Update July 1, 2020

Dear Church Family,

In Philippians 3:12, Paul writes, “Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” At Second Baptist Church, we are pressing on despite the many challenges of 2020. I encourage you to read the updates below pertaining to various areas of our church life.

 

Worship

We are pressing on in worship. Our plan is to begin re-gathering for Sunday services on July 12 with The Well at 8:45 a.m. in the FLC Gym, the Portuguese Language Ministry Service at 10:30 a.m. in Spence Hall, and the Sanctuary Service at 11:30 a.m. in the Sanctuary. Sunday School will be held online only at 10:00 a.m. and the Arabic Language Ministry will be held on Saturdays at 7:00 p.m. in Spence Hall. Livestreaming will continue so you can worship from home if you choose. We are not asking anyone to come back to church but rather offering the opportunity for those who are ready to return. If you are in the high-risk category, or if you have any hesitations, I would encourage you to stay home and continue worshipping online for the time being. If you missed last Sunday, you can find last Sunday’s Well service here, last Sunday’s Sanctuary service here, and last Sunday’s sermon here.

 

Bible Study

We are pressing on in Christian education. The next video lesson in “Gospel and Race: An Introductory Course” will be posted in the next several days, and we will notify you when it is available. Next Wednesday, July 8, I will discuss race with Rev. James M. McCarroll, Jr., Pastor of First Baptist Church, Murfreesboro, TN in a live Zoom conversation at 6:00 p.m. I hope you will plan to join us for this live conversation that will not be recorded. If you missed the first lesson on “Gospel and Race,” you can view it here. If you missed last week’s episode of “Breaking It Down with Pastor Noel,” you can find it here.

 

Mission

We are pressing on in Christian mission work. Every second and fourth Friday of the month, the Loaves and Fishes ministry continues to provide food and grocery gift cards for drive-thru pick up at the main entrance of the church. Our average food distribution has grown from 35 bags to 90 bags during the pandemic. The church has been generous to replenish our food inventory and give generously to this ministry. A faithful cadre of volunteers prepares the food bags and lovingly greets our guests, many of whom have become familiar friends. We have been able to pray with people, celebrate the birth of children, and give hope to those suffering during this challenging season. Additionally, the church has continued to provide sandwiches, protein shakes, protein bars, and goodies to front line health care workers. Last week, we delivered food to another critical care unit at St. Mary’s Hospital. It is a blessing to be able to bless those who are caring for the sick in our community!

 

Children

We are pressing on in our Children’s Ministry by continuing to find creative ways to connect with children and families. Recently, we honored our fifth graders and their transition to Student Ministry by delivering Bibles to them at their homes. It was a joyful occasion with their fourth and fifth grade Sunday School teachers, Katie, and their families. As we move into summer, we continue to offer Sunday School for preschoolers and elementary school children on Facebook and Zoom. Katie has also started social distance front yard visits with children and families that will continue throughout the summer along with digital offerings online. We are excited to host a virtual Advocacy Camp July 13-17. This year’s camp will look different but will be a wonderful virtual experience. Kids will learn about needs and opportunities related to healthcare, race, education, creation care, housing, and food insecurity. It will include activities, Zoom check-ins with Katie and other ministers, family hands-on experiences, prayer experiences, and a chance to do several projects as a family. This is a free camp and anyone can participate. Just email Katie by Monday, July 6 to sign-up.

 

Students

Second Student Ministries are pressing on and remaining active, although much is different about this summer. In a typical summer, our students would be at Passport Camp in Danville, Virginia during this final week in June. Instead, Passport has engaged students with weekly videos, energizer dances, and pastoral charges for missions. Students from Second Baptist submitted videos that will premiere this week for “Questions of the Day” and the Variety Show at Passport. On Thursday, July 2, Second Students are invited to a Conversation about Race that features church members Braxton Kemp and Paule Houngbeke. This live Zoom conversation will allow students a space to listen, learn, and ask important questions about race. Additionally, an online sign-up is circulating with dates for Driveway Desserts. On the specified date, Ben will contact your student and enjoy a dessert at a safe distance in your driveway. Ben is looking forward to drinking 20+ peach milkshakes and catching up with your student!

 

Senior Adults

Our Senior Adult ministry continues to press on. Rays of sunshine are peaking through in people’s lives as they send thank you notes like the following for our Thankful Thursday soup and bread delivery: “Thank you so very much for the delicious soup and bread. It was so good. So good that it’s all gone! Coming home to warm bread and soup was so therapeutic during these challenging times!” We continue to deliver soup, bread, and pastries to our grieving or at-home seniors and friends. We have several “delivery angels” who are such a blessing as they make deliveries. We appreciate the generosity of the Panera Bread Company which continues to donate bread to us. We use the bread for our Loaves and Fishes ministry as well as an accompaniment to our Thankful Thursday recipients. The staff at Panera have reached out to let us know how delighted they are that the bread is being used in such a loving way.

