March 13, 2019

For the month of March, Presbyterian Women is gathering items that the Presbyterian Children’s Home of the Highlands are always in need of. The list is below and you can put your donations in the bin by the elevator or the bin by the church offices. (Please take gift cards to the office for safety.) Contact Sandy Schlaudecker (spspas@aol.com) with questions. Take a moment to read just how important your donations are in making children feel safe in, what is at first, a strange environment.

When your mission is providing a home for children, you spend a lot of time thinking about the best way to meet their needs. Imagine for a moment that, for whatever reason, you can no longer live in the house you have called a home for all of your life. Something has gone very wrong with the people you love and who are supposed to take care of you, and you are arriving at a place you have never seen before and never dreamed you would be. Can you imagine the fear that causes knots to form in the pit of your stomach? What can anyone possibly do to make that child feel better?

Thousands of children have lived here since the inception of our ministry 100 years ago, and each of those children has faced those fears as they arrive at our doorstep. At that point we are there to meet their immediate needs. We want them to be met by smiling faces that will assure them that they are safe and that we will take care of them. As we try to gain their trust, we want them to know that this is a place where God’s love will blanket them and give them the opportunity to heal. Whether they are with us for days or years, we want them to feel that this is their home and that they will always be a part of the Children’s Home family.

 

 PCHH Supply List

  • Paper products (toilet tissue, paper towels, Kleenex)

  • Laundry products (detergent, bleach, fabric softeners, dryer sheets)

  • Nonperishable snacks (granola bars, Pop Tarts, microwave popcorn, etc.)

  • Personal care items (shampoo/conditioner, toothpaste, toothbrushes, etc.)

  • Grocery gift cards (Wal-Mart, Food Lion)

  • Fast food coupons/gift cards (McDonalds, Wendy’s, Sonic, Shoney’s, Cracker Barrel, etc.)

  • Phone cards

  • Dish towels/pot holders

  • Food storage containers

  • Standard sized pillows

  • Standard sized pillow cases

  • Twin size sheets/comforters

  • Bath towels/washclothes

  • Beach towels for pool use

  • Softball equipment (gloves, softballs, bats)


Scripture Readings for March 17, 2019
Second Sunday of Lent
Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18
Psalm 27
Philippians 3:17-4:1
Luke 13:31-35

March 6, 2019

Image: “Ash Wednesday Cross” © Jan Richardson   janrichardsonimages.com

Image: “Ash Wednesday Cross” © Jan Richardson

janrichardsonimages.com


On this Ash Wednesday, the start to the season of Lent, I offer you this poem from Jan Richardson titled, “Blessing the Dust.” I hope it speaks to you as you begin your journey through Lent this year.

BLESSING THE DUST

All those days
you felt like dust,
like dirt,
as if all you had to do
was turn your face
toward the wind
and be scattered
to the four corners

or swept away
by the smallest breath
as insubstantial—

did you not know
what the Holy One
can do with dust?

This is the day
we freely say
we are scorched.

This is the hour
we are marked
by what has made it
through the burning.

This is the moment
we ask for the blessing
that lives within
the ancient ashes,
that makes its home
inside the soil of
this sacred earth.

So let us be marked
not for sorrow.
And let us be marked
not for shame.
Let us be marked
not for false humility
or for thinking
we are less
than we are

but for claiming
what God can do
within the dust,
within the dirt,
within the stuff
of which the world
is made
and the stars that blaze
in our bones
and the galaxies that spiral
inside the smudge
we bear.

—Jan Richardson
from Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons


Scripture Readings for March 10, 2019
First Sunday of Lent
Deuteronomy 26:1-11
Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16
Romans 10:8b-13
Luke 4:1-13

February 27, 2019

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BPC is known as the “giving church,” and the Woodchucks epitomize that giving all year long! The Woodchucks began about 1998, led by BPC members Dr. John Lipsey and Dr Birch. They delivered about 5 truckloads of wood that first year. We now support 45-50 Montgomery County families by delivering in excess of 200 pick-up truck loads of wood each winter. Our mission is simple – to relieve the suffering of the poor by giving them firewood to keep their families warm.

