The Witness
Volume 39, Issue 35
September 1, 2021
"A Purple Church"
As many of you know, I spent last week on campus at Duke University for my first intensive week as a doctoral student. Each semester I will spend one week on campus for in-person learning, and the rest of the semester will be completed virtually. My cohort consists of 30 students from all over the US—New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Ohio, Oregon, Connecticut, California, Missouri, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia. Our group is not only geographically diverse, but we represent a wide variety of denominations within the Church as well. Though the week consisted of many long days of lectures, reading and writing assignments, it was a wonderful week of learning and building relationships with new peers.

As I worked throughout the week with this group of clergy from all different races, backgrounds, denominations, and geographical locations, I was struck by just how different we all were. Theologically, there were many topics on which we disagreed. Politically, the opinions were vast. Ecclesiologically, our worship traditions and church structures are very different. And yet the unity we found in Christ and our shared call to serve his Church provided a sacred space for open conversations, honest disagreements, new insights and understanding, new friendships and beloved community.

As we discussed the unity we found with one another amidst our diversity, one pastor shared that her church has chosen to identify themselves as a “Purple Church.” Considering this was a term that most of us had not heard, she said: “Our church is made up of many who identify as red and many who identify as blue. We are very diverse politically, socially, and theologically. There is so much happening in our world on which many of us disagree. Our goal as a church is not to agree; but instead, to demonstrate for the world a better way to disagree.” For this pastor, the color purple represents the coming together of two polarized groups—the red and the blue—to bring about the Kingdom of God through their unity in Christ.

When Paul was imprisoned, he wrote what many scholars today refer to as the “Captivity Letters”—Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. As the Colossians faced many disagreements in their church and community, Paul wrote: "12 As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. 13 Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony (Colossians 3:12-14).”

Paul did not need the early church in Colossae to agree; that was not his mission. In order to follow Christ’s Great Commission and make disciples of all nations, he needed them to show the world a better way to disagree. He needed the tie that binds—their unity in Christ—to be stronger than the many subjects that so easily divided them. According to Paul, the best method to achieve that goal was by “clothing themselves” with a set of certain behaviors. The Greek word for clothe literally means “to sink into.” When we sink into something, we become submerged under it, immersed within it, and engulfed by it. When we sink into something, we disappear into that substance that surrounds us. In order to achieve unity in Christ, Paul exhorted the Colossians to sink into, and be totally engulfed by, the likeness of Christ. This required these early Christians to clothe themselves with compassion and kindness, humility and patience, forgiveness and love.

Like early Christians, we too are living in a divided world. Our nation is as polarized as it has ever been. Are you red or blue? Are you vaccinated or un-vaccinated? Are you in-person or virtual? What is your opinion about this matter, or stance on this issue? As a society, we too are surrounded by contention and conflict. As a result, emotions run high, opinions run deep, and divisions run far and wide. As a church, how will we respond? Will we follow the example of the world, or be the example for the world? Maybe one of the things our world needs most is not for Christians to agree, but rather to demonstrate a better way to disagree. Maybe what the mission of Christ needs most is not a red church or blue church, but a purple church; a sacred space of diverse perspectives and viewpoints that welcomes all to speak, listen, agree, disagree, and share; a loving community that ensures the tie that binds—unity in Christ—is stronger than that which seeks to divide. If this can be accomplished by a group of Christian pastors who met for a week in Durham, NC, it can most certainly be achieved by Christians who gather in Vinton, VA.

Would you join me?
-- Travis
Worship this Sunday, September 5th
Travis' sermon this week is "An Uncomfortable Question," and the scripture reference is Acts 8:26-38. Morning worship is at 8:45 and 11:00 AM, with virtual options. If you choose to worship virtually, you may access our livestream through our website or FB live. Sunday School is at 9:50 AM, and we have classes for everyone.
Music Ministry Details:
September 8th: "Steelin' Away" Youth Steel Drum Band rehearsals will begin (4:30 - 5:15 PM); Children's Choirs will also begin (6:15 PM). NOTE: Please call Chris Monroe ASAP if you want to play with the Youth Steel Drum Band!

September 19th: Handbell rehearsals and Youth Choir will begin (both at 5:00 PM); "Pandemonium" Adult Steel Drum Band rehearsals will also begin (6:00 - 6:45 PM).