 

Music Minister Search

The Music Minister Search Committee (MMSC) is pressing on as well. The committee pushed hard through the middle of May to finalize the candidate profile and pass the torch to our consultant, Dr. Matt Cook, who began seeking candidates on our behalf. To date, between Dr. Cook’s work, our church website, and word-of-mouth referrals, we have collected more than 60 resumes. We will soon begin narrowing down this pool to the top ten candidates. COVID-19 has left its impact on our process since March, complicating our committee meetings and communications with potential candidates. Nonetheless, our resolve remains strong, and we look forward to continuing our work to discern God’s call for our next Minister of Music. We are planning to post the “What We’ve Heard from You” aspect of our search on the church website along with the Candidate Profile. Although we are beginning to narrow down our candidate pool, if you know of someone you would recommend to apply, please have him or her email a resume to musicminister@secondbaptistrva.org. – Todd Mawyer, Chair of MMSC

 

Financial Update

We are pressing on in faithful and generous giving despite the difficult economic situation eventuated by the pandemic. Here is the financial summary as of May 31, 2020.

                                 MTD Actual            YTD Actual             YTD Budget                 Annual Budget

Revenues                 $242,449                   $903,544                   $837,975                    $2,011,140

Expenses                $169,139                 $759,405                  $837,975                    $2,011,140

Net Total             $73,310                   $144,139                       -0-                                  -0-

 

Staff Update

As we press on in our staff ministry, we want to make you aware of an adjustment in responsibilities. On July 1, Tom Mitchell’s job title will change from “Director of Missions and Outreach” to “Director of Discipleship and Missions.” Tom will transition from part-time to full-time and will begin leading our adult education ministry while continuing to head up our mission efforts. Also, on July 1, Rev. Kathi Traficanti’s job title will change from “Minister of Adult Education” to “Minister of Senior Adults.” Kathi will continue in a part-time capacity leading our ministry to seniors and the Emerge Women’s Ministry. We thank God for Kathi and Tom and the many gifts they bring to our staff.

 

Closing Prayer

As we continue to press on in faith, individually and collectively, here is an apt prayer: “For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall never be shaken…Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us” (Psalm 62:1-2, 8). Indeed, as we press on in the strength of God, we will never be shaken!

 

In Christ,

 

Pastor Noel Schoonmaker and The Ministerial Staff

Update June 24, 2020

Dear Church Family,

 

I hope you will join me this evening at 6:00 p.m. for a conversation about race with my friend and colleague Reverend Amos Disasa, Senior Pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Dallas, TX. This will be a live Zoom conversation that will not be recorded. Everyone is welcome to participate at 6:00 p.m. by clicking here.

 

If you missed the first lesson on “Gospel and Race,” you can find it here.

 

For last Sunday’s Well service, click here.

 

For last Sunday’s Sanctuary service, click here.

 

For last Sunday’s sermon on “Listening to God,” click here.

 

I plan to send a more elaborate update next week. For now, “my love be with all of you in Christ Jesus” (1 Cor 16:24).

 

Peace,

 

Pastor Noel Schoonmaker

Update June 17, 2020

Dear Church Family,

I hope this message finds you well. Here are a few ways you can continue connecting with God and church in the days ahead.

Worship

Last Sunday’s Well service is available here.

Last Sunday’s Sanctuary service is available here.

Last Sunday’s sermon, “The Model Prayer,” is available here.

Last Sunday’s episode of “Breaking It Down with Pastor Noel” is available here.

Mission

“If you’re at the store, buy one more.” We invite you to buy an extra bag of groceries at the store and drop it off outside the main church entrance on weekdays between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. to support our Loaves and Fishes food distribution ministry.

Bible Study

Beginning today, I will offer a Wednesday evening study entitled “Gospel and Race: An Introductory Course.” This course will cover topics such as race, racism, justice, and reconciliation, as well as biblical passages pertaining to race. It will also include conversations about race between me and other pastors. Here’s a schedule of the first five sessions.

June 17: I will offer the first lesson via a pre-recorded video that will debut at 6:00 p.m. on our church Facebook page and will be available for viewing any time thereafter.

June 24: I will discuss race with Rev. Amos Disasa, Senior Pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Dallas, TX. This will be a live Zoom conversation at 6:00 p.m. that will not be recorded. An invitation will be sent to everyone so that you can join the meeting, listen in, and pose questions through the “Chat” feature.

