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CONNECTIONS Emphasizing worship, spiritual development, fellowship, and ministry to our city and our world.

"All are welcome," our church sign says.

The invitation from our church is but a human echo of the invitation from God. The season of Advent expresses it boldly. Advent is for All, and this newsletter is our guide to plans for us all to participate in worship, community, service, generosity and joy. Inside, find details on traditions, like the Christmas Eve Service and Caroling to Homebound members.

Look for information on new opportunities, like the season-long Advent prayer room and the December 22 Christmas Oratorio. Find invitations to give, including a new Giving Tree encouraging generosity toward mission partners this season. Plans for children, youth and all ages are shared throughout. All of it prepares us to hear the Christmas words:

"Good news of great joy for ALL."

1 0 0 0 We s t F r i e n d l y A v e n u e , G r e e n s b o r o , N C 2 74 0 1



3 3 6 - 2 74 - 3 2 8 6

DECEMBER 2019 3 Window Gazing 4 Advent 5 Adults 6 Missions

Facebook: @First Baptist Church Greensboro Instagram: fbcgso

FBC Giving Tree | Holiday Honor Cards | CBF Offering

Spontaneous Nativity | Merge | Children's Advent Sunday +more!

7 Children

8 Youth | Preschool 9 Church Life


Connect with us on social media! Tag your post with #fbcgso OFFICE HOURS

9 am - 5 pm, Monday - Friday


Birthdays | Bereaved | New Members | MidWeek

10 Calendar & Financials 11 A Thousand Words 12 Life of the Beloved & Primetime Trips

If you have an emergency pastoral care need when the church offices are closed, please leave a message at 336-338-2438 and someone will return your call.

FRONT DESK HELP NEEDED One additional helper is needed at the front desk. The time slot available is Fridays from 9-12 am. Contact Rosemary Kellam at | x126.

F BC STAFF Patrick Cardwell, Homebound Minister Ashley Chandler, Ministry Support Associate /

Chris Cherry, Assoc. Pastor of Youth and Families / / x109 Anita Cranford, Media Library Director / / x104

Autumn Culbreth, Preschool Director / x106 Pam Davis, Ministry Support Associate / x124

2 | Connections

Amy Grizzle Kane, Associate Pastor: Missions and Community / amy@ / x103

Alan Sherouse, Senior Pastor / x101

Marty Kellam, Food Services Director / x123

Tommy Starnes, Recreation Director / x117

Rosemary Kellam, Operations Director / x126 Christina McCord, Minister to Children and Families / christina@ / x110 Scott North, Church Administrator / x127 Larry Putnam, Financial Assistant / x120

Tyrone Smith, Maintenance Supervisor

Doug Vancil, Associate Pastor of Music and Worship / / x116 Terri Vancil, Assistant Pastor of Music and Worship / / x129 Courtney Willis, Associate Pastor of Faith Formation & Congregational Care / x113

Alisa Windsor, Communications Director / x102

Window Gazing by Pastor Alan Sherouse


t’s not officially taught in seminary, but the first unwritten rule of pastoral ministry might just be: “Don’t mess with Christmas Eve!” That’s why I winced when I heard an older minister friend describe how he had once asked everyone to walk outside for the “Silent Night” candle-lighting at the close of the service. He survived, but not without cautionary tales of the near Christmas catastrophe. Then again, he might have been on to something. Advent at First Baptist Greensboro offers us so many opportunities to find our way into church. But of all the places Advent leads us, it first leads us outside. That’s where we see what the shepherds saw: “Mary wrapped him in bands of cloth and laid him in the feeding trough because there was no room for them in the inn.” The phrase – “no room in the inn” – has captured our attention and prompted much Advent reflection over the years. It reminds us how often we fail to make room for Messiah in our midst and invites every one of us to “prepare him room.” It reminds us that from his first breaths Jesus made his life out on the edges of comfortable places, and if we are to find him it’s on the edges of our world that we should look. It reminds us that Jesus and his family were vulnerable, urging us to remember the vulnerable and oppressed in our day and time, and even to be attentive to the vulnerable parts of us. But there’s at least one more way to think about the meaning of this phrase, “no room in the inn.” Maybe there was no room because the inn simply wasn’t large enough for this birth. Some think the inn that Luke describes was a guest room behind a private home. Others envision it as a crowded public shelter. It’s been suggested it was simply a place where a traveler laid down their baggage on a trip. Still others point to archaeological evidence of ancient hotels, complete with tiny 12’ x 12’ rooms. Whether a guest room, a shelter, a closet, or a box, there simply wasn’t enough room. Maybe there would have been room for some births, but not this birth.

