Originally published in the Summer 2014 Explorer.

When you read this it will be June, or nearly so. The discomfort of the Winter of ’14 is a distant memory, though human nature being what it is, most of us will have complained more than once about Richmond’s oppressive heat and humidity. Only four months until cooler weather comes to town.

June, July, and August at River Road Church, Baptist involve gathering and scattering. June begins with gathering. In morning worship on June 8 we gather to submit our pledges for Rejoice and Give Thanks: God’s House, Our Time. Our goal is to raise $1.5 million over the next three years to renovate our sanctuary organ, lights, and sound. All have served worshippers well for almost 45 years, but now is our time to restore them for another four decades of usefulness.

That same evening we meet in our sanctuary to enjoy an evening of Mozart presented by our Chancel Choir with orchestra.

July and August we gather in our Chapel on Tuesday evenings at 7 p.m. for Vespers, an informal time of worship. Vespers is on Tuesdays this summer because food trucks assemble in our north parking lot each Tuesday from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Come to church, enjoy dinner in our parking lot at your favorite truck, then come to Vespers, or come to Vespers and finish the evening with dinner and conversation. It will be a great combination each Tuesday night.

River Road members also will be scattering. Our youth head off in June for a mission tour to Greenville, South Carolina. In July they travel to Tennessee for Unidiversity, a summer youth camp that connects our youth with youth from a number of other churches.

In July our Chancel Choir heads to England for their long-awaited engagement as Choir-in-Residence at Canterbury Cathedral. They will sing five Evensong services, plus a Sunday morning Eucharist at the Cathedral. Englanders are in for a treat.

Finally, this marks the fifth consecutive year that River Road Church has been involved in a partnership with the Standing Rock Reservation in North and South Dakota. In early August a group from our congregation will join with others in a week of mission with Pastor Boots and Jackie Marsh at Tipi Wakan (“sacred tent”) in Cannonball, ND.

Gather at River Road Church when you are in town. When you scatter, rejoice and give thanks for our church and its ministries.