Archive for April, 2013

Photos from Easter Sunday, March 31, 2013 and New Creations Fine Arts & Crafts Show, April 20-21, 2013 by Paul Bickford and Win Grant.

Paper, fabric, clay, metal, ideas, dreams, and visions compel the creative spirit. That spirit fills a stained glass and carved wood sanctuary with airy Easter banners. It molds masks on the faces of Glen Lea Elementary students who then show their individual imaginings in paint and decoration. It hand-knits hats that tease out the personalities of those who made them and those who wear them. And that same spirit invites us all to participate in the creative impulse.

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By Jeannie Dortch. Photo by Janet Chase.

Most people think of the kingdom of heaven as something above us, but many are beginning to believe that the kingdom of heaven can be all around us as well. Jim Somerville is one of those who has been putting this theory to the test since he launched KOH2RVA (Kingdom of Heaven to Richmond, Virginia), a year-long, every member mission trip to Richmond in September 2012. Since then, Jim has been driving a metaphorical bus full of passengers encouraging them not to get too comfortable in their seats.

“Look out the window for something that doesn’t look like heaven,” he says as he steers us in one direction or the other. “If everyone looks through his or her own eyes to see what is least like heaven, we will all see something different. The next step is to get off the bus, roll up your sleeves, and begin to work.” With that encouragement, the FBC family has been traveling to every corner of Richmond learning, volunteering, and making a difference.

As the head cheerleader for the mission, Jim has expanded his blog (http://jimsomerville.wordpress.com/) to include a KOH2RVA story nearly every day. He links the stories on Facebook and Twitter. He tells of people’s experiences, reports results, and presents new ideas. “It’s just a matter of sharing your gifts, no matter how small,” he says.

Jim Somerville

Senior Pastor, Dr. James G. Somerville

The success of KOH2RVA has been overwhelming, and being the bus driver is a demanding job. This is why Jim is inviting other bloggers to weigh in on his day off.

In a bus with seemingly unlimited seating, others have caught the spirit of KOH2RVA and want to travel along too. Jim will be asking non-profit organizations and interested church leaders all over the city to contribute to a new KOH2RVA blog next year.

As more congregations become engaged with this mission, Jim hopes to build a strong coalition of people working together for a common cause that is bigger than any one church. The message is as old as Jesus, who prayed that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven, but as a license plate, it seems to be going viral! At a meeting of large Baptist churches around the country recently, Jim was asked if the concept of KOH2RVA was copyrighted or could any of those present borrow it to use with their congregations? Of course they could.

“Are you bringing the kingdom a little closer to Richmond, Virginia?” Jim asks again and again. With such a clear sense of purpose, it won’t be long before all citizens of Richmond, Virginia and beyond will be speaking with one voice – that of bringing the kingdom of heaven to every corner where there are God’s people. And that’s everywhere!

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Photos by Susan Brown.

Less than ideal weather was not a game stopper for Richmond’s annual Easter Parade. Since 2009 Candi Brown, FBC’s Minister to Children, has organized and led activities for kids and parents – puppet shows, music, yard games, and games with prizes such as necklaces, Easter books, candy, hats, and pinwheels. Easter 2013’s rain kept the scale smaller, but the fun was just as big.

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By Lynn Turner.

An 18-year-old girl, diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, gathered with family, friends, teachers, and coaches after school in early 2013 in Atlee High School auditorium. Together they celebrated her receiving her high school diploma. Kalena Porter graciously received this honor knowing she would likely not make it to June graduation ceremonies. Through shouts of jubilation and tears of reality, pastoral care happened with FBC youth, parents, teachers, and ministers in the crowd cheering her on. (Kalena died February 15, 2013.)

A care giver enters a nursing home room for her monthly visit. She reads, shares stories, and most important of all, offers a hug. Pastoral care happened that Saturday afternoon with one of our homebound members.

buckets300pxA Sunday school class generates a sign-up meal list for one of their own who has recently had surgery. Hot meals are taken by various class members so the family doesn’t have to prepare them, but instead can give their energy to healing. Pastoral care happened for two weeks with a bowl of soup and homemade bread.

Someone brings beautiful flowers to a hospital room saying, “You were missed today at church; I bring well wishes from our congregation. We want you to enjoy these flowers from the service today.” Pastoral care happened on a Sunday afternoon with the delivery of cheering flowers.

The phone rings: someone is dying and a minister is needed to pray and stand with the family during this difficult time of saying goodbye to a loved one. Pastoral care happened in one of the most tender and sacred moments of a person’s life.

Pastoral care happens every day at First Baptist Church.

In a recent article on pastoral care, the phrase “buckets of care” described the need for care-giving within the local church. In a church the size of FBC, there are care buckets that need to be filled all the time. Pastoral care has no boundaries, no time tables, no schedule, and no age limits. When a crisis happens, there are many ways to respond.

The Staff Pastoral Care Team, Jim Somerville, Lynn Turner, Bob Higgins, Becky Payne, and Martha Smith, meets every week to go over pastoral care needs. These needs include hospital visits, death and grief visits with coordination of funerals, and ongoing care visits. For direct requests for care contact Martha Smith (804-358-5458 Ext. 126) or after hours Lynn Turner (804-304-1000).

The Congregational Care Team and Women on Mission make regular visits and deliver Christmas poinsettias and Easter lilies to 100-150 homebound members. To add a name to this list, contact Gwen Smith (804-266-9345) with the Congregational Care Team or Ethel Eure (804-270-9352) with Women on Mission.

Sunday school classes, Church Choir, and other small groups keep up with their members through phone calls, visits, meals, prayer chains, and many other ways to assure that specific needs are met when crises occur.

The Deacon Fellowship is responsible for the pastoral care of members who are currently not associated with a small group. Phone calls and visits are two of the ways deacons make sure everyone has a contact when needs arise. Contact Mary Ann Delano (804-360-0936).

The Flower Delivery Team delivers flowers from FBC’s services each week to those in the hospital. Mary Palmer (804-794-2620) coordinates this group.

Dr. Roberta Damon is available for counseling on a limited basis and offers a monthly grief support group for those who have suffered loss. Contact Lynn Turner (804-358-5458).

U First is an on-call team that gives emergency assistance to folks who are not involved in a small group. Theresa Norton (804-364-5856) leads this team.

Caring for one another, filling the buckets of care in each other’s lives, is more than an opportunity or spiritual gift; it is a command to all Christians: “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2, NIV).

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