But outside the inn, they all found room – the young mother finding it within herself to say “yes” to God’s call; the still stupefied father-to-be; the weary travelers who had gazed against many a night sky hoping to see what they had not seen yet; the shepherds who had spent so many nights low in their fields and low in their society. They all found room. We all find room, too. There was no room in the inn, because there’s no room in an inn for all of us that need to be there. Where would we put our travel bags, much less our heavy burdens? How would we find space to kneel and receive what we need? “Advent for All,” the front of our newsletter says. Advent at First Baptist Greensboro is for all of us, with so many opportunities to share in worship and music, beloved traditions, new expressions, and the love we build in our community of faith. I hope we all find ways to gather together at our church to experience Advent’s comfort and joy. But more than anything, I hope we encounter the grace that was never meant to be housed. It can never be contained under one roof. It can never be confined to an inn, any more than it can be kept in a church or any structure of our own making. It can’t be locked safely behind a door, or placed behind a sign that says, “privacy please.” It’s grace that stretches out under an infinite sky. That’s where there’s room for all of us, no matter what we bring, no matter what we carry with us in our travel bags, and no matter what questions we ask as we wander under the night sky. There’s no room for all of us in an inn. Thanks be to God, Jesus was born outside.

Christmas Eve



A service for all of carols, communion and candlelight celebrating the birth of the Christ Child. Optional childcare will be provided for children three and December 2019 | 3




Scripture: Isaiah 2.1-5, Matthew 24.36-44 Music Shared By: Combined Youth, Advent, & Adult Handbell Choirs

Songs: Tempus Adest Floridum and Praise Ye, the Lord of Hosts In the Service: Communion by intinction


Everyone is welcome to the fully adorned sanctuary for a brief dedication service for our Christmas Greenery led by our youth and families, ending with our signature “Shine On Us”. A soup and sandwich supper will follow.



Scripture: Isaiah 35.1-10, Matthew 11.2-11 Music Shared By: Children’s Choirs, Adult Ensemble

Songs: Creation Will Be At Peace and Jesus, What a Wonderful Child



Scripture: Isaiah 11.1-10, Matthew 3.1-12 Music Shared By: Sanctuary Choir

Songs: A Waiting Prayer and E’en So, Lord Jesus, Quickly Come


Annual Christmas concert for the whole community including classic sacred choral music under the direction of Maestro Travis Alexander.



Scripture: Isaiah 7.10-16, Matthew 1.18-25

Song: What Sweeter Music

Music Shared By: Sanctuary Choir


Share Christmas joy with our homebound members through beloved songs of the season. Join us as we go to our members who are unable to attend church on a regular basis and brighten up their holiday season with Christmas carols. Carolers will gather at 4 pm in the Atrium to depart in groups.

Christmas Eve



Sanctuary choir and soloists with orchestra presents the classic Christmas Oratorio by Camille Saint-Saëns, and other sacred holiday favorites in the the candlelit sanctuary.




A service for all of carols, communion and candlelight celebrating the birth of the Christ Child. Optional childcare will be provided for children three and younger.


