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Friday, January 10 2020
Art & Soul

On Thursday afternoons, from 1:00-3:00, a group gathers on the top floor of Broadus Memorial Baptist church in the Cornerstone classroom for Art & Soul. These artists - some Broadus members, some not - create not only beautiful artwork in various mediums, but also deep and meaningful relationships with one another. Want to know more about this special group and get involved? Check out our Q&A below with Virginia Thompson who has led and taught Art & Soul since its inception. Call the church office or check the church calendar for more meeting details. 

Q&A with Virginia Thompson

When did Art & Soul begin? How did it begin?  

Over the years of Camp Young at Heart, participants would always express a wish to continue with the class, were sorry that it was over so quickly, etc. This would also appear in the comments in the written evaluations of CYAH, which of course Margarete Gillette (Broadus Associate Pastor) read. Margarete asked me if I would consider organizing an informal weekly group at Broadus, where people could bring whatever creative projects they were working on. We started our first meeting in September of 2013 and have been going strong ever since. We have a core group of about ten.

What are some different mediums y'all have worked with? 

Most of the members are painters; in oil and watercolor. Some occasionally bring a craft to work on, or simply enjoy drawing. Other people have brought knitting, crochet and embroidery. We have worked collaboratively on the paper tile mosaic for the sanctuary, and folding origami doves for last year's Advent installation.

What is your favorite part of Art & Soul? What do participants seem to enjoy most? 

My favorite part is the authentic relationships that have grown out of the group. We have a lot of fun, and the conversations can be pretty dynamic. It's an easy place to be yourself, no judgments. Most of our members are "seniors" (whatever that is), and I love to hear their wisdom, stories and humor. I draw energy from their unabated curiosity. As an artist, it is gratifying to see that art is the common thread that binds these wonderful people to each other.

How do participants support each other on Thursday afternoons and beyond? 

True concern for each other's well-being is a hallmark of this group. If a regular attendee is missing, inevitably someone has already followed up, or will. We celebrate birthdays, share worries and difficulties, get together for a yearly Christmas celebration, and occasionally take field trips to galleries and museums. Subsets of the group get together socially throughout the year.

Do y'all have space for more people to join? 

Always. Bring whatever you are working on, or we can loan you some supplies to get started with painting.


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Friday, October 11 2019
Making Space for Middle Schoolers

On Wednesday nights we have started offering a time designed specifically for middle school students. 

Do you remember your time in those middle grades?

I’m Liz and I’m one of the Middle School leaders, and I remember what it was like. For me, it meant a new school—harder classes, people I didn’t know, a more complicated schedule—and lots of questions. 

I remember arriving home in the afternoons, after a long day of learning and athletics and extracurriculars and social pressures and feeling done

Middle school also marked the time I was invited to join the Wednesday Night Youth Group at my church. Over time, this came to be a space that I explored my faith, made friends, and was offered opportunities to lead. 

That was important for me. It was where I began to come out of my shy shell. It gave me conversation partners and the chance for a lot of fun. 

I grew up in a pretty big youth group; Wednesday night gatherings could include a couple hundred kids, and to be honest, it was easy to get lost. I got to know some of the adults volunteering their time to teach and supervise us, but I didn’t always feel like they had time for my questions.

To be honest, having grown up in church, I was afraid having questions meant I was doing something wrong. Shouldn’t I have everything figured out?

The answer to that is, of course, no. 

I have my middle school self in mind as I arrive at church on Wednesday nights. That’s part of why we (Liz Andrasi Deere, and Hayley and Adam Rose) have designed our time together to give space for questions. We want our middle school students to have a place to unwind where they can connect with adults who care about them and want to know them. 

We hope students leave our time together a little more relaxed and a little more encouraged and comfortable with who they are, because we think they are really great. 

So far this year our conversations have covered video games, books we love, exploring our town, and what school is like. We splurged on fancy markers, watercolor pencils, piles of gel pens, and fun coloring books to keep our hands busy while we discuss the important things in our lives. Over time, these conversations will change as our friendships deepen and we will add activities throughout the year as we discover what everyone is passionate about. We are excited to keep meeting together and there is room at the table for more to join!

We meet from 6:15-7:00 but it isn’t the only thing we at Broadus do on Wednesday nights…

Volunteers on the kitchen crew serve dinner at 5:30 at round tables in the sanctuary. Students can join us for this time (dinner is $5—but if anyone doesn't have cash and is hungry, we still want them to eat with us!) or they can meet us across the hall at 6:15 where we will be until we finish up by 7:00. 

Have middle schoolers AND elementary schoolers? Bring them all! Our Kingdom Kids meet at the same time, and we would love to welcome more friends. Read more about that program here

Last but certainly not least, our pastor, Nick Deere, leads a Bible study for adults in the sanctuary during this time, as well. So, if you’re bringing a student there’s also something for you. Of course, you don’t have to bring a student to be a part of this Bible study, anyone is welcome. 

Hope to see you on a Wednesday night! 

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Friday, October 04 2019
We Said Farewell to Summer with a Patio Concert

So why do the Deacons or the Arts Committee or individuals plan special activities? Do we really need more things on our calendar? Isn’t it enough to go to church on Sunday and Wednesday and not have to feel guilty about not going back for the extras? You may have asked those or similar questions as you have read the Beacon or seen a Facebook event post. You can be assured that your presence is not required at the extras, but there is purpose behind them. They’re not just activities put together by people who don’t have anything better to do. They’re activities designed to give us opportunities to gather, enjoy a time of fun or food or learning (or all of the above), and, in so doing, further build our connections to each other as a church family.


