Sunday, December 6, 2015

Your Tears Are Welcome Here

When people cry in Sunday School, worship, my office, or anywhere else I often say "Your tears are welcome here."  Crying is part of life, and we tear up for all sorts of reasons. It is natural the church collects so many.

Today I cried mid-sermon.  I can count on one hand the number of times this has happened.  A year ago I would have been embarrassed by my tears, but not so much any more.  Baptisms, funerals, professions of faith, silent suffering, strife in the world, sickness, prayers, weddings, worries, the return of a prodigal--these moments are the creators of waterworks, happy and sad.

I could feel a lump welling in my throat for a minute or two, but one sentence in particular was the culprit: "Jesus healed the untouchable with a touch."  That Jesus heals with what we simultaneously fear and hope for is grace.

But to be fair I think these tears had been welling all week.

Dedicating a baby to the Lord will do it.

Spending a week with Romans 8 will do it.  

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

Watching a gaggle of children in biblical garb will do it.  

Making Advent wreaths with the church will do it. 

Sharing table fellowship with Buildings and Grounds will do it.  Praying with Karen will do it. Talking to our missionaries in Arizona will do it.  You never know when tears will surprise you.

So whether you are crying tears of celebration, mourning, doubt, gratitude, or conviction this season, know you have a place at Scottsville Baptist. Your tears are welcome here.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

All of My Life I Have Attended Scottsville Baptist

(Note:  A version of this testimony was shared by Pat Pitts at the 175th Anniversary program.)

All of my life I have attended Scottsville Baptist Church.  Church and Scottsville Baptist are synonymous with me.  On Easter Sunday, 1955, along with two friends, one of whom is here today, I walked down the aisle to be received by Pastor John Elliott and officially joined the church and gave my life to Christ.

Pat singing in the children's choir (Pat is in the second row on the far right)

One Sunday morning many years ago we had a confrontational episode in Sunday School.  It was haunting and worrying me greatly until the worship service as I waited in the back to help take up the offering I literally felt God's presence say to me "Don't worry, it's all going to be alright."  Truly a burden was lifted from me...

Pat (in yellow) and his VBS class (2015)

I have seen God at work through our former pastors and I now see and feel God's presence in our pastor and the wonderful things that are happening in our Scottsville Baptist Church.  I feel certain we can have another 175 years of successful and meaningful ministry in our wonderful, little town. 

Pat and his wife Baxter enjoy the choir party.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

"It is a very exciting time to be a member of Scottsville Baptist..."

Matthew and Hallie on Pentecost
After searching for a local church, God led my husband and I to Scottsville Baptist. From our first visit, we felt at home. Scottsville Baptist welcomed us with open arms. A lot has happened for my family since joining almost two years ago. We bought our first home days after our son was born. From the minute we shared we were expecting the entire church has showed us so much love and anticipation for our sweet bundle of joy. Our little Matthew could not have better church grandmas, grandpas, aunts, and uncles! Our church family jumped right in to help us prepare to move; it would have taken me weeks to do all of the cleaning that these ladies and Alex did in just one day. I do think they may have been motivated by hopes of seeing our newborn. :) 

Matthew Jr. and Hallie at our yard sale
It is a very exciting time to be a member of Scottsville Baptist; the church is growing and is busy. Not only have our members been busy using their various gifts to prepare for the celebration today, but they have donated their time and unused items to a yard sale to benefit missions and most recently they have delivered food to a group of teenagers working in the area. From picnics to coffee dates to baby showers, every member has embraced table fellowship which I believe has made Scottsville Baptist a stronger and closer community. 
Hallie organized a kickball game.  It was amazing.
I am so thankful for the friendships I have formed and the relationships that my son will have here.

Scottsville Baptist has been an incredible blessing to me and my family.

(Note:  This is a version of a testimony shared by Hallie Earman at our 175th anniversary.)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Whistling While They Work

This morning I bumped into someone new to our church.  She introduced me to a friend and said, "This is my pastor, Katie" and then "Katie, I was just telling my friend about the church!"  I love when people are excited about church.

When I returned to the church, I was headed for my office but took a detour downstairs.  Two young moms were happily painting cabinets in the nursery.  I walked up the stairwell where bulletin boards had been covered with fresh, flashy fabric.  In the kitchen a daughter and father were unloading zucchinis for our weekly food distribution.  I then peeked inside a Sunday School classroom to see piles of jackets for a coat drive. When I finally made it to my office I was grinning from ear to ear.  It wasn't even noon and my day was made.