The Woodchuck ministry has become an inter-faith group. We work year-round on Thursdays and Saturdays, and other days as needed. There is a varying core of about 10 loyal volunteers. There are 2 support jobs:  receiving calls from those requested wood and surveying wood. We gather and cut donated wood in the spring, summer, and early fall and split and deliver firewood from the late fall until it warms up.

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When I was first asked to help the small Woodchucks group, I thought, sure, sounds easy, we can help folks and get exercise at the same time! Later I realized how difficult, dangerous, and trying it is to do this: snakes, bees, ticks, hazardous equipment, heat, cold, bitter wind, snow and ice. I began to realize how much abject poverty there is in our community, how sick and disabled many of these people are, how these people cannot provide for themselves, and how much help they really need. Firewood is just the tip of the iceberg for what they need.

This work touches your heart when you see tears of joy while being told that because of this firewood, there will be enough money for their children to have Christmas presents. It makes you realize how much God has blessed us. I will do this for as long as I am able.

Mike Harvey, Longtime member of the Woodchucks

Want to participate in the Woodchucks? Contact Mike Harvey at M.L@harveybiz.com.

Letter from one of the Woodchucks clients:

To the members of BPC:

As I sit here in my home, warmed by my wood stove, filled with fuel provided by you, I wonder if you realize how much I appreciate what you have done in my life, not just right now, this Christmas season, but all winter long for a long time now, so long I’m not sure how long it has actually been. I’m humbled by the actions you have taken to help me with a need I could never repay. Your kindness and never failing to ensure I’ve had what I needed will never be forgotten or gone un-realized how much hard work is involved as I took care of this need myself for many years before my debilitating accident that took so much away physically from my life. God has kept me here through some things I sometimes wonder why I’m worth even being here. I have a story, as we all do. The older I get, the more I’m shown by the actions of others what I am able to do. I realize how much time I’ve wasted sometime when I’m actually still able to give back. In a large part because of you and the actions you’ve taken to help me has made me realize how much I can still do to help others and I have tried to do that. I can’t cut and load firewood, but there is so much I am capable of. I don’t mean to go on and on.

Thank God for all I have, there are so many with so much less. I now know my job is to look for those I can touch and I’m trying, with God’s help, to be a better man, and do what I can when I can. I will never get even with the blessings I receive. Thank you again for what you’ve done in my life, my humble prayers are with you. Thank you so much for the help and kindness you’ve extended to me. May God bless you all, as you have blessed me. With love and thanks.


Scripture Readings for March 3, 2019
Transfiguration of the Lord
Exodus 34:29-35
Psalm 99
2 Corinthians 3:12 - 4:2
Luke 9:28-36 (37-43)

February 20, 2019

Members of the KnitWits

Members of the KnitWits

The KnitWits and Quilters at BPC have been meeting for many years. For the KnitWits, what began as a prayer shawl ministry to comfort those who were ill or experiencing loss or another difficult life circumstance has evolved over the past few years to include community outreach as well. Some of the organizations the KnitWits have worked with include Montgomery County Christmas Store, Blacksburg Cancer Center, Interfaith Childcare Center, To Our House, Women’s Resource Center, and Micah’s Closet. The group has knitted hats, mittens, scarves, shawls, lap robes, cowls, “knitted knockers”, bunny “buddies” for those baptized, and facecloth bundles for fund raising.

And it is a fun-loving group! One member stated, “I really enjoy our conversation, especially when we’re laughing and talking as fast as (or faster than) we’re knitting! And the best part is that we get to share something we’ve made with our hands with others in our congregation and the larger community.”  Another commented, “I especially love those who gather, the opportunity to learn new skills, and the responses of those who are gifted with shawls and other items.”  

The Quilters at their annual quilting retreat.

The Quilters at their annual quilting retreat.

The quilters were started after the building renovation was finished. One long time member says of the Quilters, “You can expect a wonderful fellowship of both BPC members and non-members who enjoy each other tremendously. We share, support each other, learn together and quilt.” The Quilters have served the church by making the banners in the Narthex, repairing other textile art in the church, providing art displays, and making and donating lovely gifts for the Advent Alternative Gift Fair for the past few years.

The KnitWits meet the 4th Monday of each month from 1-3pm in Westminster Library. The Quilters meet every Tuesday from 9:30am-2pm in the Fellowship Hall and pause at Noon to eat lunch together. All levels of ability are welcome in both groups!


