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


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.

You can still complete your pledge card and time and talents card. Click the button for more details.

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,


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.

October 24th, 2018

At a called meeting last Sunday, the Session appointed an outstanding five-member Transition Team to guide BPC through next steps surrounding my retirement. They are Martha Dillard, Dave Hayes, Peggy Kincaid, Chris Lawrence, and Heather Polikoff.

The Transition Team’s first task will be to search for an interim pastor, a job that can begin right away. They have scheduled their first meeting, and will doubtless keep the congregation well-apprised of their activities and progress. Be on the lookout for communications, and perhaps a page on the church website where you can stay up to date with their activities. Meanwhile, if you or a family member knows of a skilled interim you’d like to recommend, please give the name to any member of the Team.  Most importantly be in prayer for each of them. Despite other commitments they have said “yes” to an important job at an important time in the life of BPC.

Peace, Catherine

Scripture Readings:
Job 42:1-6, 10-17
Psalm 34:1-8 (19-22)
Hebrews 7:23-28
Mark 10:46-52


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.

October 18th, 2018

Many people have worked diligently to prepare for this Sunday's Smyth Lecture Series. The series was established in 1982 to honor the ministries of former pastor Ellison Smyth and wife Mary Linda. The intent is to bring nationally and internationally known scholars and church leaders to Blacksburg, and the list of those who have been included over the years is impressive. The visit this weekend by John Philip Newell continues that tradition. His work in the field of Celtic Christianity has played a significant role in the world-wide reemergence of Celtic worship, liturgy, music and prayer. In addition to being a scholar, Newell is a poet, composer, author, theologian and member of the Iona community. We are expecting many guests from around the region to travel to Blacksburg to hear him preach and speak.

Steve and I have fashioned a worship service in keeping with Newell's topic. The hymns and other music come from the Celtic nations of Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. The contributions of cellist Ben Wyatt and tenor soloist Brain Thorset are reason enough to be present. The two evening lectures will also take place in the context of worship, with an opening hymn and opening and closing prayers. Our thanks to the volunteers who will be on hand to help visitors find their way in the building. We could use a few more people to greet at the doors, so if you are willing, let in the Church Office know. Most of all be sure not to miss Sunday worship and two lectures that promise to deepen your practice of faith.

Peace, Catherine

Scripture Readings:
Genesis 1:26-31
Luke 6:27-36

BPC Was on the News!

Catherine did an interview with WDBJ-7 late yesterday afternoon about the Habitat groundbreaking. Click the link to watch the segment that aired last night.

Habitat for Humanity Takes on Big Project

October 10th, 2018

NRV Habitat for Humanity is hosting a groundbreaking ceremony on our old property! That’s right, they are close to starting construction on the land we gifted to them for low income townhomes. The first stages will be leveling the land (which has quite a slope to it) and dealing with the drainage. Seeing this long-dreamed of project begin is very exciting.

With all this happening outside our door, instead of hosting our own Fallapalooza event, we’ll be supporting the Habitat Groundbreaking Festival on October 20th from 1-4pm. A portion of Church Street will be cordoned off and a stage setup for musicians. We’ll host a pumpkin carving station and offer support in other ways, including opening the building for restroom access. If you would like to help with the event, please contact Kendra Crabtree, at kendra@blacksburgpres.org. The formal Ground Breaking Ceremony is scheduled for 3:30pm. We anticipate it being a large event.

Some of the plans include pumpkin rolling, assembling bird houses, a sledge hammer challenge, drive a nail challenge, and bobbing for apples. There will be booths where you can see the town house plans, and learn more about Habitat’s mission. Many other churches and community members will be sponsoring a number of booths and games.

So bring your pumpkin or buy one at the event to support the project. Come enjoy the fun and learn more about Habitat, while giving thanks to God for what our gift has made possible.

