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Friday, December 06 2019
The Christmas Pageant: Our Unrehearsed Tradition

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!

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Friday, October 18 2019
It's Almost Time for Trunk or Treat!

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! 

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Friday, September 20 2019
Kingdom Kids

There was a time in our history that we had three nurseries full of babies and preschoolers. There was a time when we took twenty plus youth to summer conferences. There’s no way of knowing exactly what the future holds, but that’s not where we are right now. Does that mean children and youth have no place at Broadus? Absolutely not. Our ministry to children focuses on Kingdom Kids, a mid-week program that we’ve offered for about fifteen years. It’s a program for children in grades K-5th, but occasionally we’ve slipped a four-year old in there with their older sibling. Kingdom Kids includes children whose families regularly attend Broadus, but also children who live in Wilton Farm, a neighborhood just a half-mile away. They are our neighbors, and we look for ways throughout the year to welcome them into our church family.

Wednesday evenings, Mr. Mike and Ms. Nancy take the bus to Wilton Farm to pick up children who are eager to come to Broadus. They’re happy to come not just because of the meal that is being prepared for them by Mr. Dan and his kitchen crew, but because they are going to be welcomed by people who are truly happy to see them. After dinner, they have a time of learning and worshipping together. They’re on a four-year curriculum rotation: Journey with Jesus – the life of Jesus, Rock-Solid Followers – the early church and Paul, Fruits of the Spirit, and Parable Quest – the parables of Jesus. They hear stories, sing, complete activities, and do crafts that relate to the topic of the night. From the beginning the goal has been to help these children understand that God loves them and that He wants them to love Him, love their neighbors, and love themselves. We want them to understand what that looks like so we make sure that the children treat each other and their leaders respectfully.  


A number of years ago, the then principal of Stony Point Elementary School emailed me to ask at what time we were having our children’s Christmas pageant. She wanted to come because she had been in the cafeteria that day and overheard some of her students talking about being wise men and shepherds and angels. When she asked about it, they told her all about what they were doing at Kingdom Kids that night.  What happens here on Wednesday evenings goes home and goes to school with our children. It doesn’t matter if we have twenty kids in our program or five, what we’re doing matters in their lives. That’s why we’re here. To make a difference for Christ.


Kingdom Kids might be the centerpiece of our children’s program, but we see “our” kids at lots of other times. Movie nights, Trunk or Treat, Children’s Easter Celebration, special outings, Hearts and Hands (our Vacation Bible School alternative), and Back-to-School Night. Over the years, we’ve developed relationships with their families and are able to welcome them to activities as well. Some of the families have joined us in worship on Sunday too, but that was never the goal of this ministry. It’s not about getting people to “join” the church. It’s about being the presence of Christ to our neighbors and about helping to usher in His kingdom on earth. When our Kingdom Kids sing their songs for us (frequently accompanied by lots of motion), when they tell us what they’ve learned in the year, when they pack shoeboxes for children who are in need, and make Valentine’s for our homebound members, we know that we are doing exactly what God wants us to do in this time and in this place. We’re taking care of the children He has placed in our care. 

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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 09 2019

On Sunday, August 11that 6:30pm we will set up tables at Wilton Farm and distribute school supplies and sign up children for Kingdom Kids. For the past five years or so, we have been joined by teachers and staff from Stony Point Elementary School. This is a wonderful event, and one way you can be involved is to donate school supplies. These are the items that appear in most of the grade level lists: Glue sticks, Clorox wipes, hand sanitizer, 24 count Crayola crayons, colored pencils, Ticonderoga pencils, marble composition books, two pocket plastic folders, three prong folders, and highlighters. A bin is in the hallway at Broadus to receive your donations. 

This partnership has been a yearly tradition for almost two decades. Below is a story from Back to School Night in 2017. It originally appeared in the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Virginia’s Mission Box curriculum. If you are interested in accessing that full resource, please email

The sun was beginning to set over the mountains when I arrived at Wilton Farm apartment’s parking lot. Members of Broadus Memorial Baptist Church had set up tables in an “L” before I arrived, and they were now scurrying around organizing and setting out school supplies by grade level. Two teachers from Stony Point Elementary helped make sure supplies matched the lists for each age group. All the while, children meandered around, skipping between the tables and the nearby playground. Some older children climbed trees, and the younger ones slid down slides and pumped their legs to take swings high into the air. Parents wandered up bringing more children and doing the work of keeping them all corralled and out of the street. I offered to help, but mostly stood back and observed. This Back to School Night was running like clockwork, and I was invited to partake in a beautiful expression of God’s love that I had absolutely no hand in creating. This breezy and warm summer evening was the backdrop for a local school, church, and apartment community to come together once again and support our children. 


