Our annual Soup/Dessert Cook-Off is one of those activities that has become a tradition at Broadus each winter. It’s not that we assume men don’t cook and bake all through the year, but on this night, we put them in the spotlight and allow them to shine. Males of all ages are invited to prepare soup and/or dessert and bring it to church on Sunday evening. The rest of us are able to enjoy their culinary offerings. And for fun, we ask women to be judges and pick their favorites.
Every once in a while, someone will say that maybe we don’t need to include this event on our calendar anymore, but then there are others who say this is one of their favorite events of the whole year. It means something to them beyond the food. For them, the tradition is invested with memories and meaning that add to its importance.
That’s the way it is with traditions in a church. You have to ask questions of them. Do they still have meaning? Do they need to be freshened up? Is there a simpler way to do something that doesn’t require as much preparation? In this case, we decided to carry on and just downscale our preparations, at least for this year.
There’s a second part to the evening, and that’s the program. At times the Arts Committee has staged elaborate themed productions, and they are fabulous and greatly enjoyed. And at other times, the program is more about highlighting the talents of our Broadus family. Children have performed magic tricks, tap danced, and shared with us their beginning efforts on an instrument. Adults have shared their talents too: singing, reciting, playing, telling jokes, etc. In recent years, we’ve had a pop-up art show where our artists are highlighted. As individuals share their talents, we learn something more about them and what is important to them.
Ultimately that is the goal of any of our fellowship events…to better get to know and appreciate each other. Why is that important? Because we all want to know that we matter. We want to have a name and not be known by where we sit on Sunday morning or physical descriptors. And as we connect to each other, we find unity in our diversity. We say an emphatic “no” to the divisiveness of our day. So, yes, the Soup/Dessert Cook-Off is a tradition, but it’s one with a holy purpose.
You haven’t missed this year’s Cook-Off! There’s still time to sign up. Men, you’re invited to bring a soup or dessert, but that is never a requirement. All are invited to join us on Sunday, February 23 at 5:30 PM. Call the church office to let us know you’re coming.
One of the functions of Sunday morning worship is to remind ourselves who we belong to and who we serve. We are followers of Christ and his is not always an easy road to travel. We can leave church on Sunday to be more faithful, to be more loving and then watch that resolve be challenged as we enter back into the tug of war of life. That’s why it can be so helpful to gather again on Wednesday, to once again fill up our tanks by engaging with fellow travelers in Bible study. Yes, it’s something on the church calendar, but it’s there for a purpose. Not just because that’s what Baptists do.
At Broadus, we call it Wednesday Evening Fellowship, and it has multiple components. We kick it off with dinner at 5:30 PM. For a number of years, this was a catered meal, but then a dedicated group, the “kitchen crew”, decided to take the responsibility for meal preparation on themselves. Each week through the school year, they prepare a delicious meal to nourish us and allow us to gather around tables in our worship space to enjoy a meal together. This gives us a time to catch up on the week with members of our church family, to get to know them in ways that takes more than sitting together in worship. The Kingdom Kids and middle school group also join in the meal giving everyone a chance to engage with each other, regardless of age.
Around 6:15 PM, dinner concludes and “the kitchen crew” goes into clean-up mode. The Kingdom Kids and middle-schoolers go off to their separate groups, and for the adults, there is a time of prayer and Bible study together. Prayer concerns are shared and updates are given on those for whom we have been praying. This time is followed by adult Bible study, which is not simply another sermon delivered by the pastor mid-week. It’s guided study of a particular book of the Bible or topic that makes space for questions and exchange of thoughts and dialogue. The goal is to dig deep and be able to affirm not only what we believe, but why we believe. Right now, the study is centered on the book of James.
In Acts 2 we read about the early Christ followers, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” The church grew because people observed that these Christians genuinely cared about each other and that their “religion” was more than rituals; it was a way of life. Wednesday Evening Fellowship is a mid-week opportunity to ground ourselves in our faith. It’s not a club, open to a select few or even just open to church members. All are welcome!
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.
If you grew up in church, you more than likely have memories of one or more Christmas pageants in which you participated. Perhaps you were one of many angels or shepherds or perhaps you had one of the main roles of Joseph or Mary.
Christmas pageants have long been associated with church and children. St. Francis of Assisi is credited with staging the first nativity scene in Greccio in 1223. Later he said about this event, “I want to do something that will recall the memory of that Child who was born in Bethlehem, to see with bodily eyes the inconveniences of his infancy, how he lay in the manger, and how the ox and ass stood by." A Christmas pageant allows us to experience a story that we might know very well in a different way. We see a story unfold before us.
Broadus has a long history of Christmas pageants too, but ours have almost always been unrehearsed. The children learn about Jesus and his birth in Bethlehem, and then they have a chance to act out that story. We use the same script every year, but it never turns out exactly the same. The adults that are shepherding the children and moving the play along through the script have to be prepared for the unexpected, which is one of the messages of Christmas.
Mary wasn’t planning on delivering her child in a stable in Bethlehem. The shepherds who were in the fields with their sheep weren’t expecting to have their night interrupted by angels. The Wise Men who journeyed from the East didn’t know their exact destination. Life happens for us in unexpected, and sometimes unwelcome, ways, but we are children of a God who appears in the unexpected and even transforms it into something new and wonderful.
So, when a shepherd wanders around on the stage or baby Jesus doesn’t lie still in the manger, we don’t cringe because they’re off-script. We smile and laugh and understand that life doesn’t follow a script. And we understand too that life, like this unrehearsed pageant, doesn’t come with a dress rehearsal followed by the real thing.
As we journey through Advent, our hope and prayer for you is that you will find moments to pause and reflect on a story that may be so familiar to you that you forget to marvel at it. Christmas...God coming to us to live amongst us and show us the way. Then and now.