Scripture Readings for February 24, 2019
7th Sunday After Epiphany
Genesis 45:3-11, 15
Psalm 37:1-11, 39-40
1 Corinthians 15:35-38, 42-50
Luke 6:27-38

February 13, 2019

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day. For some this may be the first time you have thought about it. Others, you’ve been planning something special for weeks. Either way it is an opportunity to celebrate love however it shows up in your life. The Salt Project’s post today is titled “A Brief Theology of Valentine’s Day”. I found the end to be particularly moving:

This Valentine’s Day, think of all the love in your life - the love you feel and the love you witness; even the love among the birds of the air! - as a glimpse of God’s care for all creation.  And if you’re especially perceptive (or especially mischievous), you can glimpse divine love in places likely and unlikely, common and uncommon. Even in a sweet little greeting card, an arrangement of flowers, or a “flavor map” embossed on a heart-shaped lid.

For if we have eyes to see and ears to hear, the truth about God’s love is that it’s all around    us, the Song of all songs, the Symphony of all symphonies, echoing everywhere.

To read the full post click here.


Scripture Readings for February 10, 2019
6th Sunday After Epiphany
Jeremiah 17:5-10
Psalm 1
1 Corinthians 15:12-20
Luke 6:17-26

February 6, 2019

UKirk group.jpg

My very first week in Blacksburg as a Freshman at Virginia Tech was overwhelming to say the least. I felt isolated and alone, even as one of 20,000 students here at Tech. I knew that I needed to a place of peace. I decided that I would try to go to church the following Sunday. I searched online, and Blacksburg Presbyterian Church was the first result. I followed google maps and walked to BPC from my dorm on campus. I walked in the side door of the fellowship hall, and someone, who had seen the look of confusion on my face, graciously ushered me to the Ukirk table outside the sanctuary without me even asking. That was the exact moment Ukirk started to shape my college life. Since that first Sunday morning, I have experienced unforgettable Tuesday nights, wonderful weekends away at Alta Mons, Montreat, and Massanetta, and countless other beautiful moments every day of the week.

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UKirk Weekly Gathering

UKirk Weekly Gathering

I have found that most college students live their lives week by week. Each week we have assignments due, homework to finish, quizzes to take, and studying for exams to complete. From time to time the “to do” list for each week can be overwhelming no matter if you are a freshman or graduate. But, for students in Ukirk we have a place of peace. Cooper House is our sanctuary. When we are all gathered, we create this holy place, specifically for us to be together. Our “to do” lists seem to melt away as we laugh, joke, eat, and pray for two short hours on Tuesday nights. At the end of our time together we discuss the concerns that weigh on our hearts, and together we celebrate the joys in our lives. Each Tuesday night, we all take one step together, down our walks with Christ.

Ukirk is a family, those who come for the food each Tuesday, stay for the people they meet. We become a community of friends that inspires hope and trust, builds our faith, and promotes positivity.

Thank you for all your support,

Catherine Long

VT Class of 2021

Business Information Technology Major


Scripture Readings for February 10, 2019
5th Sunday After Epiphany
Isaiah 6:1-8 (9-13)
Psalm 138
1 Corinthians 15:1-11
Luke 5:1-11

January 30, 2019

The Presbyterian Women at Blacksburg Presbyterian have been holding a mid-winter retreat, or Winterlude, for 20 years!  In fact, the retreat scheduled at Camp Alta Mons for Feb. 22 and 23 is the 20th or 21st retreat in those years!  If you are a woman connected to BPC and you have never taken part, it is time you tried it out!  And if you have gone before, and just haven’t quite made up your mind this year, we hope you will decide to join us!

Why has Winterlude been so successful for so many years?  As a woman who’s attended almost all of those 20 years, here is my list of what makes it great:

1. It is a “retreat” after all.  There is nothing like a chance to get away from the usual routine and responsibilities.

2. What better place is there to connect with BPC women of all ages, and share our experiences and things we care about?

3. Alta Mons is beautiful, even in the winter.  From the wild turkeys that have been seen strutting by the pond, to the early daffodils which glowed in the otherwise gray woods last February, to the lacy ice framing the edges of the creek while the water rushes below, to the heart-pumping, leg-stretching hike to 45-foot styles falls, Alta Mons offers a chance to connect with nature.