Sunday evening the Arts Committee planned the “Farewell to Summer Patio Concert.” Dressed in Hawaiian shirts and leis, we ate pizza, salad, drinks, and dessert and enjoyed conversation around the table. It gave us opportunities to catch up on each other’s lives, to ask about upcoming events (two members of our church family are going to Morocco, and part of the trip will include sleeping in a tent in the Sahara Desert), and to exchange greetings with people who we didn’t see in the morning. There is value in getting to know each other better and in broadening the circle of church family members as we get to know their names. It is too easy to sit in our same seat each Sunday beside people who are also sitting in their same seat each Sunday and never really expand our circle much beyond that. These “extra-curricular” activities change things up a bit, and that is worthwhile.


From the meal we moved to the main event, which was singing favorite hymns/songs accompanied on guitar by two of our resident musicians, Lee Perry and Marshall Thompson. We told the Arts Committee ahead of time what our favorites were so Lee and Marshall were able to practice, and we were able to have songbooks with the words. What makes a particular piece of music a favorite?  Sometimes it’s because of its association with a special person or special time in our lives. Sometimes it’s because of the lyrics. Sometimes it’s just because; it just brings up something good for us. With the words in hand, we were able to sing these favorites together. The focus was not on what was “my” favorite, but what were “our” favorites. That too served a useful purpose because it pushed us beyond ourselves. And we had an added bonus that a neighbor saw the sign at our entrance and joined us because she felt like singing! It was a fun evening, and we appreciate the efforts of the Arts Committee.  We’re Broadus whether we’re gathered for worship or to sing old favorites and have dinner together.

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Friday, August 30 2019
Awesome God & Awesome Art: Hearts & Hands 2019

Several years ago, those of us who work with Broadus’ children on a regular basis through our Kingdom Kids program decided to do something different with Vacation Bible School. Rather than purchase a VBS curriculum from one of the large Christian publishing companies, we created our own homegrown version and called it Hearts and Hands. Its focus is on worship and art. Our goal was not necessarily to have the biggest VBS in town, but rather to stay connected to the children who come to Kingdom Kids during the school year. That meant it needed to be held in the evening when they weren’t in summer school, and it needed to begin with a meal so that we could start early enough to get them home at a reasonable hour. Hearts and Hands was a vision that made sense for us.

This year we held Hearts and Hands on four consecutive Mondays so that if someone was on vacation one week, they didn’t miss out on the whole thing. It happened that this summer two of our Kingdom Kids were in Mexico for the whole summer and two of them had moved out of the area, so our group was smaller than usual. Numbers matter on some level, but we weren’t using that measure. We had a good experience sitting around the table at dinner talking, singing and learning about Jesus, and then creating art together. On the last night, one of the girls wanted to show me a video she had made of her and her cousin singing one of our songs, “Awesome God”, together.  

No, we didn’t have huge numbers, but we started creating another beautiful piece of art for our sanctuary and two little girls are singing “Awesome God” and know, along with the other children who came, that they are loved by a God who will never ever leave them.

Do you have a child or know a child in Kindergarten through 5th grade who might like to be a part of Kingdom Kids? If so, call the church office at 434-977-7381 to find out more about registration. 

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Friday, August 16 2019
Family Movie Night

It stormed in Charlottesville on the evening of July 31st. I wondered, will anyone show up, for Up? 

I arrived at the church a little after 6:00pm and walked into the sanctuary which was designed to adapt and become a fellowship space whenever necessary. Our people—children, youth, young adults, middle aged, and seniors—stretched into a line and chattered and caught up waiting their turn for pizza. 

Members of the Christian Arts Committee served each guest who then found a seat at tables which had been set and decorated by the committee on theme for the night’s feature film. 


Over the next half hour or so, tables swelled as more people arrived and more chairs were added so everyone would have a space to sit, eat, and connect.

Popcorn was popped and ready, and then more popcorn was popped and handed around as folks settled into their seats and the movie began.


That night was my first time to see this particular Disney Pixar flick. I wasn’t prepared for the amount of heart, or the way the friendship between recently widowed, grieving Mr. Fredricksen and young Russell, who craved the attention of an engaged adult, would resonate so deeply with the gathered crowd. 

Young and old journeyed together as Russell and Mr. Fredricksen soared across the screen and picked up new friends and vanquished foes together: both physical and emotional. 


As Mr. Fredricksen let go of his home and treasured possessions—proof of the adventure of life he and his beloved wife, Ellie shared—and set off to have a new adventure alongside his new friends, I thought about the church. 

I thought about the space where we all sat laughing, tearing up, and eating together. 

I thought about the years of love and memories saturating the chairs and the walls and the love and care taken each week as the sanctuary is prepared for worship and fellowship.

I thought about the people gathered, all part of the Broadus family, and how important this space is, but how what matters more is the way we are formed by our time there. 

Church is more than a building. Church is a body of people. It is one of the few spaces where people—all people—can come and know that they are loved and valued. It is a place to build relationships that might not form in other corners of our busy, isolated lives. It is a place to celebrate and mourn with one another. 

Mr. Fredricksen’s and Russell’s adventure wasn’t easy. They weathered betrayal and embraced forgiveness. They let go of some treasures in order to care for one another. They chose to sacrifice for Kevin and Doug—their animal companions—above their own needs and wants. 

Isn’t that the church, too? At its best? 

At Broadus we strive to be more than a building. We pray to be followers of Christ who consider our neighbors’ needs above our own and offer space for people to connect deeply and know that they are loved and belong. 

We aren’t always perfect but watching Up together that night I caught a glimpse of the way God takes our imperfect offerings and knits them together into something beautiful. 

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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 or call (434) 977-7381.