From The Building & Grounds Committee Vote Needed for a new Elevator Control Panel

Announcement:  Please Vote for an Elevator Control Panel Upgrade

Since the beginning of this year, the Building & Grounds Committee has continued its efforts in developing its 5-year strategic plan.  One of the priority items in that plan is what we need to do and when we need to do anything related to our elevator.  Researching turned out to be a very good idea from a planning ahead perspective.  We learned a lot of new information that has led the Administrative Board and Buildings and Grounds Committee to adjust our timeline for the Elevator Project.

Recommendation from the Building & Grounds Committee and the TBC Administrative Board:
We recommend moving forward with only the replacement of the obsolete control panel for our elevator as a proactive measure to minimize the downtime needed for this upgrade.  After consideration of three proposals, we recommend accepting the proposal from Metro Elevator, whose proposal seems to be the best in terms of price and customer service.  The quoted price for the control panel upgrade is $58,300.

Background Information
The elevator is currently operating well and has passed all inspections.  One of the vendors who evaluated our elevator indicated that a full modernization is not needed at this time, thinking we could wait several years.  That gives us time to raise money for the full upgrade.

  1. Time to Complete the Replacement of the Obsolete Control Panel Only
    We will not be able to use the elevator for the projected two weeks needed for the installation of the new control panel.  That means that we as a leadership team need to plan for being without the elevator for two weeks.  This is better than waiting for a problem with our obsolete control panel to occur and then wait for a company to be selected, plan the project, get the materials, and then get the project done, which would likely take at least 10-12 weeks from the time a control panel failure issue occurs.
  2. Limiting the Scope of Work
    If we were to fully modernize the elevator, we would likely have to meet City code for such things as fire code.  That would cost a significant amount of money and time.  We understand that we can get an emergency obsolete control panel project approved by the City without addressing code concerns.  That gives us an upgrade to elevator operations until we more fully plan for the $200,000+ expense of modernization and meeting code.
  3. Paying for the Project
    We recommend moving forward using available church funds to pay for the new control panel installation, with the understanding that we will immediately begin to raise money for this specific project as an initial step in church fundraising over the next several years.  The Administrative Board will work to realign pending projects if needed and as appropriate to manage church funds well.  The congregation will receive an update on the full scope of all facility-related projects in our next Business Meeting to keep you fully informed.

Your votes for this elevator control panel upgrade will begin on June 30th.  Immediately after your approval for this project at the end of the church vote on July 14th, the B&G Committee will begin negotiations for scheduling this work.  Our hope is to get this work completed for our fall church activities. To Vote electronically CLICK HERE.

Please do not hesitate to direct your questions to Donna Soyars at

Vote on The 2024-25 Fiscal Year (July 1 – June 30) Budget.

Budget Vote for TBC Fiscal Year 2024-25

There were no suggestions for changes to the FY 2024-25 Budget so you may now vote on the budget. Voting opens on June 14, and will end on June 26, 2024. Major financial expenditures like these budgets require at least 50 votes. Click here for a copy of the TBC Budget.

Click Here to vote electronically. Paper Ballots will also be available in the back of the Sanctuary.

Please remember, you need to be a member of TBC to vote and you may only vote once.

Come and See

Standing in the stairway, welcoming a neighbor into the building, our conversation follows a familiar path. “How is your family? You know I’m always going to ask you that because I know your family is important,” they say. This neighbor, despite their own complex family history and solitude living situation, consistently takes the time to ask about my loved ones. There is nothing unusually deep or unique about the conversation, yet it yields empathy and compassion. It’s the moment I see the best of my neighbor.

This is when I recognize Christ in my neighbors face. It’s this moment where we are genuinely caring for each other, that I see a more complete picture of my neighbor. This pushes me towards deeper empathy and understanding.

Holy moments happen all the time. They unfold in normal conversation, with the participants leaving knowing they were on holy ground. They don’t depend on your ability to fix or assist, but rather on simply being present and authentically engaging with others.

Amidst the holy moments on Saturday mornings, we offer a hot meal, food and clothes. Food might be the “why” that brings people into the building but it should not trump getting to know our neighbors. When we look at our neighbors with love, we see the best parts of them—we see Jesus. Come and see.