4. The leader each year is a delightful person with good insights and passions to share.  This year, Pam Snyder, from Staunton, VA, is our program leader. You can read about her on the BPC webpage.  But here are some tidbits not on that page:  Pam is the handbell choir director at Second Pres. in Staunton; she is a Certified Disaster Preparedness Trainer; she has traveled to India, Mexico and the Caribbean with various exchanges and mission teams; she has 7 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren, and she’s been a human resources professional for 25+ years!  We found her because Janet Rakes has been friends with her since they met at a Synod Summer Gathering 15 years ago.

5. The specifically chosen focus of each retreat enables you to ponder your spiritual life, with the help of other strong faithful women, and consider how it applies in your day-to-day living when you’re not at retreat.  Here is Pam’s statement about this year’s theme: We are called to share God’s love with the world, by being God’s hands in the world.  We answer God’s call to “do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with our God.”  (Micah 6:8)

During our time together we will explore what the Bible has to say about God’s love and compassion and how grace pushes us to serve the least, the last and the lost of our world.  We will look at old passages through new eyes and relate them to current events.   The goal is to seek a deeper understanding of God’s call to love as He loves.  

6. If you pay close attention, you might sneak a turn in one of the rockers by the warm fire in the fireplace of the meeting room.

7. If you need some rest or quiet, or even sleep, there is built-in free time for just that purpose.  If you want to really relax, we have an awesome massage therapist on hand to provide massages for those who wish.

Remember to sign up by Sunday, Feb. 3, (that is just a few days from now) as Alta Mons needs to know how many to prepare for.  If you want to bring a friend or two, please feel welcome to do so!  Click the link below for more details.

Sarah Windes,

(Member of PW Hildegard Circle)


Scripture Readings for February 3, 2019
4th Sunday After Epiphany
Jeremiah 1:4-10
Psalm 71:1-6
1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Luke 4:21-30

January 23, 2019

Melanie and I went to the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy (VICPP) Lobby Day yesterday. The Rev. Pam Philips, from the UUC in Blacksburg was there too. VICPP is the oldest faith-based lobbying organization in Virginia. We went to both Delegate Chris Hurst and Senator John Edwards' offices expressing thanks for their efforts to help those in Virginia who are most vulnerable. Issues and bills that VICPP is supporting include; creating driving permits for people without documentation that will make our streets safer, increasing state minimum wage levels, getting rid of racially disparaging language in existing minimum wage limitations, expanding Medicare coverage to nationally established guidelines, and more. All VICPP positions can be found on their website www.virginiainterfaithcenter.org and their Facebook page

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We were so encouraged by the number of Christians, Jews, Muslims, and other people from other faith communities who showed up to participate in this day for advocating for those in our state who need support to help make their lives less of a burden. 

The newly elected Lt. Governor, Justin Fairfax, delivered an inspiring message, as the great, great, great grandson of one of the first African slaves who were freed in Virginia. He reminded us of MLK's quote that the "arc of history" is long and bends toward justice. I am really proud that BPC continues to support VICPP. We could all, individually, write letters and visit representatives on our own, but these occasions of "community" are so valuable to encourage like-minded and motivated people of faith who are volunteers. There are paid lobbyists, in suits, that have their own motivations but days like yesterday are the "payment" for volunteers speaking for the marginalized.

Thanks BPC for supporting VICPP.

Scott Smith


Scripture Readings for January 27, 2019
3rd Sunday After Epiphany
Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10
Psalm 19
1 Corinthians 12:12-31a
Luke 4:14-21

January 16, 2019

Every year BPC hosts a week of To Our House by opening our building and providing a place to sleep, meals, and acceptance of the men (and for the first-time women) in the NRV who would otherwise be out in the cold. This year we are hosting February 2-9.

The mission of To Our House is providing thermal shelter and compassionate care to homeless men and women in the New River Valley, and to make available any resources that could help them reintegrate into society.

Homelessness looks very different in the New River Valley than it does in more urban areas. Individuals in our area who find themselves without housing often include those experiencing long-term unemployment due to the economy, facing foreclosure or eviction, or awaiting approval for government homeless-intervention programs or disability determination. Persons in our area who have no permanent home are generally less visible because they may temporarily live in motels or with friends. Many of the guests who have found shelter through TOH have previously lived in the woods, caves, storm culverts, a friend’s pickup truck, or a cardboard box.