Peace, Catherine

 Scripture Readings:
Job 23:1-9, 16-17
Psalm 22:1-15
Hebrews 4:12-16
Mark 10:17-31

October 3rd, 2018

In just a few weeks we will be hosting the Reverend Dr. John Philip Newell as our 2018 Smyth Lecturer. Newell is a renowned faith leader and scholar, and the office is already getting phone calls from out of town folks who plan to come to Blacksburg to hear him speak. We will be selling several of his books and hosting receptions after each of his evening lectures. He will also be our preaching that Sunday morning and will have lunch with the Creation Care Team after worship.

We want to be well-prepared to be good hosts and offer a warm welcome to our many visitors. Volunteers are needed to help the visit go smoothly, including people to usher, direct cars both nights, greet at the doors, give directions inside the building, sell books, guide folks to the book signing, and help with post-lecture receptions on Sunday and Monday nights.

Many hands make light work. If you are available to help, please sign up below. We look forward to Dr. Newell’s time with us and the new learning and fellowship that will result.

Peace, Catherine

Smyth Series, October 21-22

To see what volunteer opportunities there are please click the link below. If you have trouble signing up or if you have any questions please contact Kendra Crabtree, kendra@blacksburgpres.org or call the church office at 540-552-2504.

Scripture Readings
Job 1:1, 2:1-10
Pslam 26
Hebrews 1:1-4; 2:5-12
Mark 10:2-16

September 26th, 2018

We are coming up on the last of our Global Missions Sundays. All are invited to a free lunch after worship for any who wish to stay, prepared by PJGM team member Ranae Gilly. It will be set up at the far end of Fellowship Hall. A brief presentation will be offered to give you an idea of what is happening with our global mission partners.

These Sundays have been a great build up to World Communion Sunday on October 7th, when we and Christians in many other nations around the world will along be feasting at Christ’s table. Steve and I have picked wonderful world music, and, as in prior years, the country of origin will be listed in the bulletin for each piece.

We have a tradition here at BPC of inviting worshipers to wear clothing from around the service that Sunday. If you have exotic garb from your own travels, or a snappy scarf you can drape over your shoulders, feel free to wear it to worship and be prepared to share where it came from. Ironically, much of our everyday clothing is made in Vietnam or Bangladesh; we wear world garb every day. But World Communion Sunday is a good day to dress in the colors and traditions of our global neighbors. So dig into the chest of closet, sew up that seam, and join in celebrating the wondrous diversity of God’s people.


Peace, Catherine

Scripture Readings
Esther 7:1-6, 9-10; 9:20-22
Psalm 124
James 5:13-20
Mark 9:38-50

September 19th, 2018

Remember a few weeks back when we shared the news that the church has purchased a new digital piano for the choir room? This Sunday Steve Lawrence will introduce it after worship.

We are planning to roll the piano into the hallway off the Gathering Space, where Steve play and let us hear some of the different instruments the piano can voice, including harpsichord, organ, and strings. It shouldn’t interfere with fellowship (or cookie munching), but those who want to come over for a closer look (mind your cookie crumbs) can ask Steve questions and learn what our newest musical instrument can do.

The first digital pianos were specialized versions of 1980s synthesizers. Synthesizers could produce a staggering array of sounds, including acoustic piano. That led to the digital pianos of today. Our instrument has a computer that allows Steve to program various options—none of which I have the expertise to describe. So come and meet the instrument on Sunday, and let Steve fill you in.

Peace, Catherine

Scripture Readings
Proverbs 31:10-31
Psalm 1
James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a
Mark 9:30-37

BPC Feed the Flock - UKirk

Once a month, BPC provides the meal for UKirk's weekly Tuesday gatherings. The next one is October 2nd. We would love for you to participate by providing a dish or element for the meal.

Click the link below for more details and to sign up!

Can't help in October? The November meal needs are on there as well and it's the Thanksgiving meal on November 13th.

If you have any questions, contact University Ministry Chair, Karen Watson at university@blacksburgpres.org