The Witness

Volume 41, Issue 14

April 5, 2023

A Beginning

1 After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay" (Matthew 28:1-6).

Bishop Kenneth H. Carter, Jr. once wrote a sermon entitled, “When An Ending Is Actually A Beginning.” The following is an excerpt:

Mary Magdalene, on the way to the tomb on the first Easter, thought that she was in the midst of an ending. In many of our communities on [Easter Sunday], families gather around grave plots, placing flowers on them. Easter is about memory. The women had gone to the tomb to care for the body of the dead Jesus. It would be a time to remember. It was an ending.

Life is about endings and beginnings. Life is a succession of losses. For Jesus it was the same: eating at the table with those who would betray and abandon him—ending; facing death, a redemptive death but an unjust death—ending; feeling the strength and life and breath leave his body at the place of the skull, Golgotha—ending.

In our lives there are many Good Fridays. You could probably make a list of the Good Fridays in your own life: days when you have felt forsaken—ending; days when strength and life and breath seem to be leaving your body—ending; days when you were betrayed and you wrestled with forgiveness—ending.

And yet . . . Easter reminds us . . . what looks like an ending is actually a beginning.

We began this Holy Week with a beautiful and meaningful Palm Sunday musical that commemorated Jesus' Triumphal Entry, the beginning of an end. Tomorrow, we will remember the end of Jesus’ earthly life through our Maundy Thursday service that will journey through the Stations of the Cross. It will be a service of shadows and sadness; one that will give us an opportunity to feel the profound grief and loss of Good Friday. Finally, we will gather on Easter Sunday to be reminded once again that what looks like an ending is actually a beginning. In a world of constant losses and painful endings, we may need that reminder now more than ever. I hope you will join us. 


This Sunday, April 9th

This Sunday is Easter Sunday, and we're looking forward to celebrating the resurrected Christ at 8:45 and 11:00 AM! We'll hear from the Young Musicians Choir in both services. Travis' message is "God's Son is Enough," and our scripture is Matthew 28:1-10. If you cannot join us in person, tune in through our website or Facebook group page. There will be NO Sunday afternoon or evening activities this week.

A Higher Note

A special thanks to all who made our Palm Sunday musical such a beautiful service. So many have commented on how moving it was. Please come out on Thursday night to our Maundy Thursday service. It will be very unique and different from our past observances of Maundy Thursday. On Sunday, the Chancel Choir will sing the "Hallelujah Chorus" at both worship services. Choir members, please be ready at 9:30 AM to enter at the end of the early service to sing.

The Youth Choir has a 2nd deposit of $130 due on April 23rd. The total cost of our trip will be $260.

-- Chris

Wednesdays @ VBC

Tonight we will have all of our usual Wednesday evening activities, including dinner (chicken and rice casserole with garlic mushrooms, salad, bread, and mixed berry pie) for all those who signed up. Tonight's Bible Study will focus on Psalm 29.

Next Wednesday, April 12th our menu is lasagna, salad, bread, and dessert. Please note that the church office will be closed Monday, April 10th, so please sign up for our April 12th dinner sometime this week or by noon next Tuesday, April 11th.

Tomorrow at 6:00 PM. Our service will include communion.

Journey to the Cross

Parents and children, please plan to join us Saturday, April 8th from 10:00 AM until noon for our VBS-style family Easter event. This will be a fun, interactive experience highlighting the stations of the cross from a child's perspective. Invite your friends and neighbors!

The Lovelace Scholarship

Applications for the Lovelace Scholarship are due this Friday, April 7th. This $1,000 scholarship is awarded in memory of Jay Lovelace. Applications are available in the church office.

Church Office Closed

Please note that the church office will be closed Monday, April 10th in observance of Easter Monday. The office will reopen Tuesday at 9:00 AM.