Sanctuary choir and soloists with orchestra presents the classic Christmas Oratorio by Camille Saint-Saëns, and other sacred holiday favorites in the festive setting of the candlelit sanctuary. Following the concert, all are invited to a reception at Double Oaks. 4 | Connections

A D U LT S ADVENT FOR ALL: Self-Guided Prayer Experiences December 1-24 | Room 202

Does the rush of the Christmas season contribute toward your stress or anxiety? Do you often long for a moment to slow down and focus on the true meaning of this holy time? Throughout the Advent season, all are invited to room 202 where there will be prayer experiences to help us all turn our attention to the coming of the Christ child, and our response to this joyous news. Any time the church is open, this room will be open for individuals or families to take time for prayer, meditation, and reflection. In the room, you will find directions for each self-guided prayer experience. Visit once or make it a weekly stop on your Advent journey.


Sunday mornings in December, all adult Sunday School classes are invited to attend a Winter Oasis class in the chapel. Rev. Courtney Willis will be leading the class using the Formations literature, focusing on the Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke. Please make plans to attend one or all of these gatherings as we learn, discuss and grow in our faith together this Advent.


Mercy's Well in Concert Monday, Dec. 2 | 11:45 am Mercy’s Well is a rising, young Christian vocal group based in Greensboro, NC. Deadline to RSVP is November 25 to Marty Kellam ( Ceramics at 9 am, Bible study at 11 am, followed by lunch and a program.


Do you remember your STAR WORD for 2019? In worship last January, many members of the congregation received a word that would help guide them throughout the year. Have you had any experiences with your word this year? If so, please share your story with Courtney Willis. Tell her in person or send an email at

CAROLING TO HOMEBOUND MEMBERS Sunday, December 15 | 4 pm

All are invited to meet in the Atrium where you’ll be assigned to a group who will visit 3-4 homebound members. This is a great way for everyone to spread Christmas cheer to beloved church members who aren’t always able to join us during the Advent season.


A group of church members from the 2x2 Sunday School Class and WMU #3 group are taking a trip to Samaritan’s Purse Processing Center for Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes in Boone, NC. They’ll be heading out on Friday December 13 at 7:30 am and return at 5:30 pm. If you’d like to join, please call Shirley Thompson (336) 274-9622. There are limited spaces so let Shirley know soon! December 2019 | 5


In a season of sharing, we offer the opportunity to share with others in our community in tangible and life-giving ways. This year the Missions Committee is sponsoring a Giving Tree, which will hold Angel tags listing Christmas wishes for families, children and partnership agencies assisting those in need. There are a variety of requests at various price points so we hope all can participate. Stop by the Atrium, choose a tag that speaks to your heart, simply sign your name and tag # on the list, and return the gift to the Atrium Giving Tree box by December 18. Thank you for sharing God’s generosity to you with others! Participating Mission Partners: BackPack Beginnings, Baptist Children’s Homes, Interactive Resource Center, New Arrivals Institute, Rosewood Tutoring, CBF Field Personnel Lesley-Ann Hix Tommey and CBF Welcome House in Raleigh. Contact: Margaret Crawford mimicraw@ or Amy Grizzle Kane


Consider honoring a loved one this Christmas by remembering them with a gift that gives back to others. Honor Cards in support of FBC Missions Partners will be for sale on Sundays in the Atrium or on Wednesdays in the Fellowship Hall beginning Nov. 24. Cash or checks are to be payable directly to organizations (minimum donation of $5). To purchase, contact Alice Angell ( or Ashley Chandler ( in the office. Honor Cards are available for:

CBF OFFERING FOR GLOBAL MISSIONS SHARE ABUNDANT LIFE During the month of December, we have a chance to give above and beyond to help missionaries share Christ’s love with those in need around the world and in the US by participating in the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s Offering for Global Missions. 100% of what is given supports field personnel, CBF Baptist missionaries, sharing Christ’s love by living and working in the cultures and communities of those in greatest need. Your gifts will help offer shelter

and healing to victims of human trafficking. You will help refugees find resources and hope for beginning again in a place of safety where they can start to rebuild lives and provide again for their families. You can help share the love and forgiveness of Christ’s gospel message with those struggling with addiction and or those who are dealing with homelessness. You can respond to all these needs and many more by giving to the Offering for Global Missions and

supporting those who share Christ’s transforming love with individuals and communities needing to know that they need not be afraid, there is indeed good news of great joy for all the people (Luke 2:10). Special gifts may be given online at or by using offering envelopes available at the church.