Through the mission of TOH 85 guests have found more permanent housing and 63 guests have found employment. You see, To Our House is not just about providing a night of warmth but about building relationships with the guests to help them provide many nights of warmth for themselves.

We cannot host To Our House without the generosity of our faith community here at BPC in both time and resources. We need several volunteers each day to devote their time and lots of food to be donated. Please take a minute to see how you can participate in changing the lives of these men and women.

Signup on Sunday in the Gathering Space or you can sign up through the website at blacksburgpres.org/toourhouse.


Scripture Readings for January 20, 2019
2nd Sunday After Epiphany
Isaiah 62:1-5
Psalm 36:5-10
1 Corinthians 12:1-11
John 2:1-11

January 9, 2019

The history of Presbyterian Women dates back more than 200 years ago and one of the ways that Presbyterian Women are active at BPC is within something that we call Circles.  Circles are groups of women encouraging each other in their faith, growing through prayer and Bible study together, and working together in service.  At BPC we have several Circles: Lydia, Hildegard, and Faith meeting once a month. If you are a woman that made a New Years Resolution to grow in your faith this year, then joining a Circle might be a wonderful way to start.  Let me tell you a little bit about Faith Circle.  

When Jonathan and I started attending BPC in the Fall of 2005, I was a Flight Attendant for United Airlines commuting to Washington DC for my flights.  I was not very senior, so I flew a lot of weekends and couldn’t attend church regularly.  Sarah Woolsey reached out to me and asked if I was interested in joining the Youngish Women’s Bible Study that met during the week once a month.  This was a great fit for me and my first real connection to BPC. I am so thankful to Sarah for inviting me.  Faith Circle has traditionally either studied a book on faith or done a Bible study, as well as pray together and encourage each other in our faith.  

The Youngish Women’s Bible Study was asked by the Presbyterian Women to see if we would like to become a Circle and we changed the name to Faith Circle, taking the name from a book we has recently read- The Faith Club around 2010.  We are still a Youngish Women’s Circle with members in there 20s to 50s.  If you have been thinking about getting more involved, this is your personal invitation. Please join us tonight (Wednesday, January 9) at 7:30pm at the home of Linda Pospichal for dessert, drinks, and an exploration on children’s faith books- how is faith communicated to our children in literature? 

Can’t make it but would like to check out a Circle group? Be on the look out for February’s monthly meeting times and days for Lydia, Hildegard, and Faith.


Scripture Readings for January 13, 2018
Baptism of the Lord
Isaiah 43:1-7
Psalm 29
Acts 8:14-17
Luke 3:15-17, 21-22

January 2, 2019

We are two days into 2019. It always surprises me when a new beginning just feels like the same old same old. I carry a great expectation that when one year ends I will shed all the quirks I encountered in myself over the year and will start fresh with a clean slate. But alas, my Christmas decorations are still up in my house, my fridge looks like a college guy lives in my house (sparse) and my laundry continues to pile up because, well, I just can’t. I guess there are new things that come with a new year, but I always find myself waking up the same me.

I can certainly look back and see the many transformations that have occurred in my life. I can pinpoint when my dreams changed. Or when I stopped being afraid of being me. Or when my relationship with my parents changed. I know when I stopped liking Dr. Pepper and when I started liking cauliflower. I know how loss has changed me and when people started to believe in me. You know the one thing these all have in common? None of them started or ended on January 1st of any year.

As much as I would love to have a set day, every year, when that thing I have been hoping I can rid myself of or the discipline I just can’t seem to make a routine of, would magically happen it’s not how life works. What matters is that we are attentive to the ways we move through the world, and do what we can when we can to show God to a hurting world.

We aren’t on a set timeline. We don’t know when things will happen in our lives. So we take the time to celebrate and the time to mourn and the time to dance and the time for silence when appropriate. Not just at the beginning of a new year. We take one step at a time everyday. In that step we do our best to honor God and others. New beginnings happen all the time. Let this new year be a reminder of all the opportunities for beginnings we have throughout the year.

