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.
A version of this article from our Pastor originally appeared on January 15, 2020 in The Beacon, our weekly newsletter. If you would like to see what is going on around the church this week, you can view the latest copy of The Beacon here. Or, if you would like to receive The Beacon in your email inbox each week, you can contact the church office at email@example.com.
My last year of trying to play Texas football, I was an undersized middle schooler. Unsurprisingly, tackling drills usually ended up with me planted firmly on the ground. As I lay there dazed, my coach would yell some variation of "Try harder!". I remember thinking I was trying really hard but that extra 8 inches of height and 50 pounds was a lot to overcome.
This week on Sunday we are looking at the Beatitudes to start a series on The Sermon on the Mount. This teaching of Jesus found in Matthew is revolutionary and beautiful.
It is also very challenging.
The Sermon on the Mount sets a high bar, and if you are like me, reading it might bring up that voice in your head that shouts, "TRY HARDER!" We can feel like we just don't measure up.
But I see this passage more as an invitation. Of course we should be challenged by the text, but we are not alone in following it. Jesus paints a picture of a way of living that comes through his help with the Holy Spirit. We do not just need to try harder, but instead with prayer ask for help.
Following this text is something that is learned over a lifetime, and we have God's help to do it. So, I hope you join me in learning from Jesus as we read the Sermon on the Mount in the coming weeks.
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!
A version of this article from our Pastor originally appeared on November 13, 2019 in The Beacon, our weekly newsletter. If you would like to see what is going on around the church this week, you can view the latest copy of The Beacon here. Or, if you would like to receive The Beacon in your email inbox each week, you can contact the church office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the fourth chapter of Philippians, Paul tells the church in Philippi that they are to be anxious of nothing instead they are to go to God in prayer.
Growing up, this line always seemed like an unhelpful answer along the lines of 'don't worry, be happy.' Yet as I have gotten older, I have seen the wisdom in what Paul is suggesting.
The problems the Philippians faced were large. They worried about persecution from the Roman government and what it meant to live out this new faith they had received. They had a lot to be anxious about, and Paul recognized that. But Paul also recognized the importance of prayer.
Prayer involves many things including bringing our concerns before God. We pray for guidance when we don't know what to do. We pray for God to walk with us when we do take action. We pray for wisdom and God's presence when we are confused.
Paul saw that instead of sitting in an anxious place, we can give what is worrying us up to God.
Prayer does not mean things will be solved right away or become easier, but prayer is asking God to walk alongside us, which is a powerful thing.
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.
PACEM (People and Congregations Engaged in Ministry) is a coalition of 80 congregations in the Charlottesville area that work together to provide shelter for members of our community experiencing homelessness during the late fall and winter months. Last year 250 adults stayed at least one night; an average of 43 men and 15 women stayed in the shelters each night. Broadus is one of those 80 congregations. For the first years of our involvement, we primarily helped with providing and serving meals at other churches that were hosting the sleep site, but that all changed four years ago. At the last minute, the church that was hosting the women the week before Christmas had to drop out, and we were asked if we could host them instead.
To be honest, we were a bit startled by the request. It was Advent, and we had so many activities planned already. We asked ourselves if we had room to do the job of hosting a large group of women for a week. That’s the question that determined our answer. “While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” There was room in the Broadus inn, and we happily invited the women to eat and sleep in our beautifully decorated building and prayed that the welcome they found here would convey the message of Christmas in a tangible way. God loves us, each and every one of us. We are all His children, and He offers to each of us the gifts of hope, peace, joy and love.
That first year, we prepared for the number of guests we were expecting, and cots were set up in the classrooms across the hall from the sanctuary. But when they arrived that evening, there were more women than would fit in that space, so we set up the overflow cots in the sanctuary. Part of the Christmas transformation of the sanctuary is a series of quilted banners made over the years by talented artisans in our congregation. I don’t know that anyone paid particular attention to what the banners said when they set up the overflow cots, but the “Come to Bethlehem” one became part of the bedroom decor. A reminder to us that year, and every year since, that the true measure of our Christmas celebration is whether we have reflected God’s love not only in our words, but also our actions.
We don’t ask the question of whether we can host anymore. After that first year, it’s a given. The week before Christmas, we are privileged to be the inn that welcomes some women who, at least for now, don’t have homes. And those cots lined up along one of the walls of the sanctuary are a visual reminder that Jesus comes to us, not just at Christmas, but each and every day of the year asking if there is room in our hearts for Him.
This article from our Pastor originally appeared in The Beacon, our weekly newsletter. If you would like to see what is going on around the church this week, you can view the latest copy of The Beacon here. Or, if you would like to receive The Beacon in your email inbox each week, you can contact the church office at email@example.com.
The month of December is an interesting time. On Sunday we celebrate Advent, looking forward to the coming of Jesus with hopeful longing. But during the week, we are putting up Christmas trees, making cookies, and listening to Christmas music on the radio.
It can seem like a bit of a disconnect, but I don't think it has to be.
I was talking about this contrast with a friend of mine, and he said, "Every expectant parent prepares the nursery."
I really liked that insight.
In Advent we remind ourselves of our wait for Jesus, but during the week we can remember that Christmas is slowly breaking in all around us. So, I hope this month is filled with tons of joy for you as you celebrate Advent and look forward to what is coming.
- Pastor Nick
There are two more Sundays in Advent, and we would love for you to join us in worship at 11:00 a.m. as we wait expectantly together.
You are also invited to join us on Christmas Eve at 5:00 p.m. for our candlelight service. This is always a special evening of celebration full of singing, a reading of the Christmas story from the gospel of Luke, and plenty of excited children adding their voices to worship. We'd love for you to be there!
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!
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 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.