First Christian Church "E-news" for

                          March 15, 2018




Lenten & Holy Week Observances

Palm Sunday – March 25th

Service at 10:45 a.m.


Maundy Thursday – March 29th

Service planned for 7:00 p.m.


Good Friday – March 30th

Reflection & Prayers at Noon (Library)


Easter – April 1st

Service at 10:45 a.m.


Lenten readings:

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Serv Safe Training (Mar 16th)

Reminder:  ServSafe Training will take place in our Fellowship Hall on Friday, March 16th, from 9 am to Noon.  This is required for all “Welcome Table” Foodbank shoppers and those who pick up food from Farm Fresh or Panera.  We have 16 signed up from the church and another 15 through the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank!  Snacks will be available.

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Easter Refreshments Planning!

We have a few faithful folks who provide refreshments for our enjoyment each week and, of course, Pam Goode's most wonderful birthday celebration refreshments - so let's give these folks a break and continue the tradition of ALL sharing in an Easter celebration by contributing a small portion of a favorite treat.  A sign up sheet will be on the refreshment table - so please look for it and help join in the fun of providing for a special time of food and fellowship.  Please, also, plan to clean up and or take leftovers (if there are any) of what you bring, making final clean up easier.

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Vacation Time

 Our Office Administrator will be taking a vacation to enjoy spring break with her kiddos J from   April 2nd – April 5th. The office will be open Monday -Thursday from 10 am- 1pm, thanks to   Sudie Stultz, Linda Kuster, Sylvia Winfrey and Pam Goode.

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Bob & Martha’s 50th Anniversary (Apr 8th)

After morning worship, please join Bob & Martha Wright to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.  They will be having cake & punch in the narthex, so please be sure to join them and their children for this special occasion!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          * * * *

General Board Reports

Nominating Committee

Linda Kuster, Jimmy Oliver, Sonie Statzer, Karen Lyle and Tina Cuthrell have been appointed to serve as the nominating committee for the election of officers for the terms beginning July 1, 2018.  The congregational meeting for the election of officers is currently scheduled for May 20.

General Board Meeting

At its meeting on March 11 the general board approved the expenditure of up to $23,000 to repair and restructure the church’s 57 year old heating system.  Many of you still have fresh memories of very uncomfortable winter Sundays.  The planning for restructuring has already been accomplished by the commercial HVAC company that provided our new air conditioning system 18 months ago.  That same company, Colonial Webb, will perform the work after the ordered components are received.  For clarification, the air conditioning and heating systems are totally independent.

The board also approved the establishment of a capital campaign to recoup the cost of the heating restructuring and to cover similar large (over $10,000) cost items actions in the future.  Our 57 year old facility is our home and it will require occasional major rework to enable us worship and serve our Lord in this place in the coming years.  More information about the campaign will be made available in coming weeks

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Welcome to New Member

On Sunday, March 4th, we welcomed Colleen Fremont into our congregation.  A retired Air Force veteran and friend of Ernie & Debbie, she is glad to have found her home with us.

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Davis Middle School Honor

Davis Middle School is getting ready to host a district level Parent/Volunteer/Faith-based and/or Community Partner Recognition Event entitled "Promoters of Excellence.  Each Title 1 school may select 3 nominees to attend and be recognized at this event.  We have been selected as one of their nominees.  Brenda Wilkerson will attend this April 19th event as First Christian's representative.  This honor is a recognition of how important a role we play in all that Davis Middle School does in preparing students for a positive future and in recognizing how vital a role teachers and school staff play in that effort.  In the past, our church has provided water and volunteers for their Field Day activities; we have gathered school supplies to help ensure that students have what they need to start the year and we have provided for replenishing of supplies in January.  The Salty Christians Sunday School class has provided monetary support on several occasions, and our church is providing storage space for overflow "clothing" items which then are provided to students when needed.  WHAT AN ENCOURAGEMENT TO CONTINUE OUR SUPPORT and to look for other ways that we can help.

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Comfort Bags for Cancer Patients

The Salty Christians Sunday School class is currently preparing 20 "gift bags" a month for patients beginning chemotherapy treatment at Riverside Cancer Center.  Included in the bags are "comfort items" such as gum, small packages of wet wipes and tissues, mints, lip balm, small containers of hand lotion and hand sanitizers, hard candy, emery boards, small puzzle books, pencils, sharpeners and pens.  If you would like to help in this effort by donating any of these items, in any quantity, please place them in the identified box in the narthex.    We have found that the travel section at Walmart is a great place to find Kleenex tissues and hand lotions for “97 cents. The Dollar Tree has some of these items as does Amazon.  

Thank you for considering our request.

Salty Christians Sunday School Class

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A Word from the Pastor

In 1987, I was serving as a staff chaplain at the University of Kentucky’s medical center.  Post-seminary, I had completed clinical training and was hired for a 5-month span to cover the ICUs and ER patients after a staff chaplain resigned, before I moved onto the pastorate.

