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By Theresa Norton. Photos by Win Grant.

Journey class

Members of the Journey Sunday morning Bible study (Jeff Dortch, Jane Powell, Sandra Morton, and Betty Ann Dillon) assemble the compilation of news and stories from FBC's website.

Most of us didn’t feel any impact when the Ministry of Communication decided to move from print to online publication of First Things First. However, staff and volunteers within that ministry area know there are those in our church family who aren’t able to utilize the internet, email or social media. In response, Charles Luger gathered a group to discuss how we could keep these folks informed and connected to our church family. What resulted is a news packet (Mailpak) mailed to roughly 100 who are not typically able to attend church in person. The Mailpak includes a compilation of news similar to Wednesday Night News and Sunday Morning News, as well as highlights of articles and updates that appear on www.fbcrichmond.org.

According to Charles, the end result is a win/win. “Eliminating the printed publication was one change that allowed the Ministry of Communication to make needed budget cuts without compromising the effectiveness of our ministry since we now have something that is mailed more frequently, at a lower cost.”

Much like our overall church family, Mailpak recipients’ households are spread across a large geographic area. Most live alone, whether in their own homes or in retirement communities. Mailpak recipient Ethel Kyle said she appreciates the updates and sees the importance since over the years she has been one to call on and write fellow members in “ordinary time” and in times of need. Ethel described the broader need of staying connected to her church so well, as she shared what may seem insignificant to those of us at church regularly: having a friend bring her a church bulletin so she can use it as she watches the service on television the following week or receiving minutes from Deacons’ meetings or flowers from the sanctuary.

Minister of Community Lynn Turner affirms Ethel’s sentiment that the Mailpak is a good additional step in the community process. “As we consider how to bring together and maintain the family of First Baptist, it is important that those who are no longer able to attend our church on a regular basis feel they are still informed of what is going on in the life of the church and that they remain a vital part of our congregation. This new ministry of sending out information is so helpful. It complements the personal visits made by staff and congregational care volunteers, and serves an important purpose in the process of keeping these members connected.”

Betty Jane Hagan and Jeannie Dortch

Betty Jane Hagan and Jeannie Dortch gather the completed MailPacks for Monday's mailing to nearly 100 of FBC's family.

The Mailpak also gives our members a chance to serve one another. Volunteers of all ages, including childrens’ Sunday morning Bible study groups and youth and adult small groups, assemble and prepare the Mailpaks for mailing. Ongoing support of this effort is needed. Volunteers pick up the materials in the TV control room on 2nd Sunday mornings. They collate, stuff and label these items and return them for mailing on Monday. Full details and instructions can be found at http://teamlogistics.net/mailpak.htm. If you know someone who would benefit from receiving the Mailpak, please contact Charles Luger at charlesluger@gmail.com or 804-360-897.

For Ethel, and others no longer able to attend FBC, the Mailpak is a touch point that reminds her she has a church home and family whether or not she gets to the church building.


Theresa NortonTheresa and her husband, Mark, have two sons, Trevor and Ryan. She has an M.S. in Gerontology from VCU and was a Senior Living Consultant at Covenant Woods and The Hermitage. Currently she is a stay-at-home mom, doing part-time gerontological research. Theresa serves FBC as a Deacon, is in the Disciples Sunday school class, and works with the women’s ministry. Her mission involvement focuses on poverty-related issues through Together for Hope Business as Mission and WMU’s Mary & Elizabeth Project for the Pregnancy Resource Center.

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