Posts Tagged ‘crafts’

By Lee Byerly. Photos by Susan Brown.

It’s been said, “You have not lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”

Summer Camp at Essex VillageI received an awakening while volunteering for summer camp at Essex Village Apartments (see related story). I have lived! How? I was awakened to the reality of young children, each unique and precious, each needing a smiling face from someone who genuinely cares. I could be that face and didn’t need anything in return.

Every day of camp about 12 children knew the smiling faces and love of FBC volunteers who gave their time, talent and treasure. Several of these children are from Pakistan, Kenya and Somalia and are trying to assimilate into a new culture and way of life, while still retaining their sense of identity. This they did with great joy and anticipation every day.

Mornings were filled with one-on-one tutoring, listening to students read, working out math problems, and playing various games. Higher level thinking skills soared as Checkers became the game of choice among students who wanted to play the adults. After lunch Josie Carver led creative art projects.

In addition to art and core subjects, Steve Blanchard (FBC’s Associate Pastor with the Ministry of Compassion) helped organize field trips. We took the students to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Three Lakes Park and Nature Center, and on a historical tour of Richmond. Steve was an excellent tour guide! Each student took notes of the travels and compiled them into a short personal essay that was shared with the class.

Other outings included lunches at McDonald’s and Sweet Frog where the children found good opportunities for decision making. Those who completed their summer reading were also treated to Chick-fil-A.

That reading can continue with many wonderful books provided by First Baptist for the children and adults of Essex Village. These books and two new book shelves were presented on the last day of camp.

Many exciting moments, many small victories, such a short amount of time. That kind of success happens when there is a combined effort – children, parents, volunteers, all under the direction of Mrs. Ernestine Dockery-Roy and her husband from Seeds of Promise Outreach Ministries, Inc.

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Lee ByerlyLee Byerly and his wife, Lisa, are members of the Travelers Adult Bible Fellowship. Lee teaches tennis. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with their daughter, Rachel, fishing, camping, snowboarding, and following college sports.

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By Becky Kyle.

Vacation Bible School has changed since I attended in my childhood.

I remember going to VBS every summer and learning about God and the people in the Bible. I remember the daily processional with the salute to the American flag, the Christian flag and the Bible. I remember being in one classroom all morning with one set of teachers, having in-depth Bible study enhanced by activities, crafts and week-long projects. Music, snack, and recreation were breaks from the classroom.

VBS still happens every summer, but much has changed since my memories were formed.

Vacation Bible School morning assembly in the Sanctuary of First Baptist. Photo by Susan Brown.

The most exciting change is the addition of missions as a component of VBS. FBC offers children participation in mission projects that reach people in our own community, throughout the U.S., and around the world. The children have packed gift bags for the leaders of the Boys & Girls Club of Richmond, for FBC’s Community Missions clients and Grace Fellowship participants, for families at the Ronald McDonald House, for local fire fighters, and for FBC’s neighbors and homebound members. VBS children have sent their pennies to relief work for children in Israel and the Caribbean. Last year they prepared blankets and coloring books to fill backpacks for children in Africa.

FBC and Mount Moriah Baptist Church partner to help transport children to Vacation Bible School. Photo by Anthony M. Nesossis.

VBS has become an outreach ministry in Richmond. We partner with Mount Moriah Baptist Church to offer VBS to children in their congregation. We provide transportation; they provide volunteers. We also provide transportation for children from several community centers and from the New American community. As a result, a growing percentage of participants are from families who are not members of FBC.

First Baptist’s Children’s Ministry leaders carefully study and review about ten VBS curricula each year. Through prayer and discussion, they select the one best fitted to our children. Most of these curricula have a secular, fun-oriented theme with children rotating to different classrooms for each activity (i.e. Bible study, music, crafts, games, recreation, snack, missions).

“Finding Hope: A Field Trip of Faith” is this year’s curriculum. The theme is based on Together For Hope, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s 20 year commitment to the 20 poorest counties in the United States. Each day VBS begins with worship followed by a Bible study that is the foundation for the day’s activities. Children then take a “field trip” to one of the 20 areas to learn through activities how God’s love is shared with the people who live there. One trip is to Helena, Arkansas, where former FBC members Ben and Leonora Newell serve. FBC partners with them through family mission trips each summer.