You’re invited to join us for our Christmas Family Night on Wednesday, December 11, 5:30 PM. You can call the church office, 977-7381, to make a reservation or just show up. Either way you’ll find a warm welcome. Hope to see you there!
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!
Costumed children, cars with trunks open, hot dogs and cookies, music, and Halloween crafts. It’s almost time for Trunk or Treat!
For about ten years, we’ve invited our neighbors to join us in our lower parking lot on the Sunday before Halloween. There’s always plenty of candy, but it’s not just about letting kids fill up their bags with goodies. It’s about providing a safe place for children and their families. It’s a time for families to enjoy watching their children have fun. It’s a time for us to get to know our neighbors and our neighbors to get to know us. It’s a time for us to talk to the families of our Kingdom Kids for more than a few minutes at pick up and drop off. It’s a time for us to make clear that being a church is about more than getting together on Sunday morning for worship.
Church is about living life together. It’s as we get to know each other as neighbors that we build up the trust that is needed to allow us to call each other friends. It’s friends who you go to when you need a hand or a word of encouragement. It’s a friend who you want to share your joys and sorrows with.
Right now, there seems to be so much division between people. Differences have not become something to celebrate, but rather something to divide us. Trunk or Treat is one of the many ways that we at Broadus want to build community and send the message that “All are welcome.”
It’s happening again this year on Sunday, October 27, 3:00-4:30 PM, and you’re invited to be part of the fun. We’ll serve hot dogs, chips, cookies, and drinks at 4:00 PM. If the weather isn’t good enough to be outside, then we’ll move everything indoors.
So, rain or shine, Trunk or Treat will happen and we hope to see you there!
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.
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.
If you’ve never heard of Camp Young at Heart (CYAH), you’re not alone. Even though this program has been going on for fifteen years and information has been sent to churches of every denomination around Charlottesville, many people who register for the first time tell us they’d never heard of it before. For three days in August adults, primarily of retirement age, gather at Aldersgate United Methodist Church to worship, learn, and get to know each other. Classes are offered on a variety of topics, some biblical and others offering the chance to learn a new skill or expand understanding of a particular topic. Some years we’ve had attendance in the mid-60s and other years it’s gotten closer to 90. What is always the case is that 16-19 churches are represented and that they’re not all Baptist. Our theological differences aren’t important. All of us are God’s children and glad to be together, raising our voices in song, bowing our heads in prayer, and engaging our minds in learning.
When we look at Acts and read the various letters that Paul wrote to those first churches in what are now the countries of Greece and Turkey, we hear him plead over and over again for unity. In Ephesians 4:3-6, we read, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called;one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” At Camp Young at Heart, we put that lofty goal into place and celebrate our oneness as children of God. In a time when division and rancor seem to be running rampant, it is good to be part of something where that is not present.
Another aspect of CYAH worth celebrating is that it offers participants a chance to learn something new. Every year one of the classes that returns by popular request is Virginia Thompson’s art class. Some years it’s oil painting, other years it’s watercolor or printmaking, but always art. What surprises me every year when I talk to the participants, and admire their artwork, is that for at least one person this is the first time that they’ve ever taken an art class. Many of them have said it was something they always wanted to try, but, for a variety of reasons, they had never done so. Often that reason was a fear of failure, and they had allowed their fear to stop them from pursuing a dream. It is exciting to see someone liberated from fear.
At Broadus, we take seriously our charge to be part of ushering in God’s “kingdom on Earth as it is in heaven.” That means finding unity in the midst of differences, being a faith community where all are welcome, acknowledging that none of us have a lock on the truth and that we’re all in the process of becoming, and always having as our goal to be the presence of Christ in our world. Our support of Camp Young at Heart is just one aspect of putting that charge into action.
If CYAH sounds like something you would like to be part of, you haven’t missed it for 2019! It will be held next week, August 26-28, 9:00 AM-2:00 PM at Aldersgate United Methodist Church. The cost is $25.00 for individuals and $40.00 for couples. You can call the Broadus church office at 434-977-7381 to register.
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.
On Saturday July 13th, sixteen of us traveled to Quantico, Virginia to visit the National Museum of the Marine Corps. We have been taking trips together at Broadus for twenty years or so. Obviously, some of the individuals who have traveled with us in the past are no longer doing so today. Many of them are no longer living, others have experienced a decline in their ability to move around easily, and others have moved away. So, the group of travelers reconfigures, and a new grouping develops.
Out of these trips together, community emerges. We get to know each other in a different setting. We have time to share stories as we sit next to each other on the bus. We share an experience that then becomes part of our history together.
When I think about the trips we’ve taken over the years, one that stands out is a visit to the White House years ago. We submitted a list in the summer of all the people who were possibly interested in going so they could be vetted by the Secret Service. We didn’t know if our group would be given a time slot and were delighted to find out in November that we’d been approved. We expected to see the White House Christmas tree and decorations, and we did, but for some of our group, an unexpected detour through the White House kitchen to access an elevator was the highlight of the tour.
Traveling together creates memories that bind us in new, and sometimes, unexpected ways.
Being a part of Broadus is about worshipping and serving together, but it’s also importantly about community and building connections between each other so that when rough times inevitably come into each of our lives, we have a support system that will walk with us through the storm. We share the joys and the sorrows of life together.
Building community takes time. It takes getting out of the chairs in our sanctuary and getting to know each other on a different level. It takes building trust as we share our joys and hurts, our questions and our thoughts and find them thoughtfully and carefully received. It takes working together to spread mulch and pull weeds, wash baseboards and vacuum out stink bugs.
Building community is an investment in becoming a band of followers who will go with each other as we follow Jesus wherever He takes us.
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.