As we enter into the new year, we have three exciting events in January that align with our vision of Knowing, Growing, and Going in the Love of Christ.
Curtis Salyer House Party – Wednesday, January 3rd, 6-7:30 p.m. Join us for a special evening of food, fellowship, and fun, inspired by the wisdom of Curtis Salyer. Curtis Salyer, one of the “Saints of Bethel,” was called home to heaven last year. Before he passed he told me that Bethel needs to have some, “Good, old fashioned, house parties.” I asked him what that meant by “House Parties” and he said that we need to get together frequently with no agenda other than getting to know each other better. As Curtis spent his last few months at home he was blessed by many visitors from our church and he got to know these folks on a deep, personal level. He told me, “I’ve been at Bethel for ten years and I feel like I’ve wasted eight of them by not getting to know folks.” His desire is that we would have genuine connections within our church family. Let’s honor Curtis’s legacy by fostering a warm and welcoming community. Together, we can continue to build a community where everyone feels known, valued, and connected. We hope you’ll make a special effort to attend. If you can attend, please sign up on the signup sheet in the Hope Center or call the church office at 804-794-8590.
Men’s Sunday – January 21st, 8:45 a.m. Men’s Sunday will kick off with our Men’s Brotherhood cooking and serving a delicious breakfast. During our worship service Randy Myers, the Executive Director of GraceInside Prison Ministry, will deliver the message which I believe will give us an inspiring example of what it means to “Go in the Love of Christ.” Randy was born into a “prison family.” His parents both worked at the Virginia Correctional Center for Women in Goochland, VA. They rented half of a small farmhouse which was located on prison property. Randy lived the Randy Myers first year of his life on the grounds of the state women’s prison! Randy grew up attending Fine Creek Baptist Church where my grandfather, Graham Lester, Jr was the minister. Randy later pursued a career in ministry and holds a B.A. in Religious Studies from VCU and a Masters in Divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Randy’s journey led him to become the Executive Director of GraceInside. GraceInside was formed in 1920. The ministry began with one chaplain in the old Virginia State Penitentiary in Richmond and that one chaplain served just over 1,000 inmates. Today, GraceInside has 33 chaplains who serve 24,000 incarcerated men and women across all 42 state correctional facilities. During our worship service Randy will share several inspiring “God Stories,” of how the Lord has worked through GraceInside ministry. Please join us for Men’s Sunday.
Save the Date! Community Lunch and Learn – Thursday, January 25th, 12-1:30 p.m. It is always important to take care of our mental health, and one way to do that is by learning how to handle stress. Our first “Community Lunch and Learn” event will be held at Bethel, where Dr. Dan Bagby will share his expertise on the subject of “How to Handle Stress Redemptively.” Dr. Bagby was the professor of Pastoral Care at Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond and is uniquely equipped to teach on this topic. The event promises to be an enlightening experience for all participants. Further details about the event will be shared in the coming weeks, but for now, be sure to mark your calendars for January 25th. It’s a great opportunity to learn how to manage stress in a positive way and improve your mental health.
Finally, I wish each of you a very happy, healthy, prosperous, and blessed New Year. I pray that our Lord, Savior, and King, Jesus, will lead every step we take and every thought we think in the coming year. May we each experience the love of God and may many people be blessed through us as we live into our vision of Knowing, Growing and Going in the Love of Christ. May God bless you and may God bless Bethel Baptist Church.