See Chris Monroe with any questions or for more details.
Happy Hearts
Would you like to make a fall pumpkin decoration? Join the Happy Hearts for a "Make & Take" craft session at 1:30 PM on September 14th in the Small Dining Room. If you have a favorite old long sleeve shirt (perhaps a men's shirt), you can bring that to make the pumpkin. If not, no worries. Fall fabric will be available for you to select from. All supplies will be provided at no cost. A sample completed pumpkin can be viewed on the counter in the church office. Join us for an afternoon of fun and crafting. Bring a friend!
Bible in a Year Reading
Read this week:
The Old Testament: 1 Samuel 21-28
The New Testament: 1 Corinthians 3-9
Old Testament Prophecy: Ezekiel 1-7
Psalms: Psalms 37-45

1 I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
    out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
    and gave me a firm place to stand. -Psalm 40:1-2

Prayer: “In the leaving, in the letting go, let there be this to hold onto at the last: the enduring of love, the persisting of hope, the remembering of joy, the offering of gratitude, the receiving of grace, the blessing of peace.” -Jan Richardson, Circle of Grace
Wednesday Night
Dinners & Activities
Wednesday Night Dinners are scheduled to resume next week, September 8th, at 5:30 PM in the gym. Next Wednesday's menu is as follows: Chicken Fingers, Baked Potato with butter, Side Salad, & Dessert. Costs are $6/adult, $5/child (ages 4-12), and children under 4 are free. The max per household is $18. First-time guests are free.

A couple of notes as we resume Wednesday Night Dinners:
  1. The deadline to sign up for dinners is 5 PM the day prior (in this case, September 7th). We MUST have an accurate count by 5 PM each Tuesday; we will not accept late registrations. (If we accept one late registration, then we must accept all, which only causes confusion, delay, and increased costs for having to guesstimate how many late registrations we may have.)
  2. Sign up by calling the church office at 540-343-7685. Once Realm launches later this week, you will also have the option of registering through Realm.
  3. The "permanent list" from pre-COVID dinners no longer exists. If you want to be on the "permanent list" (meaning that you plan to attend EVERY Wednesday Night Dinner and that you will contact us by 5 PM Tuesday if you DON"T plan to attend a particular dinner), please let us know when you call the church office.
  4. There will no longer be substitutions to the advertised menu; chicken will no longer be an option for every meal.
  5. Ice tea, lemonade, and water will be offered; coffee will no longer be offered.
Our Wednesday Night meals are intended for fellowship and building community. We are simplifying the meal process so that we can focus on our goals. We hope that you will join us.

On September 8th, we plan to have a Ministry Matters meeting (in lieu of Adult Bible Study) at 6:15 PM; and Thrive Youth Ministry and Children's Choirs will also begin. Adult Bible Study will resume the following Wednesday, September 15th.
Ministry Matters
Plan to join us at 6:15 PM Wednesday, September 8th for our next Ministry Matters meeting. We will be discussing and/or voting on the 2021-22 Proposed Budget, as well as proposed changes to the Policies & Procedures Manual, the Bylaws, and the Employee Handbook. Please click on each of the above for the proposed updates.
Wednesday Women
Our 7-session fall Bible study on Elijah (by Priscilla Shirer) begins September 8th in the Disciple Center. Plan to join us 10:00 - 11:30 AM each Wednesday, September 8th - October 20th. The participant's study guide is $16.99/each. You can sign up by calling the church office at 540-343-7685. Questions? Contact Susan Jones at 540-890-4887.
"Welcome Back, Church"
Sunday, September 12th, 5:00 - 7:30 PM
at Herman L. Horn pavilion/playground
(rain location is VBC gym).

Bring your own lawn chairs and dinner. Lemonade and water will be provided. We will have games, energizers, and free Blue Cow ice cream! Plan to join us!
Thrive Student Ministry
Join us for our Extreme Kick-Off on Sunday, September 19th at 6:00pm following youth choir. Parents and students, join us for a pizza dinner, an overview for the year, and some games as well!

