May 27, 2014 Dear Church Family:
Two years ago we began a dialogue about the possibility of a sabbatical for 2014. The twenty four month gap between those initial conversations and the reality of this week's departure is nothing short of amazing for my family. Your willingness to send us so openly is an act of authentic grace and unconditional love. The generosity of the church, and Lilly Endowment, has opened a door that we soon walk through. I have no idea what awaits, none of us do. However, I am beyond excited to step into it and believe that God will give us what is needed to absorb the experience in anticipation of returning home to tell the story.
I have complete confidence in the Pastoral Staff, Support Staff, and Lay Leaders as they guide Tabernacle through the summer. God has blessed us with an abundance of servant leaders and I thank each of them for their willingness to carry the additional responsibilities that will be required over the next three months. I leave this week with a heart full of gratitude and tremendous hope for our future together. I also look forward to returning home again, on the other side of sabbatical, with renewed energy and passion for what will inevitably be a continued season of spiritual and numerical growth. Mary Oliver, the Pulitzer Prize winning poet, in "Six Recognitions of our Lord" articulates the return home in this way, "'I go back to ... my own house, my own life, which has now become brighter and simpler, somewhere I have never been before." The Light that is guiding my family out into the world isn't waiting for us....out "there". Rather it is here at home and it has guided us as we've walked with you over these last ten years. The light will go with us into the world and it will also remain with you. It will bring us home again and I believe that all us will see everything more brightly when we come back together.
Thank you for receiving us. Thank you for sending us. Thank you for receiving us again on the other side. We love you.
Yours in Christ,
Sterling Severns Pastor
SABBATICAL 2014 The information below is the second of a series designed to answer frequently asked questions about this summer's sabbatical. Please pray for the Severns Family and church leadership as they make plans.
What will be happening at church during the Sabbatical? The sabbatical season is designed to be a time of renewal for Sterling and for the church. A portion of the grant has been designated for various congregational activities. In keeping with the sabbatical theme, the congregation will: Come Home for three church-wide Fellowship Opportunities: June 8th Church-wide picnic – good food and fun activities for all ages July 9th Ice Cream social plus agespecific book discussions (children, youth, adult) Aug. 20th Movie night – The Wizard of Oz: popcorn plus conversation about “coming home” Come Home for three Creative Arts Opportunities: after worship on June 15th th
after worship on July 13
after worship on Aug. 3rd Join us as local artist and minister Suzanne Stovall Vinson leads us in creating unique and versatile themed stoles and banners for worship. We will also make some new Chrismon ornaments for our Christmas tree. Get to know new and longtime church members during these inter-generational creative arts sessions
Will Sterling’s family go with him? Sterling will travel with his best friend from college and seminary to the Holy Land and by himself to Burma. His family will enjoy the remainder of the sabbatical time with him.
How will we send Sterling off? On May 31, CBF leader, Bo Prosser, will lead a brief dinner meeting for our clergy and lay leaders, facilitating the conversation of entrusting congregational leadership and spiritual guidance into the hands of other staff and deacons.
On June 1, we will have a congregational Send-Off. In worship, Bo Prosser will preach. We will creatively interpret the sabbatical theme and set the tone for the season ahead. The congregation will send the Severns family
into the sabbatical with bread for the journey.
Come Home by attending some home team sports events: Baseball with The Richmond Flying Squirrels Soccer with the Richmond Kickers.
Come Home by reconnecting with family members that we have commissioned through the years. Small groups of church members will arrange homecoming trips, traveling to reconnect with and worship alongside those we have commissioned over the years. Judy Fiske will coordinate an outing in New York with Bryon Lepere, Eric Hasha, and Amanda HambrickAshcraft.
Dan Schumacher will coordinate a reunion in Charlotte, NC, with Jason and Joanie Williams and Molly Huffstetler. Megan Strollo will coordinate a reunion with Rene Kenley Purtlebaugh and Susan Reed in Louisville, Ky. Jessica Corbitt will coordinate a reunion with Greg and Melanie Harrell in Blacksburg, Va. A group us us will enjoy a reunion with some of our former members living in the Richmond Metropolitan area. Lastly, a group will also travel to Camp Alkulana to offer support to Beth, Art, and Anna.
Will Sterling be in contact with TBC during the sabbatical? An important part of sabbatical is to make a complete break from things. The only people who will be in direct contact with Sterling while he is away will be his family. In the unlikely event that some extraordinary news must be communicated to Sterling, Dan Schumacher will notify Laura and/or Sterling.
How will we get “reacquainted” when the Severns return? On Saturday, September 6, Bo Prosser from CBF will lead a re-entry Retreat for deacons, lay leaders, and the pastoral staff.
September 7, Bo Prosser will lead all of the adults during the Sunday School hour and preach in worship. The Severns will enter the sanctuary with bread and Sterling will lead communion as we break bread together around the family table and celebrate coming home for the very first time.
How can I help make the sabbatical successful for the Severns family and for the church? First, pray. Pray for a significant time of rest and renewal for each member of the Severns family. Pray for each member of the church staff that will lead us while Sterling is away. Pray for the deacons and other volunteers who will plan and lead sabbatical activities. Pray that this season is one of renewal for each member of the congregation and our church as a whole.
