School is out, the summer Solstice is past, high 90’s have arrived—and that includes the humidity as well as temperatures. Our nation is about to celebrate another birthday. The long days of summer are marked by vacations, but River Road Church does not go on holiday.

Come to River Road on Monday, July 9, and you will hear the sounds of VBS. Almost 120 children are already pre-registered for this week of inspiration, learning and fun. It is the largest enrollment in my eight years as pastor. Hats off to Ann Ashcraft, our Interim Minister to Children, and our VBS co-directors, Kristina Barbier and Lisa Cipolletti.

The first Sunday in July marks the first anniversary of our Lay Reader program. Many of you have participated in our worship services over the past year by reading our scripture lessons. Listening to our texts read in the distinctive voices of our friends in Christ makes me more alert to God’s written word, and it enables our people to know each other. Carolyn Briggs and Page Highfill have organized and trained our readers.

Dr. Gallagher has opened our Chancel Choir’s enrollment this summer to include singers who cannot participate in the choir during the Fall and Winter seasons. He also has invited youth to join in. Every Sunday morning our singers rehearse the anthems during the Sunday School hour and then lead us with the gift of music in worship. Join them in the Chancel one Sunday.

Our Summer Vespers are off to a fine start on Wednesday evenings in the Chapel. Again this summer our speakers are River Road members who are clergy or, in two instances, clergy who grew up at River Road. If you are in town during the summer, try to catch a few of these less formal, and less lengthy, services.

On three July Sunday mornings you will be fortunate to hear excellent preaching from three clergy who have filled our pulpit in the past. Dr. Scott Spencer, professor at Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond, will preach on July 8. Dr. Dan Bagby, our Interim Minister of Pastoral Care, will deliver the sermon on July 15. Dr. Craig Kocher, chaplain at University of Richmond, will preach on July 22. All are able preachers and worship leaders.

July is a great month to be a member at River Road Church!

Mike Clingenpeel

Originally published in the July 2012 Explorer