Saturday, May 18, 7:30 – 11:15 a.m. We would love for you to join us on Saturday morning. There is an opportunity for everyone: signing in neighbors, cooking breakfast, assisting neighbors with shopping, restocking, organizing clothes, loading cars and of course the best opportunity of all— enjoying time with neighbors around the table. 

Please sign up and let the team know you are coming!…/1FAIpQLSf4HUJAN7dD2l…/viewform

Holy Week Schedule

March 24, 11:00 AM – Palm Sunday Worship in the Sanctuary
March 28, 6:00-7:30 PM – Maundy Thursday Communion Service in the
        Foot Washing 6:00-6:25 PM      Communion Service 6:30-7:30 PM

*** Because we are preparing food for Maundy Thursday, an RSVP to would be really helpful.  If you discover you can come and have not sent an RSVP please come on anyway! ***

March 29, 7:00 PM – Good Friday Service: Stations of the Cross in the   
March 30, 5:00 PM – Easter Egg Hunt at the home of Judy and Eric Fiske
                                   Contact for the address
March 31, 9:00 AM   Easter Breakfast in the Fellowship Hall
                11:00 AM    Easter Worship in the Sanctuary,
                                    Christ is Risen Indeed!!

Anxiety: A Lenten Reflection by Frederick Buechner

Written by Frederick Buechner, Whistling in the Dark

“Have no anxiety about anything,” Paul writes to the Philippians. In one sense it is like telling a woman with a bad head cold not to sniffle and sneeze so much or a lame man to stop dragging his feet. Or maybe it is more like telling a wino to lay off the booze or a compulsive gambler to stay away from the track.

Is anxiety a disease or an addiction? Perhaps it is something of both. Partly, perhaps, because you can’t help it, and partly because for some dark reason you choose not to help it, you torment yourself with detailed visions of the worst that can possibly happen. The nagging headache turns out to be a malignant brain tumor. When your teenage son fails to get off the plane you’ve gone to meet, you see his picture being tacked up in the post office among the missing and his disappearance never accounted for. As the latest mid-East crisis boils, you wait for the TV game show to be interrupted by a special bulletin to the effect that major cities all over the country are being evacuated in anticipation of nuclear attack. If Woody Allen were to play your part on the screen, you would roll in the aisles with the rest of them, but you’re not so much as cracking a smile at the screen inside your own head.

Does the terrible fear of disaster conceal an even more terrible hankering for it? Do the accelerated pulse and the knot in the stomach mean that, beneath whatever their immediate cause, you are acting out some ancient and unresolved drama of childhood? Since the worst things that happen are apt to be the things you don’t see coming, do you think there is a kind of magic whereby, if you only can see them coming, you will be able somehow to prevent them from happening? Who knows the answer? In addition to Novocain and indoor plumbing, one of the few advantages of living in the twentieth century is the existence of psychotherapists, and if you can locate a good one, maybe one day you will manage to dig up an answer that helps.

But answer or no answer, the worst things will happen at last even so. “All life is suffering” says the first and truest of the Buddha’s Four Noble Truths, by which he means that sorrow, loss, death await us all and everybody we love. Yet “the Lord is at hand. Have no anxiety about anything,” Paul writes, who was evidently in prison at the time and with good reason to be anxious about everything, “but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

He does not deny that the worst things will happen finally to all of us, as indeed he must have had a strong suspicion they were soon to happen to him. He does not try to minimize them. He does not try to explain them away as God’s will or God’s judgment or God’s method of testing our spiritual fiber. He simply tells the Philippians that in spite of them even in the thick of them they are to keep in constant touch with the One who unimaginably transcends the worst things as he also unimaginably transcends the best.  

“In everything,” Paul says, they are to keep on praying. Come Hell or high water, they are to keep on asking, keep on thanking, above all keep on making themselves known. He does not promise them that as a result they will be delivered from the worst things any more than Jesus himself was delivered from them. What he promises them instead is that “the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

The worst things will surely happen no matter what that is to be understood but beyond all our power to understand, he writes, we will have peace both in heart and in mind. We are as sure to be in trouble as the sparks fly upward, but we will also be “in Christ,” as he puts it. Ultimately not even sorrow, loss, death can get at us there.