Thrive Student Ministry's Youth BBQ Fundraiser

The Youth are sponsoring a BBQ Fundraiser for their mission trip to Nashville! This is Eastern NC style chopped pork BBQ with either vinegar or homemade molasses sauce. Coleslaw is also available. BBQ will be smoked overnight by Brad Radford. Ordering options are 1) 1/4 lb. sandwich for $5.00/each; 2) sandwich, chips, & drink combo for $7.00; 3) one pound container of BBQ for $10.00. BBQ must be pre-ordered by April 19th. It will be available for pickup Sunday, April 23rd following each worship service. Place your order in the church office as soon as possible, or click here to order and pay online.

Fun & the Son Play Group

Fun & the Son Play Group has expanded to include both Mondays and Thursdays! This interactive play time for children ages newborn - PreK is organized by Betty Jo Overstreet and meets 9:30 - 10:30 AM. Please note: we will NOT meet next Monday, April 10th because the church office will be closed.

Vinton Baptist Church Hope Center

Beginning this week, Cathy Abraham, a Licensed Professional Counselor, is offering free, private, confidential counseling for our VBC family. Cathy focuses on marriage and families, co-parenting through divorce and separation, adults and children having gone through childhood trauma, and general life stressors for ages 13 and up. Appointments can be made for Tuesdays at 11:00, 12:00, 1:00, or 2:00 PM. Sessions will take place at the church, and you can make an appointment by calling the church office at 540-343-7685.

JOY Seniors

Our May trip to Lancaster, PA is full! You can, however, sign up for the wait list in case someone drops out. The final payment (or payment in full) is due by Friday, April 21st for those who have signed up.

The JOY April luncheon will be Tuesday, April 25th. Our lunch will be ordered from Chick-fil-A ($10/person). Sign up and pay at the JOY Senior table, where you can also make your lunch selections. Entertainment will be provided by Rick Dellinger. Please plan to join us for fun and fellowship.

At the request of JOY Senior participants, a surprise trip has been added to explore downtown Roanoke Saturday, May 6th. We will leave VBC at 9:30 AM and ride as a group to downtown Roanoke, where you can plan your own adventure around the many shops/restaurants, Farmer's Market, Market Building, Center in the Square, Mast General Store, a trolley ride, and of course the Strawberry Festival. We will depart downtown at 2:30 PM. Please sign up at the JOY table as soon as possible so that we will know which bus to take.

Wednesday Women

Wednesday Women will return next Wednesday April 12th, exploring Melissa Spoelstra's Isaiah: Striving Less and Trusting God More, which is a 7-week study (ending May 24th). We will meet 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM in the Disciple Center. Please secure your own book, which is available through Scripture Truth (Fincastle), Amazon, Christianbook, and Lifeway. Please also register in the church office (540-343-7685) so that we can prepare for you. Questions? See Susan Jones.

Supper Club/Life Group

The April Supper Club will meet April 15th at 5:30 PM in the gym for a Mexican Fiesta theme! Bring your favorite Mexican inspired dish to share, and come join us for food, fun, and fellowship!

Science & the Bible: A Creation Study

This study will kick off Sunday, April 23rd and continue Wednesdays at 6:15 PM on April 26th and May 3rd. Don't miss this enthralling study, led by Wally Mayo, on what the Bible says about the creation. We will also look at how the latest science relates to what the Bible tells us. We will address questions like, what do creation "days" mean, what does the Bible say about a beginning, what about the flood, what about Adam & Eve, are there implications regarding Heaven, are there misunderstanding from the past, is there harmony with science or not?

Preteen Snow Tubing

Preteens (3rd - 5th graders), plan to join us Sunday, April 23rd, 12:00 - 5:00 PM for lunch, snow tubing at Liberty University's Snowflex venue, and a trip to Crumble afterward. Lunch will be provided. The cost for tubing is $15/person. Please complete this required waiver and bring it with you to the event.

Jean McGuire

Our Lady of the Valley #411

650 N. Jefferson Street

Roanoke VA 24016

Thank you to the LOA Sunday School class for their donation to the Food Pantry.

