, he was well prepared to recruit, train, schedule, and ensure the safety of volunteers. A deadline of twelve months was set to convert all the fixtures.

First Helpers

team leader David Warner

Early on, David enlisted Jeff Dortch and Joe Evans, experienced First Helpers volunteers. Because Jeff has his own contracting business and can keep his own schedule, he frequently checks the Maintenance Request Board list and makes repairs during the week. Since Joe retired in 2010, he has enjoyed helping with various jobs that match his skills. He comments, “I really like the camaraderie of working with church members and getting to know them better.” Other volunteers had worked together on a previous electrical project for the Richmond Baptist Association.

The FBC Lighting Project Team usually works as a group on Saturdays when everyone who can shows up for two to three hours to get a sizable chunk of work done. There are also individual efforts on weekdays when a volunteer has the time and the inclination to work on his or her own.

Some helpers needed training. Millie Barnes approached her duties with cautious willingness and made certain she reviewed procedures until she was confident about what she was doing. Millie, wearing her at-the-ready tool belt, stated: “I have even bought a new tool or two to make the wire stripping easier and to make each conversion go more quickly.”

As a result of the team’s efforts, the work is well ahead of schedule with plans to complete this huge project in July 2012.

FBC Lighting Project Team: Millie Barnes, David Beach, Wayne Davis, Jeff Dortch, Gary Eck, Joe Evans, David Jackson, Ron Jackson, Bob Robinson, and David Warner, team leader.

Susan Brown

Susan Brown and husband Frank were invited to FBC by son Matthew, father of Madison, Adam and Jonathan and husband of Candi, FBC Minister to Children. Since then Susan has found a wonderful community and a place in For Ladies Only, Women On Mission, Upward Basketball, the Baptism Committee, the Weekday Early Education Board, FBC Budget Team, and the Buddy Hamilton Sunday School Class. She enjoys serving others as Jesus leads, time spent with family and sharing photos with others.

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By Allie Osborne. Photos by Susan Brown and Skyler Cumbia.
FBC’s Youth 2 group spends one week every summer on a mission trip. We travel to a community out of state, working long hours to meet a need and make a difference in people’s lives.
Boston calloutThis summer we are helping with the renovations of a Boston church, but our work starts long before departure.
To go on a mission trip, each youth must complete eight service hours for the church. The FBC Endowment Fund covers the housing costs for each youth who performs 15 or more hours. [Click here for details on service hours guidelines and opportunities.]

Youth service hours

Photo by Skyler Cumbia

Fifteen hours may seem like a lot, but the church provides more than enough opportunities.

Volunteering for TLC (Tender Loving Care), a program that cares for young children while their parents attend worship, is a popular way for youth to earn their hours. Freshman Megan Evans and sophomore Brayson Nesbitt acquired the majority of their hours doing TLC.

Youth service hours

Photo by Skyler Cumbia

“The kids were so excited to be at church,” said Megan. “It was interesting to hear them talk about God.” Megan also worked with the Clothes Closet Ministry, which supplies clean clothing for people in our community. She describes the experience: “I loved seeing the expression of joy on [their faces]. They were all so thankful.”

Upward Basketball offers another opportunity for service hours. Upward’s friendly yet competitive games are on Saturdays in the FBC gym. Youths can help coach a team, referee a game, lead a devotion, or, like junior Kitt Allred, earn hours by working the concession stand during the games.

Youth service hours

Photo by Skyler Cumbia

Eighth grader Claire Johnson also participated in Upward Basketball by assistant-coaching the cheerleading team. Claire earned other hours by volunteering with Vacation Bible School (VBS).

VBS is a summer program open to children from the church and the community to learn about God in a fun, interactive way. Dillon Dunham describes his experience with VBS by saying, “I really loved VBS. The way children look up to you really makes you feel like you’re worth something. To be able to teach them about our God really made me glad that I was there.”

Most opportunities for earning service hours involve young children, but sometimes the youths find other ways.

Youth service hours

Photo by Susan Brown

Skyler Cumbia operates one of the cameras during worship services for the TV Ministry. She also participated in the annual Bethlehem Walk. [This is] “an interactive outdoor drama of first century Bethlehem telling the story of Jesus’ birth through His resurrection,” said Skyler.

Eight hours of service is what it takes for each youth to go on a mission trip. Eight hours multiplied by approximately 80 Youth 2 students? Looks like FBC Youth are making a difference before the real work even starts.

Allie Osborne, a tenth grader at Louisa County High School, is a member of the Girl’s Soccer Team and is vice president of the Debate Team. In addition to writing for FTF, she is a reporter for the Lion’s Roar newspaper and a tutor for the LCHS Writing Center. At FBC, Allie participates in Youth 2 activities, including Sunday school, Choir, Girl’s Ensemble, and Youth Council.

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By Jeannie Dortch. Photo by Dean Hawthorne.

Ellen Dick and Ford White met in 1979 and were married a short year later. Everyone who knew the couple believed they were a “perfect match.”

calloutEllen had been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and though in remission for most of their thirteen year marriage, Ellen and Ford decided against having children. Instead, Ellen began what would define her as a caregiver: She volunteered in FBC’s nursery department on Sunday mornings. Soon Ford found joy in joining her.

A lifelong Christian, “Ellen Dick White was selfless in her commitment to make sure that all the children she taught had an exceptional experience while in her care,” commented Lucy Dorr, Minister of Preschool Education from 1990-1995. “When Ellen died in 1992, those of us who worked with her wanted to remember Ellen in a special way.”

In 1993, FBC embarked on a massive building-wide renovation project that included the construction of a children’s educational wing. What better way to remember Ellen than with a stained glass window dedicated to her memory and representing the fastest growing population in the congregation.

"Jesus and the Children" window

“Jesus and the Children” window

With donations collected from Ellen’s co-workers, Lucy commissioned Shelton Stained Glass in Ashland, Virginia to make “Jesus and the Children.” This newest of FBC’s stained glass windows illustrates a line from a children’s hymn – “Ev’ry color, ev’ry race, all are covered by His grace.” It is located at the entrance of the children’s wing off the first floor corridor and positioned low enough so that children can touch it, per Lucy’s instructions.

Max Cumbia, who worked with Ellen and Ford for eleven years, remembers her as “faithful, loyal, gentle, and soft-spoken. She seemed to have such a heart-to-heart connection with the babies that we just knew that they felt secure and loved in her care. And to see Ford get down on his knees to work with the little ones was magical. Both had a calming influence on each child they embraced.”

Ford and Ellen White

Ford and Ellen White (1990 church directory)

Ellen never knew that her service would be rewarded in such a memorable way. The “Jesus and the Children” window is a tribute to her, Ford, and others who give their time and affection to those whose Christian formation is paramount to the future of FBC and beyond.

Currently, in Sunday school and TLC (extended session) combined, 67 volunteers are needed in the preschool and children’s departments. To give your gift of time and affection, contact Candi Brown, FBC’s Children’s minister. She will help you find a place where another love story may begin.

Author’s note: Copies of the fully illustrated Memorial Windows written by Theodore F. Adams and The Open Door, the church’s history from 1780-2005, are available for checkout or purchase in the church library.

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