It was an intense exposure to death.  One to three.  Every day.  Many quietly slipping away.  Many screaming or their family members screaming.  Or both.  Six to seven days a week, I bore witness and offered God’s presence.  When one is exposed to so much suffering and so much death, life changes.

It was then that Holy Week approached.  It was my turn to hold the chapel service that Friday.  Good Friday.

It struck me how Holy Week truly can parallel our own lives, even if in much less dramatic and world-changing ways.  At the time, I had been working with numerous cancer patients during their time at the Markey Cancer Center, and while I am not sure where, or if my copy of my meditation for that day is now, the big picture remains – one found in a place of suffering that was also a place of healing.

It is this:  We come into life like it is Palm Sunday.  Festive.  Happy.  It is good!  But then we hit turmoil.  There are table flippings and teachings.  A gathering room that soon takes on a deeper meaning.  Bread is broken, and wine shared.  A night turns dark with betrayal, and daylight brings a day of grief.  Tearing that echoes the rending of the curtain in the Temple.   Death.  But, then Sunday comes.  Hope is realized!  Healing happens. Joy is found!

I worked with many patients who were there long enough that I saw them pass through all those days in some fashion, but it was that week when I finally realized the meaning of Saturday.  It is the day that’s only alluded to in the Gospels, for come Sunday morning – it was clear what hard marked Saturday besides terror and grief.  What marked Saturday was a significant part of the Easter story.  The disciples had already changed before the empty tomb was discovered, they just had not realized it.  They had already become as Jesus prayed at that final meal – the disparate group had “become one.”  If they had fled the Cross, they had nevertheless gathered in that common room – they stayed by each other’s side.  They had become one.

I sense that we as “church” are as much defined by the Saturdays as the Sundays – because it is in the sticking together that we become Jesus’ fervent hope, in John the 17th Chapter (read all of it, it is amazing!).  In verses 22-23:  The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

In being “one” we already bear witness, even before the Easter dawn.

In Christ,


Rev. Vinson Miller, Pastor

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Sunday Lectionary Readings

The pastor generally preaches from the “lectionary” – so if you are a reader or not and want to read ahead for the Sunday to come, click on and save the link below, with the readings in the New Revised Standard Version.

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Pastor’s Sermons on the Internet

For those who are away, who want to go back over what the pastor said on Sunday, or just fell asleep (smile!), Vinson’s sermons can be read online by going to his blog:

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Most of us here at First Christian probably ARE NOT looking for something else to do, BUT, just in case YOU are, OR if you believe that you have just a little more time or energy to share, OR if you are not currently involved with the Welcome Table because you think that things are going really, really well and you are not needed, we wanted you to know that there are still SO MANY ways you can help.  There is a place and a job for EVERYONE!!!

The Foodbank, our source for almost all the canned goods we use, allows us to have 3 shopping teams.  Currently 2 of our 3 teams have been shopping since this ministry began.  It would be wonderful to allow them to take a break.  To be a shopper you must have the ServSafe training and be willing to go to the Food Bank once every 3 weeks.  (A ServSafe training will be held here at First Christian on Friday-it's not too late to sign up.)  New volunteers for this job will have the opportunity to shop with a current shopper before setting out alone.

In order to be in compliance with the Food Bank guidelines WE MUST have a ServSafe Manager in the kitchen anytime we are cooking or handling food.  The training for this certification is a two-day workshop and certification is good for 5 years.  Currently Connie Herring and Janice Fulbright have that training, but it is almost imperative that we have at least one more person so that we can give these ladies a break and to also have back up when neither is available.   If you are interested or willing to at least entertain the idea of doing this, please see me for more information.  Finding someone to do this training is a high priority.  Please give it prayerful consideration.

Three cooking teams and a lead cook share responsibility for preparing all the meals that are this commitment is for once every three weeks (but many of those involved enjoy the experience enough to show up as often as their schedules allow).  It would be incredibly wonderful to have a 4th lead cook for whom we could create a team.  Lead cooks create the menu for the week, make sure that all items for the menu are available, prepare a list of tasks needed to get the meal ready and are available to answer any questions the team has. The team prepares the meal and helps plate the food.  Please consider being either a cook or a team member.  Lead cooks work together to track food that comes in and plan the meals according to what is available in our pantry and freezers.  We would be happy to have anyone interested in leading to shadow us and see what we do.  It's a lot of work but it is also a lot of fun.

If you don't think you can commit to being involved every week, please consider volunteering to be a server.  One of the things that makes our meal ministry somewhat unique is that meals are brought to the seated guests.  There is no line through which the guests must go.  We have had so much positive feedback on this part of the dinner.  Our guests really do feel like guests and not just someone who needs a meal.  Our servers are such a valued and important part of this  ministry... even our very young friends can fit in here, with guidance and our guests love seeing children and young adults coming to bring them a meal.  Just show up any evening and you will be put to work.

Do you find pleasure in scraping dishes after a meal????   I can't say that most folks do BUT we have dedicated, willing volunteers to do just that.  If you don't believe that you could be a ServSafe manager, or a lead cook or team member, that you would feel uncomfortable transporting food to a table BUT you could scrape dishes, come on down any Tuesday evening and we will put you right to work.   Our clean up crew also helps ensure that the dining room gets cleaned and mopped after each meal.