Children participate in arts and crafts during VBS 2010. Photo by Susan Brown.

VBS is one of FBC’s best opportunities to share God’s love with children and to help them discover God’s hope in the Bible. It teaches them of God’s love for all people and how to reach out in that love to others. That’s a VBS basic that is exactly as I remember it.



Editor’s note: Some volunteers are still needed- childcare givers with babies and toddlers, a preschool and an elementary teacher, and van drivers. Contact: Candi Brown, Brown@FBCRichmond.org, 358-5458 x150.


Becky KyleBecky Kyle has been attending FBC since she was a college student and joined FBC in 1984. Since then, she has served in many FBC ministries, taught children in Sunday school for the last 13 years, and volunteered with VBS most of the last 14 years. She works part-time for Fleet Auto Tag & Title Service. James and Becky have two children, Sarah and Aaron, who are active in the youth ministry.

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By Elizabeth Lipford.

Monument Market families

Vendors offer home grown and home made items at Monument Market. Photo by Skyler Cumbia.

Monument Market, sponsored by Richmond’s First Baptist Church, began its second season May 7th in the church’s parking lot at the corner of Monument and Robinson. It is one of many regional farmers’ markets that are springing up in urban areas in response to people embracing healthier lifestyles and wanting to support local growers and businesses. However, for the FBC families involved, it is much more than providing local products. It is about being a good neighbor, running a small family business, and building new relationships.

We are “friend-raising” said Linn Kreckman, the visionary behind the market. Linn, also a vendor, as is her son John, saw the potential for bringing a market to the Fan. Through her efforts and with the support of the Recreation Team and staff facilitator Buddy Burgess, the market was launched in 2010 with the goal of connecting with the community while supplying a need.

With 90% of the customers being walk-ins, not drivers, the market quickly became a neighborhood gathering place on Saturday mornings. It is a relaxed atmosphere in which many conversations take place about happenings at First Baptist. Suzanne Acosta, site manager for the market, recalled a conversation she had with a customer who later visited the Young Adults Sunday school class. Anne Burgess, like many, often brings her dog for a stroll through the market. As she has gotten to know the customers, she has seen many participate in FBC’s Classics in the Courtyard, Upward Basketball and Indoor Soccer. For Vicky Nicholau the market is a place to raise money for FBC’s Community Missions by selling homemade Greek pastries, a sell-out every time.

For our family, and the families of Allen and Hope Cumbia and Bryan and Renee Smith, the market is also a perfect venue for a family business. In this setting we teach our children valuable lessons about hard work, customer service and economics. Michael and I see our children experience the joy of having people want to purchase things they have produced themselves, as well as the disappointment of having spent a week working hard, only to have little profit to take home. Allen Cumbia describes it as “a good family bonding time.” The Smith girls agree that learning to determine prices and make change are some of the new skills they have learned.

Monument Market families 2

Monument Market is as much a social gathering as it is a farmers' market. Photo by Anthony M. Nesossis.

Some of the vendors are also forming new relationships. Rick Nesossis, creator of eclectic birdhouses, quickly became a friend to all. New friendships also led to some creative negotiating. Our girls traded perennials for herbed oil, and the daughter of a vegetable vendor bartered fresh flowers for a necklace made by Lydia Smith. We help each other set up and clean up, and we all make our weekly purchases before we leave. Buddy Burgess says “the market reminds me of Jesus in the marketplace, talking and connecting with people.”

Good food and good lessons, making friends and connecting neighbors with the FBC family – the Monument Market is something you will definitely want to experience!

Elizabeth Lipford and her husband, Michael have been members of FBC since 1993. She home schools their three daughters, Aylett, Ellen and Mary Michael. Elizabeth has been a leader with Girls in Action and Vacation Bible School and helps with youth events throughout the year. She is a member of the Disciples Sunday school class. Currently, she is helping her daughters manage the “Lipford Family Gardens” booth at Monument Market.

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