Posts Tagged ‘Lakewood Manor’

Story and photos by Becky Payne.

“Hausmusik” is not exactly an everyday word in our language, but translated from the German it simply means “music in the home.” Years ago Bernice Rodgerson began inviting friends and neighbors to her home for music programs, which were mostly classical piano solos and duets, played by Bernice and a friend or her teacher. After the music, there was always a time of fellowship and refreshment.

HausmusikWhen Bernice and her husband moved to Lakewood Manor, she continued her practice of Hausmusik programs in the Simms Center. It was at this time she began inviting her grandchildren who played guitar, piano and violin to join her. She accompanied them at the piano, but she continued her piano solos and duets with her teacher.

This might not sound unusual until you discover that Bernice began presenting these programs when she was nearly 80. Today, at 92, she continues to present her yearly Hausmusik program at Lakewood.

Bernice’s love for music began when she was a child. Her family had a piano but could not afford music lessons. A neighbor took interest in her, taught her the names of the notes on the keyboard, how to place her hands on the notes, and a few music basics. Encouraged, and with a little bit of knowledge, she took a hymnal and taught herself to play.

HausmusikHer first formal piano lesson didn’t occur until she was a junior in high school. In spite of her somewhat late start Bernice entered college, majored in music, and graduated from Georgetown College in Kentucky prepared to teach.

It was at Georgetown that Bernice met her husband Phil. After “Dr. Phil” graduated from Louisville Seminary they moved to Richmond for him to become the founding pastor of Bon Air Baptist Church. In addition to her roles as pastor’s wife and mother to their children, Bernice taught school and piano lessons.


Bernice still lives at Lakewood and is actively involved in the life of that community, as well as the life of First Baptist Church where she is now a member. At Lakewood she plays piano for Sunday morning worship in Healthcare one Sunday each month and participates in a weekly Bible study. Though she isn’t often in attendance at Richmond’s First Baptist Church, she watches the webcast each week, continues to participate in Women on Mission, and is part of the Congregational Care Team where she keeps in touch with four of our home-bound members by sending cards and making regular phone calls and occasional visits.

HausmusikAnd, of course, she still plays the piano. It is her goal to practice two hours daily (except Sunday) so that she will be prepared for her piano lessons with her long-time teacher, Mrs. Anne James. Bernice has studied with Anne for more than 30 years, and still looks forward to every lesson. They are currently working on the music they will present in the next Lakewood Hausmusik program this fall.

When asked why she continues to study piano Bernice replied, “To play well is still a goal! It’s something I have to do! There is always something new I want to learn. Studying and practicing puts structure in my days and brings me great joy.”

And, to those of us who know and love Bernice, she brings great joy with her friendship and her music.

Becky PayneBecky Payne, recently retired after 25 years as Organist/Music Associate at Richmond’s First Baptist Church, now serves part-time in Congregational Care. Becky, a native Mississippian and graduate of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, came to Richmond after serving churches in Alabama, Kentucky and Mississippi.  She continues to volunteer in the music ministry and to teach a Bible Study at Lakewood Manor.  In her semi-retirement she is enjoying traveling, reading and more time with friends.

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Reported by Becky Payne and Betty Mann. Photos by Allen Brown and DeAnn Lineberry.

Lakewood Bible StudyWhen Becky Payne, FBC’s Music Associate/Organist, talks about the Lakewood Ladies Bible Study, you hear her heart: “I am passionate about this one little piece of my world. Being involved with these ladies has been one of the most fulfilling yet humbling things I have ever experienced. They bless me every time we meet.”

Ten years ago there were approximately 70 FBC members living at Lakewood Manor. Becky realized that many of them could no longer attend services outside Lakewood, so she brought church to them. With help from LaVora Sprinkle she planned a weekly Bible study that would also be a time of fellowship and connection with other FBC members.

Lakewood Bible StudyBecky leads these sessions, 12 weeks each spring and fall. The first study, Kay Arthur’s “Lord, I Want to Know You,” involved 28 women, three of whom still attend.

Studies since then include Beth Moore’s “Heart of a Woman: God’s Dwelling Place”; the Companions in Christ studies on The Way of Forgiveness, The Way of Blessedness, and The Way of Grace; Psalms, Isaiah, Hebrews, Philippians, Revelation, and the life of Moses.

Lakewood Bible StudyAttendees range in age from their early 70s to FBC member Frances Buckalew, who is 101. It is both joyous and humbling to see these dedicated Bible students arrive at the meetings. Several are on walkers; others use canes. Bernice Rodgerson, another FBC member, comes with an oxygen tank on her motorized chair.

The group now includes many from other Christian denominations and averages 20 attendees each week. Becky shares that “it is amazing to listen to them interact with each other as they share different perspectives on the study.”

Long-time Bible teachers, retired missionaries, pastors’ wives, and those with vision so poor they can only listen, all these women continue their lifetime commitment to in-depth Bible study.

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Story and photographs by Nancy Pettigrew.

You don’t have to be old enough to drive a car, write a check, or lead a team to be part of KOH2RVA. Not if you’re in FBC’s 5th grade Sunday school class.

Callout-BLOG5thgradeThe class has been Christmas caroling for decades. They began caroling for Ann and Garnett Poindexter in 1986 when Garnett was ill, and they have continued for Ann every year since.

Relationships with those they sang to sometimes grew by happenstance. One year when headed to the Poindexters, they inadvertently went to the house next door. Of course, they caroled to the sisters who lived there and that friendship grew. When the 5th graders learned these sisters had moved to The Hermitage, they followed them there. Upon seeing the children again, one sister said with tears in her eyes, “I knew you would come.”

5thgrade-carolingEveryone they visit values the children’s gift of time. Dr. George Modlin, former president of University of Richmond and long-time FBC member, showed his appreciation by always dressing for them in a three-piece suit.

The fifth graders discovered they don’t always have to be physically present either. When one woman had to travel on caroling night, the children sang to her via cell phone.

5thgrade-posterSometimes the caroling relationships move beyond the Christmas season. Marion Lawton lived on Grace Street just two blocks from church. Three or four times each year the class went to her home for their Sunday school lesson. For her 100th birthday, the children wheeled her to church to celebrate with a party for her.

In the fun of celebrating the holidays, the class doesn’t miss the bigger point, the
KOH2RVA point – building relationships with our neighbors based on God’s love.
5thgrade-lakewood2In 2012 the class visited David and Kathy Glass. Because David has ALS, the children wrote him messages of promised prayers for him and his family. At Lakewood Manor, they used their caroling to connect with some of the families from FBC. Those connections extend a sense of family to the next generation.

And this fifth-grade caroling is crossing generations in other ways. Amy El-Khouri, the music teacher on the fifth grade team, remembers caroling when she was in 5th grade. It’s such a good memory that in 2012 she brought her daughters, Emma (6) and Madelyn (4), to start the next generation on the caroling tradition.

Fifth grade team: Andy Beale, Amy El-Khouri, Nancy Pettigrew, Charlie Tysinger

Nancy PettigrewNancy Pettigrew has taught 5th grade Sunday school for 28 years. She has also worked in other areas of the Children’s Ministry and in children’s choirs. Nancy leads the Prayer Ministry Team, is active in Catalyst Prayer and is a First Responder.

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