Kendra Crabtree

Director of Communications and Church Life at BPC


Scripture Readings for January 6, 2018
Epiphany of the Lord
Isaiah 60:1-6
Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14
Ephesians 3:1-12
Matthew 2:1-12

December 26, 2018

The Christ Candle has been lit, the child nestles his mother’s breast. We have sung the refrain of Silent Night together for the last time lit by flickering candles. My study at church is nearly emptied out, a process that began weeks ago, but is now evident from empty shelves and file drawers. My heart, however, remains full.

You have been the church of my maturity, the one I wondered about when I was young and imagined in the course of my ministry. Then and now I knew that God would be faithful, to me and to the bodies of Christ I would serve beside, bringing us into situations where we could use our gifts, and joining us to share joy in the gospel. That hope has certainly been fulfilled.

This Sunday as we worship together for the last time, members of my Atlanta family will be here, son Tucker and granddaughter Henley, and my sister Julie and wife Mardee. There are bound to be some tears on my side, so I’ll put tissues in my pocket.

Our time together may be ending, but in God every ending begins a new journey. That may sound hackneyed, but as I have asserted many times we are people of the Word, and scripture is full of such promises: “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way…” (Isaiah 43:19).

Yes, Lord, yes.

In Christ, Catherine


Scripture Readings for December 30, 2018
1st Sunday After Christmas
1 Samuel 2:18-20, 26
Psalm 148
Colossians 3:12-17
Luke 2:41-52

December 19, 2018

How close we are to the manger bed! Even though we Christians know Advent is the season when we look toward the Second Coming, the birth of the One who will restore all things takes over our thoughts as the Fourth Sunday of Advent looms. There are so many cherished traditions at this time of year, and I look forward to every single one.

Here at BPC the Chimes breakfast is a traditional event, when the Men of the Reformed Church (yes, they have updated their name) cook a feast for us to share before worship. For some of our littlest members the Chimes breakfast will be the first time they take an instrument in hand, and make sounds in time with music. Others look forward to the carols, and all of us welcome platefuls of biscuits and the rich smells of bacon and eggs.

Pastors who have served a variety of congregations get to experience a host of traditions at this time of year. The Gingerbread Potluck and the Chimes breakfast are events I will look back on wistfully and with gratitude. Advent and Christmas worship within a denomination tend to bring the same rewards, but there is no question that worship at BPC has deepened my sense of the holiness of the season. 

As I take part in these last events and final worship services, please know that my heart is full.  Grace upon grace, Catherine


Scripture Readings for December 16, 2018
The Fourth Sunday of Advent
Micah 5:2-5a
Psalm 80:1-7
Hebrews 10:5-10
Luke 1:39-45 (46-55)

December 12, 2018

With last’s weeks worship cancellation we did not get a chance to announce that the Roanoke Symphony Holiday Brass will be performing this Friday evening at 7:30 in our sanctuary. This is the first time BPC has collaborated with the Roanoke Symphony in this way. It is a ticketed event that supports the symphony and will, we hope, bring a wide group of people into our building.

Sharing our space with the community has long been part of BPC’s ministry, and we never fail to hear good things about the comfort and ease of our space. Those who want to support the symphony can enjoy spirited holiday music in familiar surroundings. Though Session is cautious about sharing the building for ticketed events, the opportunity to host excellent music is an appropriate exception. Tickets are available online at https://rso.com/event/holiday-brass/ or at the door on the night of the event.

It was heartbreaking to cancel our own Advent music service last Sunday. I think it is the only time I’ve had to cancel worship in my entire ministry! Fortunately Steve saw to it that a good recording was made of the choir and orchestra during their final rehearsal. Kendra is at work preparing a video to upload on the website and church Facebook page, which will provide some consolation.

In Advent expectation, Catherine


Scripture Readings for December 16, 2018
The Third Sunday of Advent
Zephaniah 3:14-20
Isaiah 12:2-6
Philippians 4:4-7
Luke 3:7-18

December 6, 2018

This Sunday the choir will be joined by instrumentalists from the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra along with soloists, Amy Cowan, Nancy Jones and Brian Thorsett. Our worship service will be filled with music including choral selections, Lost in the Night (arr. Kyle Haugen), Sans Day Carol (arr. John Rutter), and Vivaldi’s Magnificat. The Magnificat will be sung in Latin. Though the English translation will be printed alongside the Latin in the bulletin I have included the English of the nine movements below. It is sure to be a lovely morning of worship.