Please consider a designated gift to the CBF Offering for Global Missions this holiday season. Help share the abundant life of Christ and help create God’s beloved community for all. 6 | Connections

CHILDREN December is a busy month in Children's Ministry. Mark these events on your calendar so you can participate!





FBCkids 4th & 5th graders In November, we gathered in the McCord's backyard for an outdoor movie and s'mores. Lots of fun was had by all! If you're a 4th or 5th grader and want to get involved with this group, be on the lookout for our next event in the new year.

Monday, Dec. 9 | 6:30 pm Join us for a special dinner celebrating our amazing Sunday School, Junior Church, and Wednesday night mission teachers. We will gather at the Worsley's home (5806 Windhurst Court, Greensboro, NC 27410). Please bring an ornament for the traditional Ornament Exchange.



Deadline is December 15 We are taking FBC kids, currently in 3rd-5th grades, to PASSPORTkids Camp next summer, June 17-20, 2020! The deadline to sign up is December 15, and you can secure your child’s spot with a $100 deposit. Register at



Breakfast for Dinner (5:30 pm) & Spontaneous Nativity (6:30 pm) We will serve a full breakfast, and we will be decorating waffles for the children with yummy toppings. At 6:15 pm, parents will take children to the back of the Fellowship Hall to pick out their costumes. They will get to choose from animals, shepherds, angels, and "wise people". The children will then head to the Sanctuary and find a pew at the front that is labeled with their "part." We will have adults sitting with the children to help to guide them up front when it is their turn to take position. This precious event will be full of music, scripture, and wiggly children bringing the nativity story alive!

RSVP to Christina by Thursday, December 5 (


Sunday, December 15 This service will feature the gifts of our three children's choirs as they lead us in worship. Many elements of the service will involve the leadership of our children. We hope you'll join us as we focus on the JOY that Christ brings to the world.



Tuesday, December 24 | 5 pm We will have worship folders for children including nativity stickers, paper Christmas trees to decorate, "lace up" stars, pipe cleaners, and coloring/activity sheets. Optional childcare will be provided for children three and younger. December 2019 | 7

YO U T H AS THE YOUTH MINISTRY WRAPS UP RETREAT SEASON after great Middle School and High School Retreats, we begin to shift our focus to Advent, Christmas, and beyond. Here are some upcoming events for the Youth Ministry in December.

DECEMBER 1: At 5pm, the youth choir will sing at a special service to dedicate the greenery in the Sanctuary. DECEMBER 8: At 6pm, the youth will have an opportunity to engage all of their senses in a unique worship experience centered around Advent. DECEMBER 15: The annual youth Christmas party and white elephant gift exchange. Details available soon! DECEMBER 24: Annual Christmas Eve Football Game in Lake Daniel Park by the basketball court. All ages and ability levels welcome. The game begins at noon and happens rain, snow, or shine! LOOKING ON INTO THE FUTURE, the Youth Ministry is also excited to announce that it will be hosting another Trivia Night on Sunday, February 23rd. Details and sign ups to come, but start forming your teams now! All proceeds for this event go to help our youth travel for Mission Trip and Passport Camp in the summer of 2020.

PRESCHOOL VIA SOUP LUNCH Sunday, December 8 | Following Worship

DURING OCTOBER, our children participated in the first annual Paper Bag Parade. Each class designed their own paper bag costumes thanks to creative teachers and bag donations from Harris Teeter. Children also had the opportunity to trick-or-treat in the FBC staff offices. The staff always takes time to theme their costumes and make the experience so special for our classes. 8 | Connections