That is the sense in which he dares say without risk of occasioning ironic laughter, “Have no anxiety about anything.” Or, as he puts it a few lines earlier, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, Rejoice!”

Philippians 4:4-7

Ash Wednesday: Feb 14, 2024

Ash Wednesday marks the start of Lent, a season of deep reflection on human frailty and brokenness. It’s a season of honest and hopeful repentance. On this day, a cross of ash is gently placed on one’s forehead, accompanied by the solemn reminder, “Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return.” 

We invite you to join us for a portion of the day on February 14th to take part in the observance of Ash Wednesday.

11 AM – 5:30 PM The sanctuary will be open You may choose to simply receive ashes only, or stay a little longer for meditation and prayer. 

5:30-6:20 PM  Join us for pancake dinner. (Suggested Donation of $5 per Person)

6:30-7:15 PM  Join us for a communal Ash Wednesday Service in the Sanctuary.  The service will include music, readings, a reflection and the imposition of ashes. 

Annual Business Meeting – Sunday, February 4, 2024

Annual Business this Sunday, February 4, 2024.

Special Edition: The annual meeting will be held on Sunday, February 4, after Worship.  We hope you will join us. Lunch will be served for those attending in person.

2023 Book of Reports

We are also making available the 2024 Church Clerk’s Report so that we can officially vote in one new member of the church making them eligible to vote on several important matters during the meeting. Please click here for the Report.

Virtual participants can join the meeting via zoom:

Meeting ID: 891 7678 6037
Passcode: 045385

Preparation for our January 21 Meeting:

TBC Building & Grounds Committee Request for Approval
Building Repairs for 1st Half of 2024

Unable to make it in person for the meeting on Sunday, January 21st? Here is the zoom link for the meeting:
Topic: Churchwide Business Meeting – Building & Grounds Report
Time: Jan 21, 2024 12:30 PM Eastern Time
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 884 0943 0873
Passcode: 456974
Find your local number:

Worship in our current location started in 1911. Tabernacle Baptist Church’s members have experienced challenges from the very beginning in how to manage the pull between resources, wants, and reality when it comes to our buildings. The intent was to immediately add a new Main Auditorium. World War I and the Spanish Flu slowed the progress in raising needed funds, so plans were adjusted. “Despite all of the obstacles placed in her way the church continued to prosper, membership grew to 1,600 active members, construction was completed on the new Auditorium, and on Sunday morning, March 18, 1923, dedication of the new Tabernacle Baptist Church began with services which would continue for a period of two weeks. (page 97)”. That new Auditorium is not our sanctuary of today. 

Our buildings have changed and so has our membership over the years, and yet our desire to make the best use of our facilities has not. We have served God, our neighbors and each other faithfully over the years. God’s faithfulness is revealed every single time we take time to pause and remember.

As the population shifted to the suburban areas in the early 1980s and the membership of TBC continued to decline, our efforts to serve the community remained steadfast. It was in May 1983 that a Day Care Advisory Committee reported on their 14-month study, indicating that a new Day Care Center was needed as an expansion of TBC’s outreach program.

“Accordingly, on July 27 Mrs. Cindy Hutchinson was selected…to become Tabernacle’s first Child Care Center Director. The Center opened on September 19, 1983.” (page 196) The educational building that was dedicated November 25, 1956 for church school and office space was in use again for educating pre-school children. We are grateful today to partner once again with Cindy, now the Director of ExCELL.

More recently, a church-wide fund-raising campaign was begun in early 2014 with the theme “Embracing a God-Sized Vision.” Our goal this large was much greater than a church Tabernacle’s size would normally achieve. With much prayer and the generosity of our dedicated congregation, by July 2014 $1,400,000 was committed. As we look back at the excitement related to the God-Sized Vision campaign, we had NO idea what was coming. We thought we knew. We made plans. The plans didn’t work out and now God is working them out. That’s what God does…every single time. We find ourselves now being blessed by what God has provided, which is a way to continue to complete key repairs and renovations. Once again, God has helped us reassess and find a way for us to use our spaces to foster his work among us and into our community.

As we look back at the excitement related to the God-Sized Vision campaign, we had NO idea what was coming. We thought we knew. We made plans. The plans didn’t work out and now God is working them out.

That’s what God does…every single time.