Peace, Kendra

Magnificat, RV610 by Antonio Vivaldi

My soul doth magnify the Lord.

And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my savior. For he hath regarded the lowliness of his handmaiden; for behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done great things for me and holy is his name.

And his mercy is on them that fear him, from generation to generation.

He hath shown strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.

He hath put down the mighty from their seat and hath exalted the humble and meek.

He hath filled the hungry with good things and the rich he hath sent empty away.

He hath received Israel his servant, being mindful of his mercy.

As he said to our forefathers, Abraham and to his seed forever.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever. Amen.


Scripture Readings for December 9, 2018
The Second Sunday of Advent
Malachi 3:1-4
Luke 1:68-79
Philippians 1:3-11
Luke 3:1-6

November 28th, 2018

The hymns for Advent have been chosen. Steve and I have planned every worship service through the end of the year, and he has prepared a wonderful service of music December 9th where the choir and orchestra will present Vivaldi’s Magnificat. I will serve as liturgist that day and let the music do the preaching.

Keeping the balance between Advent expectation and Christmas joy always takes some doing, but it is worth it, because each season holds separate gifts. After all, in Advent we are not expecting anything we’ve seen or known before. We may be in the run up to the celebration of the Jesus’ birth, but what we are awaiting is his return at the end of time.

The late Peter Gomes, former Chaplain at Harvard, has written “There is no hope in history, no age, no season to which we could return when everything would be fine. There is no place where it works. In essence there is no place better than where we are right now, and where we are right now doesn’t work. So the only place where we can invest, where there is a harvest worth aspiring to, is in the future, and it is given flesh and blood and bone and purpose in the form of Jesus Christ. We look forward to a new heaven and a new earth in which the promise of the creation is to be fulfilled.”

This Sunday I will make my wreath of candles at the Advent Festival and start the work of waiting for Christ to come again, knowing it is not a passive activity, but the work of hope.

With Expectation, Catherine


Scripture Readings for December 2, 2018
The First Sunday of Advent
Jeremiah 33:14-16
Psalm 25:1-10
1 Thessalonians 3:9-13
Luke 21:25-36

November 21st, 2018

To kick off our activities during the Season of Advent, BPC is having a combined Advent Workshop and Alternative Gift Fair on Sunday, December 2nd during the 9am Sunday School hour in the Fellowship Hall. The workshop will include a coloring poster that once complete, will be displayed, a wooden nativity project for each family, a felt finger puppet station complete with a script to go along with your puppets, and an Advent Devotional Table with a variety of options for all ages. You will also have the opportunity to make an Advent Wreath for $10.

The Alternative Gift Fair will include items made by the KnitWits and Quilters with all the funds going to the Women’s Resource Center. Presbyterian Women (PW) will be offering eight alternative gift giving opportunities. You will be able to donate to Bread for the World, Protestant Center for Pastoral Studies in Central America (CEDEPCA), End Child Prostitution and Trafficking (ECPAT-USA), Malawi, Micah’s Backpack, To Our House, UKirk Campus Ministry of VT, and Valley Interfaith Child Care Center (VICCC). Each donation comes with a card. Click the link below for more information about the organizations listed and to see some of the items that will be available from the KnitWits and Quilters.

Not able to make it on December 2nd? The Alternative Gift Fair will also take place on Sunday, December 9th in the Gathering Space before and after worship.

Be sure the check out all that is going on at BPC during the Season of Advent.


Scripture Readings for November 25, 2018
2 Samuel 23:1-7
Psalm 132:1-12 (13-18)
Revelation 1:4b-8
John 18:33-37


 
Click the image to see all that is happening at BPC during the Season of Advent.

Click the image to see all that is happening at BPC during the Season of Advent.

 

November 14th, 2018

Kendra has put together a Gratitude bulletin board in the Gathering Space. On it are some of the “treasure” cards filled out last Sunday during worship. Before you journey to your various Thanksgiving meals next week, you might want to take time to read some of what fellow disciples are most thankful for at church.

Meanwhile, here is a poem about having a holy awareness of life’s gifts by Anne Sexton from her book The Awful Rowing Toward God. 

