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)

Advent Devotion: Servant Leadership

Written by Fred & Ginny Karnas Narrated by Laura Severns

Scripture:  Then [Jesus] poured some water into a washbasin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and dry them with the towel around his waist . . .  “I, your Lord and Teacher, have just washed your feet.  You, then, should wash one another’s feet… Now that you know this truth, how happy you will be if you put it into practice!”  

John 13: 5, 14, & 17

Meditation:  A life-sized bronze statue of Christ stands outside the Christ House building on Columbia Road in the Adams-Morgan neighborhood of northwest Washington, DC.  It is a statue of the “Servant Christ” kneeling with a bowl of water to symbolically wash the feet of whoever passes by.  

Marie worked as a cook at Christ House, and she learned the truth Jesus was teaching when He washed His disciples’ feet.  She acquired the servanthood of love.  Her smile lit up any room, and her cheerful willingness to alter or add to her already-busy schedule bore witness to her inner light of love.  For instance, there were occasions when a Christ House patient would develop a need for a special dish or diet such as chicken soup or clear liquids.  Marie wouldn’t just open up a can of soup; she would make some from scratch!  She lived out Christ’s command to be a willing, loving servant to others.

Marie was born in Kenya, and over the years she saved up enough from her modest pay to obtain a better home for her father who still lives in that African country.  When others needing homes moved in with him, she saved again to enlarge the dwelling.

The salt and light of Marie’s life made me want to give my best to the work at Christ House.  Thus, she became a leader for me through her servanthood.  Often on my way into work at 7:00 a.m. I would see Marie walking to early Mass, knowing she had a full day of hard work in the Christ House kitchen ahead of her after worship.  I had to admit to myself that I probably would have slept later most of the time instead of going to early church on a workday.

As God’s glory was shown 2,000 years ago in the lives of the humble Mary and Joseph who were willing servants of God, so the glorious love of the Savior was shown in the life of the humble cook, Marie.

Prayer:  As this holy season approaches, may we learn better to tread the journey of humility and servanthood which You, dear Lord, have journeyed before us.  May we learn in the doing of it, that loving servanthood is, paradoxically, the road to joy.  Amen.

Introduction to Fred & Ginny’s Devotional Series

Advent Devotion: ‘Tis as Blessed to Receive as To Give

Written by Ginny & Fred Karnas Narrated by Meg Lacy Vega (recorded in 2019)

ScriptureDo not be deceived my dear brothers!  Every good gift and every present comes from heaven; it comes from God….” (James 1:17)

Meditation:   For much of my life I have not been very good at accepting gifts.  I guess I could blame it on an upbringing that etched on my brain the old adage, “‘Tis better to give than receive.” 

I suppose that this saying is a useful tool for providing a perspective for children overwhelmed by the desire to receive, but as guidance for building relationships it is not very helpful.  

I have no specific memory of who helped me understand the subtle message of a reluctance to receive, but the value of that lesson has come home to me on many occasions as homeless friends, children, and others have sought to say “thank you” or “happy holidays,” or “I love you” with a simple gift. I have come to understand my acceptance of that gift is an acknowledgment of their humanity, that we are equals in the eyes of God, and that I have a need that they can fill.  I now believe that accepting a gift can be as much of an act of love as giving one.

On Christmas Day in 1986 an op ed piece entitled, “Gifts from the Homeless “appeared in the New York Times.  Written by author Jonathan Kozol, the short piece reminded us of the gifts we receive daily even from those who live on our city streets.

A homeless father of two children whom I met the other day in San Antonio told me that he sells blood twice a week to buy the food to feed his sons.  They sleep with him at night along a railroad track… Those of us who can afford to go to hospitals when we are sick should give thanks to those who offer us their blood – perhaps the one thing we might have supposed that they could call their own.

A woman who sleeps beneath the asphalt roadway of the Burnside Bridge in Portland, Oregon, donates her body for medical experimentation at a local hospital and earns thereby enough to buy the heavy padded clothes she needs to make it through the winter.  Let us thank her for the health she gives us.

An important lesson on the journey to Christmas is that each one of us is created in the image of God and that our relationships to one another, to be honest and healthy, must recognize the contributions we all make.

PrayerLord, thank You for all the gifts we receive this season.  Help us to understand that receiving can be an important and loving act as we build relationships with those whom we encounter each and every day.  Amen. 

Advent Devotion: The Phoenix Bird

Written by Fred & Ginny Karnas

Scripture When anyone is joined to Christ, he [or she] is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come.   (II Corinthians 5:17)

MeditationIn the old terminal of Phoenix’s Sky Harbor Airport one finds a large, brightly colored mural depicting the legendary phoenix.  Egyptian mythology tells of a bird that rises from its own ashes to live again.

FBC’s 1995 mission team to Prague, Czech Republic went there to help raise the International Baptist Theological Seminary (ITBS) from the ashes of what had been a Nazi army camp during World War II and a Communist scientific laboratory compound during the Cold War.  We went to work with paint, cement, muscle, sweat, and prayer to renovate this site of former evils into a hope-filled place of beauty where Christ’s life-giving love is now proclaimed.  Although ITBS is no longer in existence, for nearly three decades the seminary made it possible for Christians from many lands to be equipped for spreading the gospel in their own countries.

