When we talk about Broadus, we frequently refer to ourselves as a “church family.” What does that mean? We all have families into which we were born or adopted. Those families help us, in part, define and understand who we are. A church family is different because we choose to become part of it.
As a child or teen being brought to church with our parents, we may not have a choice, but eventually everyone has a choice whether to be part of a church family and, if so, which one to join. When they function well, our families, whichever one we’re talking about, become places of safety, places where we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we will find love, support, and encouragement as we navigate our way through life.
We have a Wednesday evening meals many weeks of the year, but a few of them are called Family Nights because we want to encourage our church family to make room in their schedules for these meals. Much as the Thanksgiving meals that we will celebrate next week do, they provide opportunities to celebrate that we belong together. They affirm our bonds to one another.
In recent years, the program for our Thanksgiving Family Nights has been the Senior Singers performing their musical. This group of musicians has been part of Broadus since we first existed as a church. The members have changed over the years, and they are fewer in number now than they were twenty years ago, but their twofold ministry has remained the same. They sing hymns in area care facilities, primarily memory care units, on the second Tuesday of each month, and they present a musical in area churches and independent living communities.
This ministry impacts our community in a variety of ways. Music is buried deep in our brains, and often a person who is for the most part non-verbal can still sing a hymn when they are unable to enter into a conversation. Whether they’re singing hymns or their musical, the Senior Singers are bearing witness to a faith that sustains them as they grow older. And they model to their audience one of the aspects of healthy aging: staying engaged.
You do not need to attend Broadus to join the Senior Singers. In fact, most of the group today is comprised of non-Broadus members. What you do need is a love of singing and a desire to share your voice to encourage, inspire, and entertain others. If you want more information on this group, please call our church office at 977-7381, and we’ll get you connected.
When I first began working with senior adults 20+ years ago, I did a lot of reading because thus far most my work in churches had been with children and youth. Somewhere I read or heard a description of the senior adult population as being composed of “go-gos,” “slow-gos,” and “no-gos.” That description caught my attention because it made sense.
Over the years, I’ve known 95 year old “go-gos” and 75 year old “slow gos.” Participation in senior adult programs is generally a factor of health rather than age. It was easy to plan trips for the “go-gos” that would accommodate the “slow-gos” and to visit the “no-gos,” but it was also important to me to create space where everyone could be together. That’s where the senior adult lunch has its origins.
For many years, it was a monthly program.Then for a few years the number of attendees had dwindled so we took a hiatus. Now new life has been breathed into the lunch, and we’re gathering multiple times a year. The purpose now is the same that it has always been: getting to know each other better and becoming a group that can provide support and encouragement to each other as we all move through the aging process.
Because you can only eat so long, lunch is followed by a program. Sometimes it’s informative, like our August program on grief provided by Hospice of the Piedmont, and sometimes we play games designed to challenge and entertain. We finish up within 1 ½ hours so that our Senior Singers can go to rehearsal at 1:30 PM.
Our next Senior Adult Lunch, which is always open to anyone who can attend, not just senior adults, will be Tuesday, November 19. Liz Andrasi Deere will be sharing with us about her participation in a pilgrimage along an ancient pilgrim route, the Via Francigena, this past summer.
Join us in the sanctuary at 12:00 PM. The cost for lunch is $3.00. You can sign up in the narthex or call the church office to let us know you’re coming, but don’t let not having made a reservation keep you from coming. We always plan on food for extras!
Eighteen years ago we added All Saints’ Sunday to our annual church calendar. On the first Sunday in November, we light candles in remembrance of members of our church family who have passed away in the previous twelve months. This is always a poignant service because we are reminded of ones who we love who were with us and now are not. Even though we know that they have taken up residence in their heavenly home, we miss them. This year we lit candles for eight individuals. Memories of them and their contributions to the faith community known as Broadus continue to encourage us and propel us forward as we seek to be faithful to our calling to be a light in our world.
Too often when we hear the word “saint,” we think of individuals who have been canonized by the church. People like Francis of Assisi and Mother Teresa. But when Paul refers to saints in Romans 1:7, “To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his holy people: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ,” he is talking to you and me, too.
A saint is a person called by God to be holy, to live his or her life for Him. Each and every one of us who call Jesus Lord are called to be saints.
Over the years, we have lit candles for 124 saints. None of them would claim to have been perfect people, and some might even shy away from being called a “saint,” thinking they weren’t worthy of such a title. As Christians, we are learning to live into our calling, learning what it means to seek God first. Sometimes we fail; sometimes we succeed, but that doesn’t change the goal.
On this and every All Saints’ Sunday, we are reminded of our calling and are thankful for the saints who are no longer with us here on Earth, who have set an example for us and have joined the “cloud of witnesses” that continue to encourage us to be faithful followers to the end.
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." Matthew 5:9
In 2011, the Junior Youth class, our 4th-6th graders, heard about the Peace Pole Project one Sunday. This project had its beginning in post-World War II Japan and a desire on the part of some people living there to draw attention to the need to work together for peace.
By the early 1980's Peace Poles had begun to appear in places outside of Japan. It is estimated that there are over 200,000 Peace Poles erected around the world...in places as diverse as Ground Zero and Baghdad, on Mt. Everest and Machu Picchu, and in Bethlehem and in front of a McDonald's in Serbia.
On one side of each pole, the words "May Peace Prevail On Earth" are written. The children decided they wanted Broadus to have a Peace Pole too and worked with the Christian Arts Committee to make that happen.
On its remaining three sides, Broadus' pole has "May Peace Prevail in Me", "May Peace Prevail in America", and "Peacemakers are the Children of God."
Our pole reminds us that God is the source of our peace and that we are called to be peacemakers in our families, our community, and our world.
At Broadus Memorial Baptist Church we believe we are called to love God and love our neighbors. The stories you read on this blog offer a witness to the ways we respond to God's love and seek to share that love with others.
Scripture describes the church as a body, made up of many parts. Just as your tiniest toe isn't aware of the intricate work your heart or brain do, it can sometimes happen that people in the church body only see what is happening immediately around them. Our hope is that reading these stories will help forge connection and inspire greater love and understanding for one another.
At Broadus we are a community defined by warm-hearted fellowship and thoughtful inquiry. We hope you see evidence of that in the stories we share here. We hope you know, or come to know, that you are a part of God's grand story and that you are welcome to join us, on a Sunday, a Wednesday, or any gathering in between.
The life of faith is a journey, and we are not meant to walk it alone. Our stories connect us and we are excited to share some of ours with you.
If you have a story you'd like to share or would like to connect in some other way you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (434) 977-7381.
Please visit our new YouTube channel to find all of the latest videos of sermons, Bible studies, and ways to stay connected while we are not gathering in-person.