July 1: I will offer the second lesson via a pre-recorded video that will debut at 6:00 p.m. and will be available for viewing any time thereafter.

July 8: I will discuss race with Rev. James M. McCarroll, Jr., Pastor of First Baptist Church, Murfreesboro, TN. This will be a live Zoom conversation at 6:00 p.m. that will not be recorded. An invitation will be sent to everyone so that you can join the meeting, listen in, and pose questions through the “Chat” feature. Some of you may remember Pastor McCarroll because he preached my installation service last fall here at Second Baptist.

July 15: I will offer the third lesson via a pre-recorded video that will debut at 6:00 p.m. and will be available for viewing any time thereafter.

I hope you will participate in this important study, and I hope we will all continue to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Noel Schoonmaker

 

Update June 10, 2020

Dear Church Family,

 

I hope you will read this month’s edition of The Ideal which will be sent out tomorrow. It includes great stories and info about our ministries and outreach at Second Baptist Church.

 

Here are a few links to help you stay connected to God and church this week.

 

You can view last Sunday’s Well service here and last Sunday’s Sanctuary service here.

 

You can listen to last Sunday’s sermon, “The Spirit-Driven Mission of Christ,” here.

 

You can check out last Sunday’s episode of “Breaking It Down with Pastor Noel” here.

 

You can check out today’s Wednesday Night Bible Study on Philippians 4:8-13 here.

 

The prophet Isaiah declares that “those who hope in the Lord shall renew their strength.” I pray that we would find our strength renewed as we continue to hope in the resurrected Christ.

 

Grace and Peace,

 

Pastor Noel Schoonmaker

Update June 2, 2020

Dear Church Family,

Amid the tumult of these troubling times, I want to remind you that God is with us, Jesus is Lord, and the Spirit is our Helper. We continue to love God and neighbor. We continue to worship in Spirit and in truth. We continue to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God.

Worship

If you missed last Sunday’s services, you can view the Well here and the Sanctuary service here. You can find last Sunday’s sermon, “The Spirit of Pentecost,” here.

Bible Study

You can check out today’s Wednesday Night Bible Study on Philippians 4:5-7 here.

Mission

You can view a video about the “Loaves and Fishes Food Challenge” here and help us collect 200 bags of groceries for our busy food distribution ministry by Wednesday, June 10. For the full grocery list, please click here.

Survey

If you have not yet filled out the congregational survey on re-gathering, I encourage you to do so here. Please complete one survey per household. Your input will help us as we make decisions moving forward.

Prayer

Since God is a God of justice (Isaiah 30:18), a God of peace (Romans 15:33), and a God of healing (Exodus 15:26), I invite you to join me in praying for justice, peace, and healing in our nation, in our community, and in our hearts.

The Lord be with you.

In Christ,

Pastor Noel Schoonmaker

Update May 27, 2020 – We Never Stopped

 

Dear Church Family,

We never stopped. I hope this will be our testimony in years to come: when the pandemic struck, Second Baptist Church never stopped. We have taken safety precautions. We have changed the way we do church. We have loved our neighbors by practicing social distancing and suspending in-person gatherings for a time to limit the spread of the virus. But our church has never stopped. As you read the updates below pertaining to various areas of church life, I think you’ll see what I mean.

Worship

We never stopped worshipping. From the first Sunday we went into quarantine on March 15, we have worshipped as a church through online video services. Nelson Taylor and Hilliary Larsen have planned meaningful services and the online participation has been tremendous. Our views have averaged 1,050 per Sunday, and that’s just our English-speaking services. Our language ministries have continued to worship online as well. Please share the links to our worship services with friends, family members, and neighbors to enhance our outreach during quarantine. Video archives of past services are available on our church Youtube page. You can find last Sunday’s Well Service here, last Sunday’s Sanctuary Service here, and last Sunday’s sermon here.

Bible Study

We never stopped studying the Bible. We have continued to hold Sunday School online, Bible Studies online, and many have utilized the 5-day devotionals that Dayna Schoonmaker has written and published each week since quarantine began. My Wednesday Night Bible Study is available by video each week on our church Facebook page. You can view today’s Wednesday Night Bible Study on Philippians 4:2-4 here. The Women’s Fruit of the Spirit Bible Study continues this Thursday night at 8:00 p.m. here. We also recently launched a new program called “Breaking It Down with Pastor Noel,” a weekly video zoom conversation in which Tom Mitchell and I discuss the Sunday sermon, the sermon text, and what it means to be a Christian today. You can view the most recent episode here.