Yesterday wasn't too shabby either.  INSPIRATION ALERT:  Our oldest member (95!) insisted on scrubbing floors to help prepare for our 175th anniversary.

(Warning: This picture may make you weep with joy.)

Our church is in a vibrant season of ministry.  I am grateful.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

It's Christmastime. Let's celebrate!

The next two weeks we're celebrating Christmas in July! 
Why?  Because we're Baptists and we can do whatever we want. 
(Just kidding.  I stole this idea from a Methodist!)  In the hustle and bustle of December, we can sometimes miss the meaning of Christmas.  I wanted us to carve time out this summer to focus specifically on God's gift of Jesus.  Make time to read Luke 2:1-20 before Sunday.
Last night I hung the JOY banner in the vestibule. When I planned for us to celebrate Christmas in July a few months ago,  I had no idea what JOY would be in store for this Sunday. 
"B" is the letter of the day!
The BAPTISM of Noelle Stoner.  We rejoice with Noelle and her parents at this decision!
The BUSINESS MEETING of Scottsville Baptist Church.  We will celebrate God's leadership, and how the Spirit is at work among us. 
The 95th BIRTHDAY of Katherine Dansey.  Katherine's family is providing a lasagna for everyone.
And of course BABY JESUS!
I had coffee with one of our new members this week and she remarked "There's a lot of life in the church!"  I agree, and I'm grateful.  God is generous to us.
Since it's the Christmas season, I thought I'd celebrate some of the JOY and glad tidings at Scottsville Baptist this year. 
Open House at the parsonage.  Fun snacks, fun people. 

Susan and Edna at the Ecumenical Picnic

The Community Easter Egg Hunt at Dorrier Park

Bubbles and Dewey cut a rug at the Valentine's Day Party.
Celebrating Pentecost!

The Great Kickball Game of 2015 when I shouted at a real person "You're not going to tag out your pastor, are you?" 
A trip to the Nats game!
Listening to the children's choir from Uganda
Choir Party at Janice's house! 

Koinonia Class celebrates the upcoming arrival of baby Goolsby with a turkey dinner!

The great news is more JOY is on its way. 
Merry Christmas in July!


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Goodwin LifeCare Center

Ed Goodwin is one of the retired pastors in our congregation.  Like me, Ed is a Baylor Bear (sic 'em) and enjoys reading.  He regularly brings me newspaper clippings, and presents them with a smile and joke.  Retired pastors are the best.

For 22 years, Ed worked with The Baptist Home in Missouri as Superintendent, Administrator, and Executive Director.  Here's what Becky Barton had to say about Ed's leadership in the June edition of The Baptist Home newsletter:

"...Ed Goodwin recommended Sherri Snider...Sherri remembers being apprehensive that she would not be accepted for such a role for two reasons...1) she was a young woman, just 32 years old, and 2) she was not a preacher.  However Ed placed every confidence in her, and she was presented to the board as the new administrator of the Arcadia Valley campus."

Can someone pass the Kleenex?

Ed's encouragement made the difference in Sherri's calling.  Here's more good news:  Ed's legacy of "plac[ing] every confidence" in young women continues.  Ed's consistent encouragement of his 34 year old pastor (me!) is a gift.  I am grateful.

The Baptist Home greatly benefitted not only from Ed's leadership, but also that of his late wife, Joy.  Joy led "the innovative implementation of Validation Therapy" at The Baptist Home.  In March, the trustees voted to name the LifeCare Center after Ed and Joy.  Construction has begun! 

Goodwin LifeCare Center on June 15, 2015.  Photo credit:  Tommy Harper.

The chapel.  Photo credit:  Tommy Harper.

Raise the roof!  Photo credit:  Tommy Harper.

Photo credit Tommy Harper.
Scottsville Baptist Church is blessed to have Ed among our people. Well done, our good and faithful servant!

To download Becky Barton's article in its entirety, please click here.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

There's a Snake on my Windshield Wipers.

Sorry the title robs you of suspense, but I don't know how else to say it: Today a snake was twirled around one of my windshield wipers and I discovered this WHILE driving [applies cold compress to forehead].

Yesterday and today I was sermon planning with my dear friend Pam.  We talked about church, read the Bible, ate good food, and made jokes about preaching from the Apocrypha.  We had fun.

Pam is one of my favorite people.

As we were leaving, Pam noticed our cars were littered with tiny green worms.  Pam began making that nervous eeeeek noise, and had me check her hair for green critters.  Because I am a good friend, I loudly and energetically laughed AT Pam.  Before the 3 millimeter worms could attack, we hugged and parted ways.

