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BGAV Blog

Peace, Be Still

Just as the disciples were asked about their faith, this storm is our opportunity as church pastors, lay leaders, and others who pour so much into the life of the church to re-find our faith. To be replenished whether it be by finally reading that book or tuning into a worship service from a beloved church or just to be still with God. In this time of stillness--this commanded peace--we have the time space to find God, to find Christ, standing there in the boat with us.

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Considerations Before Deciding to Re-gather in Person Amidst COVID-19 

As churches are seeking to make safe, wise decisions about when and how to re-gather in person, BGAV has received a lot of questions. We are sharing with our pastors and church leaders some basic information and things to consider as each church weighs its options.  The Governor of Virginia has said we will likely move into Phase One on Friday, May 15, and he stated on Friday, May 8, that faith communities could meet inside at 50% capacity only if they are able to do so in a way that follows the Phase One mandatory requirements specified on their website. Strict social distancing limitations are still in place, for example, as are requirements regarding signage and facility/surface cleaning and disinfection. A list of best practices is also available on that same web page (click to read article and access source links).

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What Do I Need? What Can I Share?

In some strange way every day is different, while every day is the same. One day at a time we are navigating our way forward in this isolated lifestyle. We are creating regular routines in the same surroundings, carrying the same concerns from day to day. However, things vary within us throughout the day. We have peaceful moments followed by anxiety and worry; gratitude precedes times gripped by fear or sadness. A positive spirit that is hopeful and upbeat can turn on a dime to thoughts of uncertainty and inadequacy in a clouded soul. The same place and circumstances are filled with different responses.

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Crisis Care: Traumatic Stress

I work with the Disaster Response Crisis Care Team and it’s crazy to me to look out my home office window and see every house intact, no storm debris piled up by the road, no volunteers in yellow shirts cleaning and repairing storm damage, and yet to recognize that most of us are in some ways experiencing COVID-19 in many of the same (though perhaps more subtle) ways that survivors of hurricanes or tornadoes experience a natural disaster. I last wrote about how many of us are experiencing loss and grief. Many of us are also experiencing traumatic stress, which involves a sense that our physical and/or emotional well being are threatened. Traumatic stress can be triggered by a one-time event like a tornado or by long-lasting exposure to traumatic events: in this case, the ongoing threat of illness whenever you leave the house, the threat or reality of lost income, and the threat to emotional well being as routine is disrupted with no clear expectation for when we will move beyond this. The truth is, as a nation, our lives have all been impacted by this in many ways that we will be discovering in the coming months and years. So even if life is OK for you personally in this time, we all are collectively experiencing a traumatic event. 

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Testimony from Kairos Intern, Austin Williams

My journey with the Kairos Initiative began a few years ago as an undergrad student at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). I was a freshman who was struggling to find his place in college. I was struggling with transition and was distant from God. Thankfully, I ended up finding the Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM) at VCU. This was the beginning of my journey to discover who God has created me to be--and the beginning of me learning to live in relationship with God.

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The Spirit Moves During COVID-19

In this Easter season on the way to Pentecost, the Holy Spirit is on my mind as we consider resurrection energy and what that means for the creation and continuation of God’s church. In resurrection, Jesus shows the disciples what it means to be a new creation animated or raised up by the Spirit. Raised up by the Spirit, Jesus met his disciples and breathed the Spirit into them. They were given new energy, new life, for continuing Jesus’ message of generous love. Remember, Peter preached and 3,000 were added on Pentecost (Acts 2)! That’s some energy that moved among them! I think that energy is moving in my church now and could be moving in yours, too. We are more together now than we’ve been in years. Our ministries to one another and to our community are strong. We are praying and sharing and serving together as we are able. The Spirit is alive in us, and we are together in Jesus’ mission of sharing God’s generous love.

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Is Farming Risky?

Have you ever tried to grow a garden? Easy, right? Plant some seeds in the ground, water daily, then enjoy ripe tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, cucumbers or squash. But we rarely factor in the risk of possible losses. Even a simple thing like raising a garden involves risk.

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Going Fishing

Sometimes you just have to go fishing. No, that wasn’t meant to be a deep theological thought. To be honest, I have been wanting to go fishing lately. Anyone who knows me knows I like to fish. I can identify with Peter when he said, “I’m going fishing.” Their whole world had been turned upside down. So what do you do when it feels like your whole world has changed? Some of us just want to do something that feels normal—like fishing.

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#Feeding the Hungry Challenge

For three weeks now, I have pondered what I can do beyond helping my pastors and churches through phone calls, email, and social media to keep them connected to ways we can serve each other and the community. I would love to be out sharing food with the Red Truck Ministry in Lynchburg four days a week or in Prospect one day a week. Due to health concerns during this pandemic for my wife and me, I cannot.

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The Church is Open!

Some say that in March 2020, the tiny, unseen coronavirus forced the closing of churches in Virginia. The doors to church buildings were shut and locked, and pastors and lay leaders scrambled to find ways to have church through various forms of technology. Well, the doors to the building may have been shut, but the church is definitely still open. The opportunities to be the Church have increased, not through technology, but by being the hands and feet of Christ.

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Touring “Church Unusual”

Remember those times when you have been touring a place? Maybe it was a historic home, a battleground, a production plant, or any number of places. What two things did your tour guide possess? Yes! Knowledge and enthusiasm. Every tour guide that I have heard knew lots about the place, and seemed excited to share their knowledge.

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Life’s Secret Ingredient

The Bible is full of secrets which are given, or revealed, in almost every verse. But they are in plain sight, just waiting for us to discover them and put them to use in our lives. Most of the truths disclosed in the Bible show us the secret to a better life, or indeed, the “secret” ingredients of life at its best.  

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Consulting the Past, Envisioning a Future…

Seeking precedents for hope, many of us find ourselves searching the historical record for anything analogous to what we are now experiencing with the coronavirus. The list of pandemics is long and has been eloquently reviewed elsewhere. My own grandmother has been on my mind; after being stricken with polio, she convalesced for much of her childhood, coping bravely with its effects for the rest of her life.

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Staying the Course

We are in a difficult time where our normal routines have been changed, and our days have become a new normal. For many like me who have a busy lifestyle with work, meetings, and enjoying social gatherings with friends and family, this slowing of our normal pace of life has been an adjustment. We are all wondering, When is this going to end, and when are we going to be able to go back to our normal routines?

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Tabernacle with God

In 1 Samuel 4, nothing could have prepared Israel for the external threat of the Philistines. In this case, they were caught off guard and not ready for battle; thus they were defeated by the Philistines. During this threat Israel rightfully so was concerned about the ark of God. The ark was a most appropriate object for nomadic people. It could be moved—signifying the presence of God with them wherever they were at any given time. The crisis in this text is that the ark of God was captured by the Philistines. This was scary for Israel, so upon defeat the order went out to run everyone to their own tent.

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