Our Thrive Student ministry is back to a regular, weekly, evening schedule of gatherings and opportunities:

Sunday Schedule (beginning Sunday, September 19th):
4:00pm- Praise Band
5:00pm- Youth Choir
6:00pm- Snack Supper
6:30pm- Extreme

Wednesday Schedule (beginning Wednesday, September 8th):
4:30pm- Steel Drums (contact Chris Monroe ASAP if you plan to play)
5:30pm- Family Dinner
6:15pm- Wednesday Night Bible Study with Mark Sink

Students, please join the Group Me "VBC Thrive" for updates. Parents will be able to sign up soon for a chat group on the new app.
JOY Seniors Events
You won't want to miss the September JOY Seniors Luncheon on the 28th! We will have guest speaker Ann Green, an attorney, to talk about long term care and estate planning. Our boxed lunches will come from Mission BBQ and will include your choice of a pulled pork or pulled chicken sandwich, side, coleslaw, drink, and dessert for $10. Sign up at the new JOY Seniors table beside the Welcome Center by Friday, September 24th.

The JOY Seniors will also be taking a tour of the Water Treatment Plant (9 - 11 AM) and PFG (1 - 3 PM) on September 30th. We will have lunch at Jersey Lily's (11:30 AM - 12:30 PM). Departure from the VBC parking lot will be 8:30 AM. The deadline to sign up for this trip is September 24th. The only cost is your lunch, which you will need to pre-order. Order forms are available at the JOY Seniors table beside the Welcome Center.
Karen Musselwhite Smith
705 Clearview Drive #61B
Vinton VA 24179-3605
August 29, 2021:
8:45 AM
In person - 179
Online - 149
11:00 AM
In person - 114
Online - 136
Sunday School - 210
The Pete Creasy Class and friends of Wayne Sink wish to honor him for 44 years of teaching, including many to Pete Creasy and friends. A generous donation is made to the Food Pantry as Wayne continues a life term in God's service. Peace, rest, and joy to this wonderful servant and facilitator.
Christian sympathy is extended to Connie Ferguson in the death of her son, Jerry Ridenhour, on April 4th; to Brian & Kimberly Settles and family in the death of his step-father, Ken Gray, August 28th; and to Michelle & Steve Dean in the death of her mother, Mary B. Williams, August 31st.
Valley Impact Day 2021
On September 25th, the Roanoke Valley Baptist Association is sponsoring Valley Impact Day. This day will be an opportunity for all RVBA churches to serve together in Jesus’ name. Vinton Baptist Church has partnered with Keystone Community Center as our Valley Impact Day partner through the RVBA.

Pat Carter has projects that can be done ahead of time or in person that Saturday. Needs at Keystone include: 
-crush cans and tabs
-decorate Thanksgiving and Christmas boxes (This can be a project from your home!)
-build and install a simple shelving unit in the storage house for canning jars
-sort through fabric at the center
-clean outdoor story hut and paint
-dig up dirt and replace with gravel
-extend ramp with concrete
-cover for outdoor bench for RADAR riders

Are you interested in leading one of these projects or serving in this way? Contact Whitney for more details or to sign up! Sign ups will be available in the church office or through this link:
Children's Volunteers Needed
The Children's Ministry is in need of Children's Worship volunteers. Thanks to all those who regularly help out! If you're interested in helping, but don't know what is required, please contact Sarah. Otherwise, please sign up here (dates available through September). In addition, the Nominating Committee needs substitutes for children's Sunday School teachers. If you can be available as a substitute teacher, please contact Jennifer Sink or Sarah Hurt. Thanks so much!
5th Quarter
WBHS is planning for a full football season this fall, and we want to be able to provide a safe, fun place for students to go after home games. However, we are delaying the start of 5th Quarter until October, when there are three home games: October 1st, 8th (Homecoming), and 22nd (Senior Night). If you can help, please sign up in the church office. We must have enough volunteer support before we can commit to hosting 5th Quarter for the month of October.
September Book Club
For the month of September, we will be reading The Library Book by Susan Orlean. This book will help you gain new appreciation for librarians and the libraries they serve. The Library Book is a book for book lovers.
On the morning of April 29, 1986, a fire alarm sounded in the Los Angeles Public Library. As the moments passed, the patrons and staff who had been cleared out of the building realized this was not the usual fire alarm. As one fireman recounted, “Once that first stack got going, it was ‘Goodbye, Charlie.’” The fire was disastrous: it reached 2000 degrees and burned for more than seven hours. By the time it was extinguished, it had consumed four hundred thousand books and damaged seven hundred thousand more. Investigators descended on the scene, but more than thirty years later, the mystery remains: Did someone purposefully set fire to the library—and if so, who?