About 10 minutes down the road I noticed one of my windshield wiper blades was coming loose so I turned them on for testing.


It was not a loose blade. It was a snake [applies cold compress to forehead].

I screamed.  I screamed louder.  "JESUS TAKE THE WHEEL!"  I meant this literally, as a snake's face was wiping to and fro, fro and to, right in front of me. 

The fleeting thought of "Snake is outside and can't eat you" came to mind, but it was hard to pay attention.  I foolishly turned the wipers UP to level 1000.  Poor Snake was flying across my windshield at lightning speed.  Snake is scared.  I am scared.  

Just as I start to feel sorry for Snake, Snake flies away.  Hopefully Snake is well, but I couldn't help but wonder if Snake laid eggs in my engine and babies would bite my I called my mom.  She reassured me with some awesome advice:  "Snakes are loners.  I've never seen two together."  I told Mom that sounded right, to which she replied "But I don't really know."  Thanks Mom!

I called Pam too.  We laughed.  Moral of the story?  Pam Chisholm, quoting the Pam Revised Version of the Bible:  "Thou shalt not laugh at thy friend."

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


I didn't realize it then, but our 9th-10th grade Sunday School class was given great freedom.  Since the youth area would be remodeled, we were permitted to graffiti our classroom walls in their remaining months.  Living dangerously for me was drinking expired milk; so the prospect of spray painting my Sunday School classroom was positively exhilarating.

After a few hundred layers of graffiti were applied, we settled in our hip and fume-filled classroom.  We knew the walls would soon tumble, but until that day the space really felt like ours.

Most of us have an area in the building that feels like ours.  Maybe you've served on the kitchen committee since the 90s and the spoon drawer is organized thanks to you.  Perhaps you participated in a bathroom remodel, or purchased a new sound system in memory of a family member.  Maybe the choir room was where you gave your life to Christ.  Maybe you've been meeting in the same Sunday School classroom for forty years, and you've weathered illness, marriage, heartbreak, and celebration together.  These spaces feel like yours, and oftentimes for very meaningful reasons.

I am guilty of saying the building is just a building, but I'm not sure just is the right word.  The church is the body of Christ (the people!); however relationships, table fellowship, conversation, and celebration often occur under the roofs of these buildings.  When I return to my childhood church I peek in some of the classrooms. I see Mrs. Duvall teaching me to write the books of the Bible on tongue depressors.  I see Mrs. Jackson passing out GA books and leading us to pray for missionaries all over the world. 

I'm not so sure the building is just a building.

What makes the building more than a building are the relationships it holds between its walls.  Unfortunately, conflict can arise when love of walls eclipse love of relationships.  And if we aren't careful, obsession with walls can lead us to commandeer rooms as my space.  And when space becomes mine, we hold it with a death grip. 

If a growing senior adult class needs a larger space in which to meet, another class will need to offer their space.  This is all easier said than done.  We all have opinions how space is best maintained, managed, and organized; but if we can agree love of relationships eclipses love of walls a healthy foundation will be laid. 

In the end, these buildings are not my space.  They're not your space.  They're not even our space.  They're God's space.  Here's hoping we are good stewards of God's space together.

Sunday, January 25, 2015


Last Sunday many of our folks enjoyed sharing lunch together. During the meal, a longtime church member smiled at a new mother and her baby.  "He is OUR baby," he said.  Then we all smiled.

This morning we prayed for our missionaries, Don and Susan.  After retiring from the pastorate the Moores joined Scottsville Baptist, but it wasn't long before they heard God calling them to St. David RV Resort in Arizona.  At the resort, Don leads worship services and Bible Studies. He also visits and offers pastoral care.  The Moores are in Arizona for 6 months and then return to Virginia.

Bubbles designed this wondrous table display.
I love the high end RVs (all Mercedes) and outhouse with seating for two.  

This afternoon we shared a time of fellowship at our parsonage. Visitors, longtime church members, friends of children, and others stopped by.  We had fun!  See pictures for proof.

Kind Hallie was willing to pose with the "turkey leg"
The spread!  Thanks to so many folks for contributing yummy treats!
Our generations.
Having a good time!
Enjoying snacks!
Our:  Three little letters.  One big meaning.

I'm grateful for Scottsville Baptist Church.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

A Found Treasure

As I was searching the parsonage high and low for a children's message idea, I found a Bible Story Book my parents gave me as an eight year-old. Here's the note on the inside cover:

What a gift.  

Thanks Mom and Dad for encouraging independent reading, study of the Bible, and love of God.