All are invited to our annual Via Soup Luncheon on Sunday, December 8. Church members, preschool teachers and families make homemade soups, breads and desserts. The cost to enjoy this delicious lunch is a donation to our Via Scholarship Fund. The Via Fund was started to honor the memory of Bill Via, husband of former teacher, Roberta Via-Hartgrove. The fund provides scholarships for preschool children each year. The preschool will also take the opportunity to share more about its outreach during the lunch. A church conference will also be conducted in conjunction with the luncheon. Please make plans to attend. If you would like to help by making soup, dessert or setup; please e-mail Autumn Culbreth at

CHURCH LIFE DECEMBER BIRTHDAYS No FBC birthdays December 4, 5, 17, 19 1 Millie Power, Cynthia Stone, Vivian Schneider, Lucy King, Ethan Schneider 2 Ann Vaden, Ann Leonard, Beth Absher 3 Jerri Edwards, Scott Lyle, Christina McCord, Holden Biffle 6 Blanche Hodge, Kathy Simmons 7 Nancy Gee 8 Gayle Wiley, Ann Teague, 9 Sandra Canipe, Donald Cunningham, Jeff Duckworth, Andrew Donovan, Mary Petriskie, Shaun Martin, Steven Key 10 David Garrett 11 Marietta Mobley

12 Raymond Anderson, Richard Stafford, Ginny Young, Andrea Harrell 13 Morgan Hall 14 Betsy McLean, Coolidge Porterfield, Ruth Ward, Sue Bias, Holly Messick Don White, McKenna Stutts 1 5 Joshua Sumner 16 Margaret Wilson, Kevin Starr 18 Lois Hutchison 20 Dianne Nickles, Hannah Porter 21 Clyde Collins, Bob Chovanec 22 Reid Hix 23 Ann Powell, Agnes Moore 24 Catherine Pressley, Elias Rainey, Christopher Gleason


25 Ed Parkerson, Jack Cagle, Brenda Berry, Jeff Smith 26 Phillip Barbee, Jamie Powell, Melissa Sample 27 Ansel Boiter 28 Gladys Boroughs,Ticia Cranford 29 Pamela Baggett, Everett Sheffield, Rick Schneider, Luke Lynch 30 Sylvia Ledford, KatyBeth Schmid, Brennan Bode 31 Rachel Shackelford, Robert Ludwick, Wilson Vo

BEREAVED Joann Thompson, in the loss of her sister Bonnie Hinrichsen. Kathy Troxler in the loss of her aunt, Rebecca Fox, d. 10/29 David Newsom, in the loss of his father, John Newsom, d. 11/1



Phyllis Sykes, in the loss of her sister, Doris Hodgins, d. 11/5

M I DW E E K @ F B C December Menu

Meal Reservations

December 4 | Grilled Pork Tenderlion December 11 | Chicken Portofino December 18 | Breakfast December 25 | No meal

Meal reservations can be made via Sunday morning Connection cards, website (, email (, or phone (336-274-3286 | x123). Reservation due: Monday at noon Cancellations due: Tuesday at noon

CHILDREN’S EXTRAS Yogurt, fresh fruits and veggies, etc.

December 2019 | 9

DECEMBER @FBC 1 (Su) First Sunday of Advent 1 (Su) Hanging of the Green | Sanctuary | 5 pm 1 (Su) Advent for All | 202 (until December 24) 1 (Su) Winter Oasis begins | Chapel | 9:15 am 2 (M) Primetime | Fellowship Hall | 12-1:30 pm 2 (M) Deacon’s Meeting | 102 | 7 pm 3 (Tu) Grace Meal Prep | Kitchen | 5 pm 4 (W) Grace Meal Pick-Up and Serve | Kitchen | 5 pm 8 (Su) Via Soup Lunch | Fellowship Hall | After Worship 8 (Su) NC A&T University Christmas Choir Concert | Sanctuary | 4 pm 11 (W) Christian Restoration Fund Meeting | Conference Room | 6:15 pm 10 (Tu) WMU Group 3 | 102 | 9:30 am 15 (Su) Children/Youth Sunday | During Worship 16 (M) YWCA Family Shelter Serving | 1807 E. Wendover | 6:15 pm 18 (W) Breakfast for Dinner and Spontaneous Nativity | Fellowship Hall/Sanctuary | 5:30 pm 20 (F) Meals on Wheels | 1401 Benjamin Parkway | 9:30 am 22 (S) Caroling to the Homebound || 4 pm 22 (S) Saint-Saens Christmas Oratorio | Sanctuary | 4 pm 22 (S) Christmas Cheer | Double Oaks | 5pm 24 (Tu) Christmas Eve Football Game | 12-2 pm Lake Daniel Park