Brimming with her signature wit, insight, compassion, and talent for deep research, The Library Book is Susan Orlean’s thrilling journey through the stacks that reveals how these beloved institutions provide much more than just books—and why they remain an essential part of the heart, mind, and soul of our country. It is also a master journalist’s reminder that, perhaps especially in the digital era, they are more necessary than ever.

If you would like to continue to support Book No Further, our local Roanoke bookstore, you can order here and have your choice shipped to you or picked up in the store. Use the code VBC2020 for 10% off!
Books are also available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble or via Roanoke County Public libraries pick up service or e-catalogue. Barbara Slusher has also ordered a copy for our church library! Happy Reading!
We are so glad to have the new website up and running, along with our new app. If you haven't yet downloaded the app to your mobile device, please take a moment to do so now. Just go to your app store and search for "Vinton Baptist Church VA."

The new app makes giving super easy! Just open the app, scroll down to the "Give" banner, and click it. You will get a message saying that "You are about to leave the app to go to an external donation service." Just click continue, enter your amount, mark the frequency (one-time, weekly, monthly), and click "Next." Then link either a card or a bank account. The app will walk you through each step of the process. If you choose to link a bank account, Subsplash will make two very small deposits into your account within 1-3 business days (it only took 1 day to show up in my account), and you will follow up by using your app to notate those deposit amounts. This process allows Subsplash to confirm your bank account. Once your link is set up, you should not have to enter it again. If you have any problem with this process, feel free to contact us in the church office. This software is new to all of us, but we'll work through any quirks together.

You don't have to access the app to give online. Our new website also utilizes Subsplash Giving, so you're welcome to give through the website with the same process and security. Just click here and then click on "Give" in the main menu.

Please be assured that your information is secure with Subsplash Giving, as the company uses Stripe to process donations. Stripe is a leader in the internet payments industry, providing services to clients such as Amazon, Instacart, Google, and Zoom.

Realm is scheduled to launch later this week. With Realm, you will have access to your own profile in our computer system, as well as church directory info, online sign-ups for various events, access to your year-to-date donations, etc. In anticipation of the Realm roll-out,
  1. please make sure that we have your current email address on file
  2. note that every adult's name, email, phone (home/mobile), address, birthdate (month & day only), list of immediate family members, and groups you're in (like your Sunday School class) will appear in the online directory by default. That directory is only available to church members and regular attendees whom we invite to Realm (just like a printed directory). If you would prefer not to have this info available to our church family, you may make that change in Realm when you are invited to join by email, or you may call the church office and we will be happy to make that change for you.
Blessing Box
The following items are needed for the Blessing Box: Hamburger Helper meals - any kind, large bottles of laundry detergent (available at Dollar Tree), toilet paper, paper towels (we will never have enough), soup - any kind, boxes of mac & cheese, Chef Boyardee cans - any kind, dish soap, Vienna sausages, and Spam. Items can be dropped off at the Missions Tables. Thank you!
Hygiene Kits
If you or your class/circle/group would like to help people impacted by hurricanes Henri or Ida, or Afghan refugees, please click here for an opportunity to show the love of Christ by creating hygiene kits. We will collect completed hygiene kits at the Missions Tables through September 12th, when they will be delivered to Lynn Haven Baptist Church.
My Dear Church Family,
I am overwhelmed by your support for my students and me this school year. Thank you so much for your generous gift. You have given such a wonderful gift of books to my students. I am so very grateful! Love,
Jessie Burgess
Dear Church Family,
Thank you so much for the prayers and calls while Jimmy was in the hospital. Thank you, Travis and Chris, for reaching out to our family. Please continue to pray that they find the reason and answer for the problems he's having, and his strength to return. Thank you, Church Family, for your love and care and for being the touch of God in our lives. We love you, and are so thankful.
Jimmy & Patsy Woolfolk
Special thanks goes to Carolyn Lyon and Barbara Slusher for all their help in the church office over the past week. We don't know what we would do without you!
The Administrative & Ministerial Office Staff