Peace, Catherine

There is joy
in all:
in the hair I brush each morning,
in the Cannon towel, newly washed,
that I rub my body with each morning,
in the chapel of eggs I cook
each morning,
in the outcry from the kettle
that heats my coffee
each morning,
in the spoon and the chair
that cry "hello there, Anne"
each morning,
in the godhead of the table
that I set my silver, plate, cup upon
each morning.

All this is God,
right here in my pea-green house
each morning
and I mean,
though often forget,
to give thanks,
to faint down by the kitchen table
in a prayer of rejoicing
as the holy birds at the kitchen window
peck into their marriage of seeds.

So while I think of it,
let me paint a thank-you on my palm
for this God, this laughter of the morning,
lest it go unspoken.

The Joy that isn't shared, I've heard,
dies young.


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Scripture Readings for November 18, 2018
1 Samuel 1:4-20
1 Samuel 2:1-10
Hebrews 10:11-25
Mark 13:1-8


Gingerbread Bakers Needed

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The 14th Annual Gingerbread Potluck is December 5th from 5:30-7pm. We need several volunteers to make gingerbread. You can pick up a copy of the recipe from the Welcome Window in the Gathering Space or click below. Please put all gingerbread in the freezer in the kitchen by Sunday, December 2nd.

November 7th, 2018

Throughout my career in ministry I have written blurbs for weekly emails, newsletter articles, letters, brochure copy, prayers, and sermons on stewardship. Throughout I have tried to say things that are compelling, that will convince people to let go of fear and experience the peace that comes from generous giving. During all this time I have been learning about giving myself, doing better sometimes than others at following my own advice.

Here at the end of my formal career is my last such invitation, for invitation is the right word. Life in Christ is an invitation to live freely and confidently before God. Confident that God is at work in the world despite what seems contrary evidence in the news. Confident that Christ’s Spirit is moving even now in ways unseen but invincible. God is generous and we can be generous, too. Before long generosity becomes its own positive feedback loop, in which we give without fear that giving will cost us, and instead experience an even deeper sense of security.

That may sound preposterous just now, when so many are worried about the divisions and incivility in our national life. But such has always been the way of the world; believe me: you will always have the option to live in a world of woe.

Generosity is the hallmark of the citizens of God’s realm, the only permanent reality. Such citizenship is wildly, wonderfully freeing. It’s also life giving—of course it is—because it is Spirit-filled and Spirit led. So let us enjoy our true citizenship to the fullest. Let’s give now and always.

Grace upon grace,

Catherine


Scripture Readings for November 11, 2018
Ruth 3:1-5; 4:13-17
Psalm 127
Hebrews 9:24-28
Mark 12:38-44

October 31st, 2018

If you were not with us last Sunday, you have a treat in store. There is a treasure chest in the Narthex. It’s filled with photographs of people engaged in ministry with BPC. The theme for this year’s stewardship campaign is “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also,” from Matthew 6:21, so the photos are all heart-shaped. As I said in last Sunday’s sermon, they are not pictures of people “doing church activities.” They are pictures of belonging to God and each other. That is the true treasure of BPC.

The stewardship ministry team is hoping you will stop by the treasure chest and take time to look at the photos. You may well come across one of you or a family member. The team hasn’t discussed it yet, but it occurred to me that at the end of the campaign we should invite people to take home pictures of themselves. But what interests me most is the heart-shaped basket beside the treasure chest. It’s there for you to drop in a card saying what you treasure most about BPC. Thinking about that is a helpful way to discern if our giving to the church is in keeping with the gifts we receive here.

The statements on the cards dropped in the basket so far are what we might expect:: “The outreach’, “The cloud of witnesses who help me develop my faith in God”, “The wonderful music”, “The diversity of mission projects”, “The fabulous artwork”…What would your statement be?

Toward peace, Catherine


Don’t forget to set your clocks back 1 hour on Saturday night!


Scripture Readings for November 4, 2018
Ruth 1:1-18
Psalm 146
Hebrews 9:11-14
Mark 12:28-34


During worship on All Saints Sunday, November 4th, we will read the names of BPC members and loved ones who have died in the past 12 months. To submit a name, please call the Church Office, 552-2504, or email Office Manager Sherry Ingham at sherry@blacksburgpres.org by Wednesday October 31st. Please provide help with pronunciation.