WEEKLY SCHEDULE SUNDAY MORNINGS 9:15 am Sunday School 10:30 am Worship 12 pm College Bible Study


5 pm 6 pm 6 pm 7 pm

Youth Choir Youth Discipleship Adult Bells Sanctuary Choir

MIDWEEK @FBC 5:30 pm 6 pm 6:15 pm 6:15 pm 7:15 pm

Fellowship Meal FBC Kids Youth Group Adult Classes Sanctuary Choir

Giving at FBC Greensboro

Help the church finish the year in a healthy financial position. MOBILE Use Church Life App or on your mobile device or text FBCGSO to 73256.

IN PERSON Give via the church envelope in the offering plate on Sunday mornings.

MAIL Mail your offering in an envelope to the church, the office can provide self addressed envelopes.

ONLINE Set up a recurring donation option using your bank’s online bill payment system to send recurring checks or set up a recurring payment using your bank account or credit card at If you have questions, contact Scott North at the church office – | x127.

October 2019 Financial Results

Year-to-Date Budget Receipts/Distributions Jan-Oct Receipts Disbursements

Actual Budget Last Year $1,276,313 $1,330,380 $1,215,675 $1,451,584 $1,482,503 $1,455,299

Net YTD Deficit

$(175,271) $(152,123) $(239,554)

(Net of program income)

10 | Connections


A picture tells a story just as well as, if not better than, a thousand written words. Enjoy these pictures that tell stories from our FBC family! Share your photos on Facebook or Instagram with #fbcgso. Row 1: Staff dress up for Preschool Trick or Treating, last Fall Fellowship gathering of the year Row 2: WMU Group 3 at Newcomers School, Grace Meals, Celebrating 25 years of Theo at FBC Row 3: Deacons gathering at Double Oaks, Volunteers from FBC at Westerwood 5k

December 2019 | 11

First Baptist Church Greensboro


1000 West Friendly Avenue Greensboro, NC 27401

FACES OF BELOVED COMMUNITY November 24 — December 31



First Baptist Greensboro is hosting a traveling photography exhibit illustrating the work and reach of CBF Global Missions over a period of time. The photos paint a portrait of the ways CBF seeks to build beloved community around the world and were curated from a vast collection of images representing CBF Global Missions. ”This powerful exhibit shows the beauty, richness and diversity of CBF’s work and the people around the world who we are blessed to walk alongside,” said Martha Perusek, director of development for CBF. “A picture says a thousand words, and I know our congregations will be moved and inspired by the exhibit, knowing they play an important role in sharing the Gospel, touching lives and creating this beloved community.”

Each year Primetime at First Baptist Greensboro sponsors various trips for recreation, education and ministry. Some trips being considered for next year are: a cruise to Alaska, Tanger Island in the Chesapeake Bay, Wohlfahrt Haus for a show, the North Carolina State Fair, the Virginia Creeper Trail, and perhaps even the Holy Land. Suggestions for trips are welcomed as well.

The primary means of supporting this work is the Offering for Global Missions, which allows CBF field personnel to be physically present among the communities they serve, whether in the United States or around the globe. As you view these photos, consider your own capacity to support the work of Christ through CBF and the Offering for Global Missions. Together, we create beloved community even in places we cannot go ourselves—because together, we can do so much more than we can do alone.

Cliff Lowery or

Let us know of your interest in going or sending someone on any of our trips by contacting:

Monica Vaughan

Profile for First Baptist Church Greensboro

December Connections  

The monthly newsletter of First Baptist Church, Greensboro.

December Connections  

The monthly newsletter of First Baptist Church, Greensboro.