We have teams that come in at about 5 o'clock on Tuesdays just to wash dishes!!!  What a blessing they are!!  They, too, have been on the job a long time.  No one has said they want or need a break but it would be nice for them to have that option... and we can always find a place for someone who can use the dishwasher (we will train you if you don't yet know how)... and it would be a great relief for Sylvia (who schedules our clean up teams) if there were folks willing just to substitute for our regular teams during vacation times.

...and one last opportunity -- we are in the process of applying for a grant that would provide another freezer and refrigerator, and whether we receive that grant or not, there were several important ideas that came out of the process.   We want to do a better job of educating our guests on the importance of good nutrition - so you have a creative side to or you like researching things and creating things on the computer or would like being creative with recipes - we have a job for you.  We would like you to help us find ways to get this information out to our guests.

PLEASE, won't you give these opportunities your prayerful consideration, and perhaps, if you can't do one of them, you know someone else who might.  Share the news.

To date our Welcome Table has served 17,213 meals!!!!!   Incredible isn't it... and it only happens one meal at a time and only because of folks like you who want to share God's love.

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Got Clothes? (You Don’t Want)

Doing your preps for Spring and checking out those clothes you have that no longer fit or that you simply aren’t going to wear?  On Tuesday nights during the time the Welcome Table is open, a Girl Scout project provides a much-used clothes closet here, for our guests.  Donations will be gladly accepted for clean clothes, shoes, hats, etc.

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Communications Survey Underway

The survey mentioned in the previous eNews is now out!  Those attending Sunday worship are being asked to fill it out.  Emails will be then sent individually to members, with phone calls as needed – so we can get to a 100% completion rate.  This will inform us of the right means to provide timely and effective information to all of our congregation – including the Enews, information about church events and prayer requests.

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Regional News!

2018 Craig Springs Camp Schedule


Spring Work Weekend - May 25-27

Nature Camp - June 25-29

Special Camp - July 1-6

Triple 1 - July 8-13

AMPDD Camp - July 16-21

Triple 2 - July 22-27

New Covenant Camp - July 29- August 3

Family Camp - August 3-6

Fall Work Weekend - October 5-7


*Nature Camp Counselor Applications*

In the Narthex


Craig Springs Work Camp (May 25-27)

 Registration is open until May 15th for helping at the Craig Spring Camp in preparation for the summer program.  The food and lodging is free.  More information will be put out in March, but for your planning purposes –dates are Friday, May 25th (arrival and work at any point in day), through Sunday afternoon (May 27th).   Flier and registration forms are available at church office.

 Regional Assembly (May 31-Jun 1)

Registration is now open for the 173rd Regional Assembly of the Christian Church in Virginia, scheduled for May 31st through June 3rd on the Lynchburg College campus.

 Regional ENewsletter

To subscribe to the enewsletter of the Christian Church in Virginia, go to:

available at church office.

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DOC Families & Children Website

Disciples Home Missions office has created a fantastic resource filled with resources and programming for leaders, faith at home, curriculum, intergenerational activities, blogs, articles, summer programs, and more.  There are great links to church safety; ideas for families at home; Children Worship & Wonder trainings and resources; ideas on missions and camps for the summer; just to name a few.  For more information, go to:, or email

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H.E.L.P. Donations

While all donations are appreciated, please remember when donating that HELP does not accept expired items to their pantry.  Please do not donate soft drinks, as they are not on their list of needed nutritious foods.

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Box Tops for Education

 Bring in your "Box Tops" and drop in the basket in Narthex.

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Welcome Table Volunteer Needs

Lead Cook

ServSafe Manager

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Welcome Table Wish List

Canned vegetables (except green peas)

Canned baked beans

Canned peaches or apples

Diced tomatoes

Canned sweet potatoes

Instant Mashed Potatoes

Light brown sugar

Creamed soups (chicken, mushroom, celery)

Welcome Table Teams

                                                                            Cooking    Shopping

                                                                     Mar 6      Herring…..Kuster

                                                                     Mar 13    Kuster …....Cuthrell

                                                                     Mar 20    O’Brien.….Raiford

                                                                      Mar 27    Herring..….Kuster


March 16

Serv-Safe Training  9 am

Ladies Movie Night 5 pm

(RSVP required)

March 21

CWU Meeting 10:00am

March 25

Palm Sunday

Service at 10:45 a.m.

Easter Offering

March 28

WT Steering Team Meeting 5:30 pm

March 29

Maundy Thursday

Service planned for 6:15 pm

March 30

Good Friday

Reflection & Prayers at Noon (Library)

April 1


 Easter Offering

April 4

Business Cabinet 6:00 pm

April 5

CWF Group 2 10:30 am

April 8

Elders & Deacons Meeting 12:00 pm

April 12

CMF 6:30 pm

 Church Office:


Welcome Table:



Pastor's Blog: