I’ve been thinking in these weird days about community in the Bible Church. Almost two years ago when Ryan McKee asked me to write about hospitality and to find ways to connect us as a church body, I could never have envisioned this strange time. Here at our home, in these days, our practice of hospitality has not shrunk. It has expanded.
Chapel Hill Bible Church is known to be an inter-generational congregation. There are intentional relationships between families and college students. Life groups provide opportunities for families of different aged children or families without young children to spend time together. Another way that our congregation can expand our inter-generational relationships is for older members to spend time with young children.
A former Chapel Hill Bible Church mission partner living in another state befriended a mom with a child the same age of one of her own at a play activity. They exchanged contact information and became friends. Soon Annie, our former member, learned that her friend was not a believer and had never known anything about the Bible except that her grandmother had given her one when she was a child.
What is it to be human? Before we excuse ourselves as being ‘only human’, let’s listen to what God has to say about our humanness in Hebrews 2…
Last week Dwight ran across a quote from a missionary family from Dr. Francis Schaeffer, “You can change the world from around your kitchen table.” This family had hosted 73 people during the month of June in their home and in their guesthouses. That prompted us, as we approached the celebration of the freedom of our country, to consider conversation around our outdoor table as a means of examining the roots of our country’s founding with other people.
This current moment, perhaps, offers some parallels to the book of Exodus for us to consider. We are regularly faced with the injustices of racism and violence towards African Americans in this country, rolling into mainstream media like the plagues that hit Egypt, one after the other.
Friends, as the Community Pastor, I feel compelled to write in response to the murder of Ahmaud Arbery. This is a post of lament first, reflection second. This is not intended to be a critique of White people or the White Church, although because I am white my experience will inevitably feel this way. My intention is only to represent my own thoughts and feelings.
Among the updates and stories was one in particular that stood out to me. Joo and Ashley Lee shared how they had invited a Japanese family to join them for the International Harvest Celebration the previous night. Ashley has been ministering to her friend for several months now, having developed a friendship through their young daughters.
Why has the Church not taken the gospel to the ends of the earth? Why are there places in the world where there is no church and no gospel witness? It has been almost 2,000 years, after all.
As we gather in the coming months, much of what we will do to celebrate will take place around the dinner table, amply supplied with an array of delicious holiday favorites. We will fill our plates with roasted turkey and casserole, buttered bread and yams, stuffing and mashed potatoes, and top it all off with more pie than we have eaten in all the preceding months of the year combined. So, the question naturally arises, IS THIS TOO MUCH?
If we are to reach across the racial divide to bring healing and reconciliation, we must be open and vulnerable; ready to accept the wounds of friends. Unfortunately, not every wound I have received has felt like the wound of a friend.
At this point, I think it’s fair to assume that having made it this far, we’re all on the same page: racial unity and activism should be important to the Church. This means that we need to do something, and like anything else that we do, the moments leading up to the action are the most anxiety-provoking — but after all, “love does” (thanks, Bob Goff).
I don’t frequent Greensboro regularly, but I’m often there with Cru, and – back in the day – for soccer matches, robotics tournaments, and the like. Greensboro is the site of the famous Woolsworth lunch counter “sit in,” where African Americans from NC A&T refused to leave after being denied service in 1960. This was a huge moment in the civil rights struggle of the ‘60s and ‘70s. But I could go in and out of Greensboro, and never give it a thought.
In the past months, the unjust killing of innocent black men and women has laid heavily on our hearts – yours, ours, our African-American brothers and sisters, the Lord’s. There has been a smearing of God’s image through these deaths; not to mention the generations of systemic racism, socioeconomic and health disparities, and segregation both in implicit and explicit action.
Perspectives is wrapping up for the semester and what a journey the course has been for our students and instructors! We began the course way back in January—40 students gathering for dinner and teaching each Monday—learning about the biblical basis and strategy for missions. It has been such a blessing in our church to see a movement towards missions and how CHBC specifically can respond to the Great Commission.
Given this this week’s report from the NC Governor that there is a confirmed case of coronavirus in Wake County, we want to let you know the preventative measures CHBC is taking to reduce the spread of the virus. We are monitoring the situation, and we are consulting with other churches and organizations to follow best practices in taking precaution.
The best Boards all come together with a united purpose to move the action steps along. Our goal of promoting the mission of the church through the work of service is best accomplished when we all discuss with vigor and then fully support the resulting decision.
On Sunday afternoon, 145 members of CHBC gathered to celebrate what God has done in our church over the past year, and to lay the groundwork for our upcoming season.
Some of you know that I love my work with the finances of our church. I love numbers and spreadsheets generally, and I love seeing how our ministries thrive when resources are available. The tool that we use to guide our spending is our operating budget.
Each year, CHBC holds an Annual Business Meeting. This meeting is required by our Bylaws, and is a great opportunity for members to participate in some vital decisions for our church. As well, non-members are welcome and encouraged to attend to learn more about some of the behind-the-scenes things that underlie our life together.
The carpet has been rolled up. The streamers torn down. All the confetti is still floating around somewhere. Night to Shine is over. Looking back it’s always amazing to see how quickly the actual event speeds by once that first guest hits the red carpet. One minute our guests are being cheered down the red carpet and the next they are leaving the church through a dome of sparklers.
As we kickoff our year of celebration for 50 years of ministry, a common story we often hear is the mutual connection parents have with their college-aged children attending UNC and discovering a thriving Christian community at the Bible Church. Here’s Nicole Wesche and her father, Ken, sharing their bond with CHBC.
This story of one-on-one discipleship is truly powerful by these three college students, but rarely duplicated in our day. Sometimes, it’s as simple as a question to a friend of “How can I pray for you?” or asking someone to read the Bible every week and talk about it. Listen to how the Spirit of God worked through these friends to discover salvation through Jesus and ultimately change their life trajectories forever.
For this, the final post from this blog, the “we” is going to change to “I” – this last post is not written by the “building committee,” but from my own viewpoint, myself – Emily Williams. I’m doing this in order to express some personal observations and thoughts, and recognize some people from the project who have meant something to me, personally, as we have worked together. I hope you will stay in your seat all the way to the end of the credits for this movie!
A copy of Dwight Thomas’ ribbon cutting speech given on Sunday, December 16, 2018 at the Building Dedication Ceremony.
It is just amazing to see all that has been happening this past week. The chapel ceiling and flooring and trim, the ceiling tiles in the chapel lobby and connector, flooring downstairs, classroom carpeting, a second (final) coat of paint in many areas … the place is being transformed. Many little things are being done, too, such as putting the faceplates on the light switches and outlets.