In November 2023, we received the gift of Carson Dean’s final Building Assessment Report. There is a lot to consider in that report! What we are suggesting is that we start with an implementation of the more immediate repairs needed, with implementation of more of Carson’s recommendations to come in the months ahead. His evaluation gives us even more confidence that we are on the right path for the building and how the building supports our mission as we move forward together in our “Season of Renewal.” We have drafted an implementation plan for upgrades/repairs to the building over a three-year period. We are introducing the first phase of that plan now and will present the next phases once we have a little more time to finalize some thoughts and information, targeting this spring to discuss future upgrades.

With this in mind, we ask for your support in using our designated Restricted Fund 410-Building Funds and GSV funds in the first half of 2024 to:

  1. Replace the boiler $72,000 (quote)
  2. Replace the atrium roof $90,000 (estimate) (already approved by the congregation in 2020; including it here to give you the full picture of use of the money and because the scope of that project may have changed)
  3. Seal edges of the slate roof $35,000 (quote)
  4. Recoat the asphalt roof $15,000 (quote)
  5. Add hot water to the 2nd & 3 rd floors of the Williams Building $15,000 (estimate)


The repairs listed above will be completed as early as possible in 2024, with costs not to exceed $225,000. (The Building Fund has about $97,000 and GSV funds today total about $270,000)

Please note that upon your approval of these funds, we will make commitments to our selected vendors in order to keep the quoted pricing for each item. Prices increase quickly currently.

It is always good to remind ourselves that it’s all God’s. It’s all God’s building…it’s God’s mission and we’re invited to be a part of that mission, just like those that came before us and those who will come behind us. Our role is to do our best to listen to God and make choices based on being good stewards of what God has provided.

Mark your Calendars:

The Building and Grounds Committee looks forward to sharing a presentation with the entire congregation after worship on January 21, 2024.

Note: The Annual Business Meeting has been bumped back a week to Sunday, Feb. 4.

Quotations are from “The First Hundred Years: A History of The Tabernacle Baptist Church of Richmond, Virginia”

Advent Devotion: The Journey from Christmas

Scripture ReadingIf you put an end to oppression, to every gesture of contempt, and to every evil work; if you give food to the hungry and satisfy those who are in need, then the darkness around you will turn to the brightness of noon.

Isaiah 58:10

God has made us what we are, and in our union with Christ Jesus He has created us for a life of good deeds, which He has already prepared for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)

MeditationAmong my fondest Christmas memories are the Christmas Eve services at Fredericksburg Baptist Church –the traditional hymns, the candles, the sense of family, big and small.  It is a time of great joy when we allow ourselves to think about new beginnings and hope for a better world.

In many ways that is the essence of Christmas.  It is a journey toward hope.  But God’s call to each of us is to put hope into action.  It would be a mistake to only see the joy and hope that the baby Jesus represents and not listen to the rest of the story, the story of God’s call to reconciliation for each of us and for those whose lives we touch every day.  Our response to the journey after Christmas must be, “Here I am Lord, send me.”

Thus, as we celebrate this holy day, we must recognize that the journey to Christmas was to prepare us for the hard work of the journey from Christmas.  The road is long and filled with trials but the Jesus we meet on Christmas Day travels with us, if we choose to let Him.  And He transforms us on the journey. 

 These words from John Westerhoff, III say it well:

We have been called into a visionary community to risky, laughable lives of tomorrow’s people, to live in and for God’s dream, to witness to a world of peace and unity, freedom and equality, of justice and well being for all people.  We are called to accept the cost and the joy of discipleship, to proclaim the word and deed of the good news of God’s dream come true.  God promises us courage and strength in the struggle for peace and justice; God forgives us our failures and lifts us up to new possibilities; God is present in our trials and rejoicing and hopes from this day forward.

Prayer:  Oh Lord, thank You for the joy of Christmas and Your gift of hope wrapped in swaddling clothes.  Please travel with us on the journey ahead and continually remind us that if we are faithful to the trek, not only will we find friends along the way, not only will we find the beautiful and the true and the good and the lovely and the delicious tastes and sounds and smells and sights given to us by the Creator of the journey …but we will also catch a vision of what is at the end of the road.  Amen.

      (paraphrase from Ken Medema)