Our Holy Week experience for 2020 will be unlike any other. It already was planned to be different, as we shared devotions and worship services with our sister churches Starling Avenue Baptist and Chatham Heights Baptist, but with physical distancing in place, it’s even more new and creative!
We enter into week two of our collective choice to distance ourselves physically from one another with renewed energy to find ways to continue our corporate worship of God, our study of scripture, our shared prayer, and our service to and love of our neighbors.
Out of an abundance of caution, FBC will be postponing or cancelling some gatherings and events until further notice.
Lent is a season to feed our souls while we fast from those things that distract us….we have three dimensions: the intellectual, the institutional, and the mystical. We must nourish all three to be well-rounded People of the Book.
Intentionally setting aside time to do something is a good way to build new habits. The season of Lent is a season where we try out fasting from something in order to fill our time with more meaningful things – things that make us closer to God and to our neighbors.
By now, if you’re on our mailing list, you have received our letter outlining our plan to undertake an intentional process for the next year to re-imagine ministry together for a new era in our church…This discernment process will help us to pray about, deliberate about, and plan our ministries for the future.
In 2017, I was honored to be chosen as a BJC Fellow. Many of you have probably heard of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, as it is an organization that has been around in our nation’s capital protecting religious freedom for over 80 years…On Monday and Tuesday this week, I, along with other BJC Fellows from the last 5 years of the fellowship, had a chance to join with BJC and learn to advocate for religious liberty at the national level.
We are in an exciting season of thoughtful change and hopeful anticipation in 2020! New music ministries, new learning opportunities, new Wednesday night schedule & caterer, new Bible study…join us!
On Sunday, January 26, 2020, First Baptist Church called Becky Collins as our Minister of Music.
In 2020, First Baptist Church is going to look for ways to practice “sacred partnering.” To that end, we will begin a process of rethinking how we partner in sacred ways soon. We will walk together through an intentional process of reflecting on who we are and what our ministries should look like in this new season / decade.
I don’t think a music program alone will grow a church….But music is an accent with which we speak to God, and one that inspires beauty and art in our souls. And it is one avenue we take on a journey toward being authentic people of faith together.
It’s a new year, and that means many of us will be looking for ways to de-clutter our lives…I’ve found that whatever new goals we may have for a new year or new decade, the work often begins with taking inventory of what we have been doing.
We have entered a new calendar year – and a new decade! What will this new decade bring First Baptist Church of Martinsville? I hope we can start to vision those possibilities together in the weeks and months to come.
Do you ever feel like time moves differently around the holidays?…The time we are in now is Christmas time, and it most definitely changed the world and how we perceive all time.
Pregnancy can feel like the longest period of someone’s life…But you know that this waiting is good for the growth of a person. Advent waiting is also good for the growth of a person, in my opinion.
Part of the season of Advent is cultivating an attitude of wonder….And I believe it’s our wonder that makes our hearts truly ready to hold the mystery of the Divine in the depths of our souls.
Why do we prepare during the season of Advent? I’ve been meditating on the idea of preparation this year. As some of us were reminded at our Advent devotion this past Tuesday with Father Nick Hull at Christ Episcopal Church, this season was built in before Christmas to ensure we are slowing down to pay attention to our own souls before we jump from one celebration to the next. This season is to pace ourselves and be fully present with God on the journey toward celebration.
Some say that saying “Happy Holidays” is the end of Christmas in our midst. But I say that losing a sense of expectancy and wonder is a much worse blow to our faith…For four weeks in December, we will anticipate the coming Christ. And we do so to prepare our hearts for the holy experience of Christmas.
The work of God is often work that can make us tired, but when it’s done for God’s Kingdom and together in community, it’s the best kind of tired there is. Paul reminds us: “Brothers and sisters, do not be weary in doing what is right.”
God’s renewing presence is already here, and we simply must tap into it and share it in our own way as the people of the Kingdom of God known as First Baptist Church of Martinsville.
I think the celebration of All Saints day (Nov. 1; we celebrate the first Sunday of November) is a little different for us in that way – we don’t venerate only some saints (the “official” ones of the ancient and modern church like St. Peter, St. Paul, St. Mary, St. Mother Teresa); instead, we understand that since we are all children in God’s Kingdom, being a saint isn’t something we earn through the enormity of our good works, but something we are gifted in our baptism…
I have found that good distractions are in fact some of the best times to know that God is in our worship services…
We had a great opportunity this week to hear from Dr. Mike Hatfield, Pastor of Chatham Heights Baptist Church, who was inspired by the book Canoeing the Mountains by Tod Bolsinger and presented about it to challenge and encourage us as Christian communities.
…learning to walk (or learning to walk again, if you’ve ever suffered an injury or illness) takes a lot of practice, patience, fortitude, and above all – trust.
This Sunday, we will celebrate communion with the added remembrance of World Communion Sunday, celebrated on the first Sunday in October each year.
Understanding that God is change – that’s an interesting way to approach our relationship to God.
A pastoral letter of thanks.
There are so many ways churches are engaging in the world and staying relevant, and what I found most intriguing was just how individual each church’s approach was.