Missions

We never stopped doing mission work. We have continued serving the local community in a time of crisis. We have helped numerous individuals and families in need of shelter, food, and other resources. Tom Mitchell has led a team that has been distributing food bags to approximately 90 people each Friday through our drive-thru Loaves and Fishes Ministry. We have provided snacks and cards of encouragement for local “front-liners” including first responders, medical personnel, and professionals working at assisted living centers. Our members have been volunteering and serving in different capacities throughout metro Richmond, answering Jesus’ call to be “salt and light.” For more information on our church’s ongoing mission work and how you can be involved, click here.

Finances

We never stopped giving. The members of Second Baptist Church have proven faithful and generous despite the pandemic and the economic crisis it has caused. Thanks be to God for your continued financial support of the church’s ministries and missions! Here is the financial summary as of April 30, 2020.

MTD Actual            YTD Actual             YTD Budget                 Annual Budget

Revenues                 $161,824                   $661,094                   $670,380                    $2,011,140

Expenses                 $134,988                   $590,266                     $670,380                  $2,011,140

Net Total                   $26,836                    $70,828                         -0-                                  -0-

 

Children

We never stopped our children’s ministry. Each week, parents are offered ideas for spiritual practices at home and children have online “Wee Praise” on Wednesday, “Cooking with Adam” on Friday via Facebook live, and online Sunday School on Sunday. Zoom activities offered have included Coloring with Katie, Game Time, Scavenger Hunt, Storytime, and Show and Tell. There is also a virtual version of Katie’s Lunch Tour in which children sign up to have lunch with Katie Vance Lucas via Zoom. Every three weeks, a mass mailing goes out to children and families with ministry resources. Easter seeds were the last mailing and prayer journals will be next. Katie is working to send an individual note to each child and has been trying to connect with each child having a birthday during this time. Since traditional VBS and camps have had to be canceled this summer, Katie is working on virtual summer offerings including an online Advocacy Camp that will be offered in July focusing each day on a different way to advocate for and love God’s creation and vulnerable people.

Students

We never stopped our student ministry. Each week, our students have “Virtual Sunday School” through Zoom and share a time of prayer, Bible study, and fellowship. While students cannot meet in person, Ben Brown has encouraged them to write letters to one another and to other church members, and he has been sending handwritten letters to each student. Soon, students will be reading the book Liturgy of the Ordinary by Tish Harrison Warren and discussing its themes in an online book club through Zoom. The prior work of students continues to bless our community as Grace Garden yields lettuce, broccoli, and carrots which go to recipients of the Loaves and Fishes food distribution ministry. Upcoming events for students will include game nights, hangouts, and crafting nights. There will be a special video honoring our awesome Class of 2020 graduates in both livestream services this Sunday. While Passport and Impact Virginia are canceled for this summer, there will still be a missions focus for students during summer months.

Senior Adults

We never stopped our senior adult ministry. Kathi Traficanti continues to expand contact with our seniors through calls, cards, and sending Sunday School curricula and devotionals. Our congregation has been encouraged to send well wishes and thoughts to our senior adults by making cards through the Heartfulness Studio creativity bags, which are available outside the front entrance of the church to those who would like to participate. Similarly, those who would like to knit prayer squares for our senior adults can pick up a kit created by our Prayer Shawl Ministry and return finished squares to the bin at the front of the church to be delivered or mailed out. Care packages of notes, prayer squares, and homemade cookies have been sent to our nursing home residents. Recently, a program called “Souper Thankful Thursday” has been initiated, in which quarts of homemade soup are dropped off for our senior adults living at home. This ministry has been a big hit! As we move into the summer months, we will continue ministering to our seniors.

CLC

We never stopped caring for our CLC (Creative Learning Center) students or their families. Ever since the CLC closed due to the pandemic on March 16, it has continued supporting its employees and reaching out to the families involved. CLC families were invited to our church’s 200th Birthday Parade and some participated. One car displayed a sign saying, “We Love CLC.” The CLC currently plans to re-open for its summer program from July 6 through August 21. CLC leaders have been diligently studying and preparing the safest health measures and best practices to ensure the best possible experience for children. The CLC will re-open at a limited capacity of 64 students for full-day care Monday through Friday. The students who will be attending represent families of church members, essential workers, and other working parents in need of childcare. As Virginia begins to re-open, people need childcare so they can work, which is why childcare is considered an “essential business.” We are thankful for the opportunity to re-open this ministry to continue providing the essential service of childcare in Christ’s name.

Final Word

We never stopped. That is the testimony I hope we will have two or three years down the road. Since we haven’t stopped yet, all that remains is to keep going. As we continue to navigate these strange and unsettling times, “let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2). When faced with adversity, suffering, and even death, Christ never stopped. The body of Christ is called to do likewise.

Grace and Peace,
Pastor Noel Schoonmaker