Second, participate. Join in the fellowship and worship opportunities that are offered this summer. Volunteer to help support the staff and the deacons lead key events.
Finally, seek to be present in the moment and enjoy this unique opportunity in the life of our church.
Sabbatical Schedule May 28: Sterling’s last day in office May 30: June 1 - DNOW Youth Retreat May 31: Dinner meeting for our clergy and lay leaders,
Aug. 16: Tentative trip to Turner Smith’s house (Senior High) Aug. 20: The Wizard of Oz Movie Night and Discussion Sept. 2: Sterling’s first day back in the church office Sept. 6: Local re-entry Retreat (Deacons, lay leaders, and Pastoral Staff), 10 a.m - 3 p.m. Sept. 7: Sterling’s first Sunday back. Reunion dialogue during Sunday School and special communion during worship.
SANCTUARY BIBLE REPLACEMENT In honor of Sterling Severns’ Tenth Anniversary as Senior Pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church, we are replacing the Bibles in the Sanctuary. For $10.00 you can give a Bible in honor of this occasion. Simply fill out the form located in the back of the Sanctuary, along with your check, and place them in the offering plate. We hope you will take this opportunity to mark the significance of Sterling’s leadership with us!
6-8 p.m. June 1: Severns family’s last Sunday with us June 2-16: Pray for Sterling as he travels to Israel June 7: Camp Alkulana work day and reunion June 8: Pentecost Sunday/Graduate Recognition Sunday/Church-wide Picnic at Mechanicsville Baptist June 14: Richmond Kickers game June 15: Suzanne Vinson here to facilitate stole, banner, and Chrismon ornament projects. June 21: School’s out for the Summer Beach Day for the youth, pray for the Severns Family as they travel together to Florida and the Caribbean through July 7. June 29: Flying Squirrels game July 4: Fireworks at Dogwood Dell July 9: Ice Cream Social & Book Discussion/UniDiversity Youth Camp info mtg. (6:30-8:30 PM) July 13: Suzanne Vinson here to facilitate stole, banner, and Chrismon ornament projects/UniDiversity info mtg July 14-18: Music and Arts Camp (children) July 15-31 Pray for Sterling as he travels to Burma July 19: Richmond Kickers game July 21-26: UniDiversity Youth Camp July 23-27: Vinton Baptist Church Mission Team at TBC July 27-Aug. 2: TBC Team to lead Metro Baptist Clue Camp (NY, NY)Aug. 2-19: Pray for the Severns Family as they travel to Hawaii Aug. 3: Suzanne Vinson here to facilitate stole, banner, and Chrismon ornament projects. Aug. 9: Flying Squirrels game (fireworks) Aug. 10: Vacation Bible School Prep Day Aug. 11-15: Vacation Bible School
CHURCH-WIDE PICNIC: JUNE 8 Please join us at Mechanicsville Baptist Church on June 8 at 4:00 p.m. for a church-wide picnic. Come enjoy fellowship and fun as we kick off the summer together! The church will be providing hamburgers and hot dogs, and you should please bring a side dish or dessert to share! You may also want to bring along a lawn chair in case we run out of seating.
FOOD PANTRY CONTRIBUTION The Tabernacle Food Pantry has again received a $1000 contribution from the Chevron Corporation as part of their Grants for Good involvement directed at nonprofit organizations. Retirees, such as Bill Finley, may volunteer a designated number of hours during the year for our program to be eligible. Funds from this and other sources are vital in helping us serve our patrons.
SUMMER EDITION OF FAMILY ALBUM IS AVAILABLE The summer edition of our family album (picture directory) is available for purchase for $2. Please see the church office or a member of the Pastoral Staff for a copy. We encourage everyone to use the booklet to help learn names and connect with each other on a deeper level.
CURRENT INCOME UPDATE Received in April:
Received Year to Date:
Expenses in April:
Expenses Year to Date:
Budgeted for April:
Budgeted Year to Date:
Receipts include: tithes/offerings, Endowment Fund contributions, facilities use donations, and some designated gifts (IMO/IHO, etc.)
IN OUR PRAYERS Recent Addi ons We celebrate with Katherine Fulks and Brian Lovelace in their marriage on May 23 We celebrate with Kelley Hurdle in the purchase of her first house Jim McMurray’s mother in these days of transition We offer thanksgiving to God for our Campaign Leadership Team and pray for God’s guidance as we live into the God-sized vision. Amber Berry, Bill and Kathy’s daughter Val Andrist
Continued Care Michael Booth, Chris Hines, Nell Broach, Dick Spain, Roger Printz, Lay Htoo, Joe Bolos, Loretta Hancock, Rod Dupler, Coppage family, Martha Williams, Jim and Ginny Meisner, Giemza Family, Bo Lay, Tammy Denton, Jennifer Cave, Megan Strollo, Josh Gardner, Saya family, Solo Khi, Bawi Lian Ceu, Jeanette Gholston, Helen Weber, Linwood Fleming, Brenda Gradwell
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