Pastor’s Blog

Visitations with Gratitude

Jonathan Swift, in his creative piece called Gulliver’s Travels, noted that the “small” people of Lilliput considered ingratitude the only crime punishable for life…. As we hurry through another season of Thanksgiving (largely ignored by merchants trying to make money...

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Summer Camp at River Road Preschool 2017

What fun we had at summer camp this year! Each of our campers were given the opportunity to explore new ideas and concepts through hands-on activities while getting to work with different teachers and make new friends. Families had the opportunity to sign their...

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“O endless Your grace . . . .

. . . . . Beyond all mortal dream.”  These encouraging words are embedded in “Pilgrims’ Hymn,” Sunday’s anthem, composed by the late Stephen Paulus. What a relief to be told that we are limited in our understanding of how grace has worked and will work in our lives...

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Amicitia? Who are the 20- and 30-somethings at RRCB?

Amicitia — latin for Friendship — is a group of young adults, 20- to 30-somethings. The group gathers for social outings and mission projects. For more information about this group, please contact Katie Merritt (katiecmerritt@gmail.com). Who are the 20- and...

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Give Thanks to God

November is the time when we naturally turn our thoughts to the blessings we enjoy and our thankfulness to God for all the grace and love in our lives. We also give thanks to God for the blessings we enjoy as the family known as River Road Church, Baptist. In this...

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Celebrate 50 & 50 More – Fall 2017

A Perfect Baptist Blend River Road Church, Baptist just sneaked up on me. I attended worship for many years before joining, and found thoughtful sermons, wonderful music, and a worship experience that spoke to me. The progressive outlook (Cooperative Baptist...

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All Saints

All Saints Day is a feast day celebrated on November 1 (or the first Sunday in November). We remember the saints who have left us in the past year, and we celebrate those saints still among us. We often think of saints as those Christians before us who exemplified...

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A Celebration of Hymns

On June 25, River Road Church hosted the opening concert of the American Guild of Organists Mid-Atlantic Regional Convention. Preparations had begun more than a year in advance, and four new works were commissioned – settings of hymns that were originally...

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This is Church, Y’all

My office is currently full of candy, pumpkins, Reformation blocks of wood, worship bags, children’s books, amongst other things. Such is the life of a Minister in charge of Children and Youth fall programming. But this week, I’ve gotten more candy as people who can’t...

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Stewardship, Generosity, Falling in Love, and Prayer

So much has been said and written about stewardship and generosity. Basically, it all boils down to this: The more you give, the better you’ll feel, and the more joyful you’ll be. However, regardless of how inspirational the talk and elegant the writing, the practice...

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How Do We See and Hear God?

One of my favorite childrens’ anthems begins, “I see the love of God in every river.” This anthem continues by listing many ways we can see God – and all of these ways are right before our eyes. It’s a beautiful and simple message. As a church musician, I make...

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Gentle Care at Tender Places

Service and care occur here in sometimes very quiet and unheralded ways. The loss of a loved one is a very tender time in the life of those left behind. There is much to care for, and many decisions require much of family members designated to care for the closure...

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The Other Side to Stewardship

I’ve received some really positive feedback on our recent Stewardship emphasis in worship. I hope you enjoyed hearing the sermons as much I enjoyed preaching them. By way of a very quick recap, week one began by recognizing, with the Psalmist, that the earth is the...

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Listening to Understand

Saturday, June 17, dawned sunny, clear, and mild over RVA. It promised to be a wonderful day for any outdoor activity: gardening, golf, kid’s soccer and tee ball, swimming, you name it. That gorgeous morning found me at the corner of River and Ridge Roads indoors in a...

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I Cannot Thank You Enough

Margaret and I have been members of River Road for thirty-three and a half years. I have been a staff member for twenty-four years. During all of that time, you have given us many gifts. Words of encouragement, pats-on-the-back, public appreciation for a task well...

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Let Us Rise Against Hunger

In 2017 Stop Hunger Now rebranded to become Rise Against Hunger (RAH). Driving Rise Against Hunger’s work is the recognition that ending hunger is more than just feeding people, which led to a focus on feeding programs in areas where the organization can have a real...

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What I Celebrate

I walked up to the Celebration Sunday picnic with pasta salad in one hand, and a toddler in the other. Someone walked right up to take the pasta from my hand and said, “Let me help you.” I celebrate the help and love my church family gives us. I celebrate that kids...

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Children’s Musical: A Table for Five….Thousand!

Our children’s choirs gave a wonderful presentation on May 24. The Cherub Choir, made up of pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students, directed by Kim Crowley, sang folk songs such as Lord of the Dance and Hashivenu, and closed with Go Now in Peace. Our two older...

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Regrets and Healing

What We Regret We regret choices we made/choices we never had (job, marriage, family) There are things we wish we had not said/had said We wish we had spent more time on(family, friend, laughter, roses) We held grudges, built walls, set conditions, withheld...

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Summer Gifts from God

Originally published in the 2017 Fall Quarterly Explorer PASSPORTkids! Camp by Buddy Sumner photos by Kenton Sumner Early one Tuesday morning, nine families entrusted their children to three adults for a journey that would leave such an impression on their lives...

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Making a House a Home

Recently, Will and I moved into a new house. It’s our first house together, and we’re just beginning to figure out this home ownership thing. Where we used to have maintenance help from the apartment owners, we now must research and fix it ourselves or hire someone....

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Introducing… Thoughtful Faith Community

Originally published in the 2017 Fall Quarterly Explorer Your church staff and the Board of Christian Education and Spiritual Formation have been hard at work revamping our Wednesday night programming. We’ve worked to align the children’s and adults’ schedules so that...

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“What are You Teaching the World?”

Last Sunday, Chester Phelps’ sermon was awesome. If you haven’t heard it, you should check it out. Towards the end of the sermon, he talked about how we all need to go out and do something to show what Christ has done for us. Last night at Vespers, Karen Brown asked...

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The Excitement & Freedom of Faithful Stewardship

Stewardship, more than mere giving, is about asking the question, “How is my life to be lived if I am to live my life in God’s service?” There are two ways to ask that question: the minimizing way and the maximizing way. The minimizing way asks, “How much must I do?”...

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Thank You

Sometimes, words do not convey the feeling one has for a task completed or individual involved seeing that a project is successful. This is especially true with the recently completed mission trip to Farmington, Maine. Twenty-four youth and twenty-one adults worked...

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Building the Next Generation of Church Leaders

Hiring the right people for our staff is critical to the health of our congregation. As a member of our Personnel Committee for the last several years, I have been a part of the hiring process for several of our ministerial and other staff members. During the hiring...

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Events Welcome New Members & Guests

Originally published in the 2017 Summer Quarterly Explorer Before the construction of our chapel, the founding members of River Road Church built a fireplace on the property. Around that fireplace, they shared fellowship and their dreams for a new church. It seemed...

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