VBC Easter Offering

This year's VBC Easter Offering will be distributed equally among the Boys & Girls Club, Keystone Community Center, and GraceInside Prison Chaplain ministry. Please mark your gift "VBC Easter Offering" or use the appropriate envelope.

Annie Armstrong Easter Offering

Now is the season for giving to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions. The GOAL for our church is $2,450.00. There are special envelopes in your box of church envelopes, as well as in the church pews. This offering is used to help support missionaries in Canada, the U.S., and Central and South America. It helps to start new church plants, to provide for college campus ministries, and in various other ways of supporting missions.

Congratulations to Brandon & Kaitlyn Hall Lawson in the birth of Riley Jace on April 4th, weighing 7 lbs., 10 ozs. and measuring 21" long. Proud grandparents are Steve & Susan Hall.

RVBA Spring Meeting

The Roanoke Valley Baptist Associational Spring Meeting will be held Tuesday, April 25th at Villa Heights Baptist Church at 6:30 PM (no meal in the spring). We have as messengers Rudy Jones, Kathryn Sowers, and Chris Monroe. If you'd like to represent Vinton Baptist and have voting privileges, please call Patsy in the church office (540-343-7685) and we'll put you down as a messenger. Thank you!

Can You Help with Children's Church?

We are in need of teachers and helpers for Children's Church for each service every Sunday. If you can volunteer, please click here to sign up. Dates are available from now through the summer. If you'd like to help, but you're not sure what's required, please reach out to Whitney.

Bible Reading Plan

We're in the home stretch of Numbers. If you're like me, you may have gotten a little behind. But never fear - there are some catch-up days coming later this week. Just keep reading!

Fee & Stuart (How to Read the Bible Book by Book) emphasize that these last chapters of Numbers show how God is getting the Israelites ready to move into the Promised Land. They are camped at Moab. Miriam and Aaron have both passed away (representing the generation that was to die in the wilderness - see 26:63-65 for confirmation that everyone in that generation, except for Caleb and Joshua, had passed away), and Moses is about to die, as well (27:12-13). A census is taken in chapter 26 to prepare the Israelites for the battles that lie ahead, as well as to determine how much land each tribe will need in their new territory (we'll come back to this in a moment). Chapters 28 and 29 reiterate the Israelite worship festivals that they are to observe going forward. Fee & Stuart also state, "The vengeance on the Midianites (ch. 31) anticipates the long story of success and failure in Judges (cf. Num 33:50-56)." They go on, "The sanctity of people and of the land must be preserved (ch. 35), because it is 'the land . . . where I dwell, for I, the LORD [Yahweh], dwell among the Israelites' (v. 34)."

When the census is taken in chapter 26, partly for determining the "inheritance" (land) that would be set aside for each tribe, Zelophehad's five daughters were not given "property among our father's relatives" (27:4) because they were female. However, they had no brothers. "They approached the entrance to the Tent of Meeting and stood before Moses, Eleazar the priest, the leaders, and the whole assembly . . . ." (27:1b-2) and requested that they be given property in their father's name. Moses asked God about their request, and God's response was, "'What Zelophehad's daughters are saying is right. You must certainly give them property as an inheritance among their father's relatives and turn their father's inheritance over to them'" (27:7). God did not simply make an exception in their case. According to 27:8, 11, it became a law that the daughter(s) of a man who had no sons would get his inheritance. For me, this passage stands out among the rest - full of respect and fairness and grace for women in a male-dominated society.

Happy reading! (Photo is "The Daughters of Zelophehad" from "Dalziels' Bible Gallery," wood engraving, from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.)

Click here for a printable copy of our Bible reading plan.

Many thanks for the Easter box delivered by Barbara Slusher. The box was filled with many useful items. I so appreciate your thinking of me.

-- Peggy Stovall

I want to thank everybody in the church for always remembering me in their prayers. Please keep on praying for me because I am still in much pain every day. Also, thank you for thinking of me with lots of cards and every holiday with a box of goodies. Also, pray for my soul. God bless all of you! I send all of my love.

--Lillie Johnston

April 2023 Calendar