The Broadus folks – most of whom also volunteer in our children’s ministry, Kingdom Kids, where they build relationships through sharing Bible stories, songs, and meals with these same children every Wednesday night of the school year – gathered and settled the families and many children and gave instructions. The kids were divided into their grades and the youngest, kindergarteners getting ready to go to school for the first time, were invited up first. I stood at the backpack table, the start of the assembly line. Their little eyes were wide as they picked out the color pack they wanted. I smiled as they wrapped their arms around a bag that, while scaled to a kindergartener’s size, still seemed to overwhelm their tiny five-year-old frames. 

As the kindergarteners picked out their backpacks, I heard familiar joking voices just behind me. Two of our freshmen–twins–who live in Wilton Farm had arrived on the scene. I had only been at Broadus a little less than a year, but they had been a part of Broadus’ family through Kingdom Kids, other Back to School Nights, Sunday mornings, trips to UVA basketball games, and many meals and moments in between–for almost their whole lives. They were baptized into this community and they now offered hugs, high fives, and jokes to the Broadus folks that taught them on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings. They are the cool, older kids that the younger ones look to. Their smiles were infectious and they brought an air of ease and joy to the evening. I looked to them and was reminded of the intricate, long work that God does among God’s people. I am thankful for every Broadus member, every Stony Point support staff and teacher, and every Wilton Farm resident and the community members that have been a part of this journey. This is God’s work in the world. Bringing communities together, sharing what we have, receiving the gifts from those we meet along the way and then turning around and offering this story of belonging to others. 

There is just something about brand new school supplies. They have always filled me with anticipation, inviting me to dream about the words I will write, the words I will read, the drawings I will create. I saw a flicker of this on the faces of our youngest friends as they made their way around the table for the first time. There were little squeals of excitement as they realized that all of this was theirs to take home and, in just over a week, to school. Their parents and older siblings helped open their bags and the children began to fill them with treasures. Their first stop? Books. 

A community member, who is passionate about spreading the love of reading, and who connects with the children periodically through book nights at Kingdom Kids, had gathered piles and piles of books and invited the children to explore the titles that were most appropriate for their age. They slid their treasures into their bright, new packs and continued on. Here, as they rounded the bend in the “L,” they came face to face with the two teachers, for some their very own teachers, who would welcome them to Stony Point Elementary for the first time in a few weeks. They got to say hello, and I suspected, felt a little less anxious about starting their school journey now knowing another smiling adult face that would help them feel safe, loved, and smart. 

After introductions, smiles, and encouragement the children picked out their favorite color notebook, paper, pencils, markers, and crayons. They finished off their journey by stocking up on classroom supplies–clorox wipes, tissues, hand sanitizer–all things that would help make their classroom healthy for learning. In just a few short minutes our new kindergarteners were equipped, celebrated, and invited into the excitement of a new school year. They were ready to learn and grow. 

This year’s kindergarteners may have made a short trip around a table, but this scene was at least fifteen years in the making. I, like our kindergarten friends, got the distinct privilege of walking up and enjoying decades of relationship building without doing much at all myself. What a grace. I was welcomed into the fold of what God has been doing in partnership with Broadus Memorial Baptist Church, Stony Point Elementary, and Wilton Farm Apartments since the early 2000’s. To learn more about this journey and the community of faith I am now a part of, I sat down with our Associate Pastor, Margarete Gillete, to hear more about how all of this began. 

It began, as things often do, with a relationship. There was a Broadus member who lived in a neighborhood near the church and whose daughter attended Stony Point. This naturally provided a connection point and pulled the school onto Broadus’ radar as a space to be a good neighbor. Margarete reached out to Stony Point’s Family Support Worker, Pat, and began to build a relationship. Things like this take time, Margarete notes. It took time to build up trust and to prove, simply by showing up again and again, that we were in this for the long haul. Margarete remains the contact person, and advocate, for this continued partnership. Even as pastors changed, she communicated the history of the work with Stony Point and the families in Wilton Farm and encouraged continued support and relationship building. Back to School Night is just one piece of the ongoing partnership between Broadus, Stony Point, and the children and families who are part of Wilton Farm. As trust grew between Stony Point and Broadus, Pat began to contact Margarete with more ways to support families. The number one goal in any of these support opportunities? Protect and celebrate the dignity of families being served. Whether it is providing a holiday meal, toys at Christmas, or gift cards for groceries, it is so important to “not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing” (Matthew 6:3). We serve families and strive to be good neighbors by listening to needs, and then meeting those needs in a way that celebrates the image of God in each person. 

The image of God, or Imago Dei, we are all created in it; every Broadus member, every person at Wilton Farm, and every Stony Point teacher and support staff. We celebrate this unity by entering into the work God is doing in our neighborhoods. For Broadus Memorial Baptist Church, this looks like a commitment to Wilton Farm and Stony Point that spans decades. We celebrate, with our continued love, that God opened the doors for this partnership all those years ago. 

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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.