In 2019, our family will observe two golden anniversaries. We look forward to celebrating 50 years of marriage in July. Then in October, we will mark 50 years of membership in River Road Church, Baptist. Once we were married, it was important to us to unite in a church home where we could both be comfortable and later raise a family we hoped to have. One of us had been a life-long Baptist, while the other had grown up in an active Presbyterian home. (If you don’t know already, we’ll let you guess which one is which.)
During our single days in Richmond, we attended churches from our respective traditions; but after we were engaged, we began looking for a place to join together. Though neither of us had ever attended RRCB, we found it and then stopped our search. Here we found reverent, meaningful worship along with a welcoming congregation. Moreover, the Presbyterian happily found that this church recognized all forms of baptism, which wasn’t the typical policy for Baptist churches 50 years ago.
Over the years RRCB has been all we could have expected and more to us. We found excellent Christian education for our children and the opportunity for them to take part in numerous youth group and mission experiences. Worship services have featured worthwhile sermons from four excellent – but different – pastors over our time here. The outstanding music program has brought joy to our lives, and we have found that a large number of our friends have come from meeting them in church.
From the beginning, we thought it important to support the church in a financial way. We have always pledged to support the annual budget and have made gradual increases in amount. Although we have reached the stage of life where our income is essentially fixed, we anticipate pledging in 2019 at least as much as our current year’s pledge.
We hope you will join us in making a pledge. Like so many other mainstream churches today, ours is not experiencing growth. Many of our members (like the two of us) are in the fourth quarter of their lives. If RRCB is to remain strong, many members must increase their annual financial support. We are extremely fortunate to have the Endowment Fund that far-sighted members initiated over 50 years ago. Had it not been for significant grants from that Fund, our church would have found it necessary in recent years to curtail substantially its activities. We believe it to be important that all members look carefully at their financial commitments to RRCB, so that the proportion of our annual giving provided by the endowment can decline.
Please join us in supporting our annual stewardship campaign so that River Road Church, Baptist, can remain the sort of strong beacon of faith in the coming years that it has been for us over the past 50 years.
Written by Ann and Fred Bagwell