While we labored to renovate the buildings of the old site, which contained some structures dated to the 1700’s, God was working on renovation in some of our lives, as no doubt has been true on many mission trips Tabernacle has sponsored

Sometimes these life “renovations” come not through pleasant experiences such as missions trips, but through painful ones which are difficult for us to understand.  C.S. Lewis uses a beautiful metaphor to illustrate how Christ brings about change in our lives:

Imagine yourself as a living house.  God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing.  He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on:  you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised.  But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense.  What on earth is He up to?  The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards.  You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage:  but He is building a palace.  He intends to come and live in it Himself.

The last verse of the age-old hymn by Charles Wesley, “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling,” echoes this theme of renovation:

Finish, then, Thy new creation; pure and spotless let us be;

Let us see Thy great salvation perfectly restored in Thee:

Changed from glory into glory, till in heaven we take our place,

Till we cast our crowns before Thee, lost in wonder, love, and praise.

Have you invited the Christ Child into your heart for renovation?

Prayer:  O Lord, thank You for loving us so much that You were willing to come to earth as a lowly Babe, to suffer, die, and rise again for us, and now to transform us into a place where You may dwell.  This Christmas may we willingly enlarge the place of Your dwelling in our lives.  Amen.

Advent Devotion: The Gift of Diversity

Written by Ginny and Fred Karnas

ScriptureYou were baptized into union with Christ, and now you are clothed, so to speak with the life of Christ himself.  So there is no difference between Jews and Gentiles, between slaves and free men, between men and women; you are all one in union with Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:27-28

MeditationSimeon and Anna, the shepherds, the Magi….an eclectic collection of visitors to the young Jesus, but in their differences of class, gender and maybe even race, they shared a single purpose …they sought to be closer to God’s love, to understand His ways and His plan for their lives.  As we journey to Christmas, we should celebrate all those who journey with us, especially those who are different from us, and through those differences help us to see the face of God.

It was another steamy summer morning in inner-city Norfolk, Virginia when Steve opened the doors of the small Methodist church and welcomed the children of this vibrant, yet struggling, African American neighborhood to the daily recreation program.  As the children shuffled, bumped and sped their way in, I stood there watching with my five summer mission teammates.  I was just shy of my 21st birthday and yet I marveled at the exuberance of the youngsters.  That morning would proceed like most of the others that summer, a cacophony of laughs and cries mixed with the stickiness of lemonade spills and Elmer’s glue excesses.  Just before lunchtime, as I sat outside watching a game of kickball, the littlest of all the children, Joellyn, climbed into my lap and began to run her fingers through my hair.  After a couple of minutes of research, the four-year old exclaimed, “You have baby hair.”  

In a moment she was off and running once again and I was left to ponder the meaning of the differences God created in each of us.  I suppose Joellyn was referring to the way my hair felt compared to the hair texture of the African American adults with whom she spent most of her time.  In the many years that have ensued since that moment I have come to see beauty in our differences as they teach each of us a little more about what it means to be made in the image of God, and give us a greater understanding of the breadth of His love.  I am reminded of the beautiful Christmas song which helps us understand how the baby Jesus is seen through the eyes of children around the world.

Some children see Him lily white,

 the baby Jesus born this night.

Some children see Him lily white

 with tresses soft and fair.

Some children see him bronzed and brown,

 the Lord of heaven to earth come down.

Some children see Him bronzed and brown

 with dark and heavy hair.

Some children see Him almond eyed,

 the Baby whom we kneel beside. 

Some children see Him almond eyed

 with skin of yellow hue.

Some children see Him dark as they, 

 sweet Mary’s Son to whom we pray.

Some children see Him dark as they, 

 and ah they love Him too.

The children in each different place 

 will see the baby Jesus’ face

 like theirs, but bright with heavenly grace

 and filled with holy light.

Prayer:    Lord, this Christmas season help us to celebrate Your Kingdom.  Help us to recognize that in our differences we can learn a little more about Your love and Your plan for all of us.  Amen.

Advent Devotion: The Widow and the School Crossing Guard

Written by Ginny & Fred Karnas Narrated by Rachel Brock (2019)

Scripture: … the Lord Jesus himself said, “There is more happiness in giving than in receiving.”  (Acts 20:35b)

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and love your neighbor as you love yourself.   (Luke 10:27)

Meditation:  Lupe was a school crossing guard who lived with her husband and four school-aged children in a very small tarpaper dwelling in southside Phoenix, Arizona.  Her neighborhood of poor Hispanics, Native Americans, and elderly and mentally ill boarding home residents was not the pictorial stuff of travel brochures about sunny Phoenix.  As a neighborhood in the flight path of Sky Harbor International Airport, it was noisy, but most residents paid little attention to that until they were forced to move due to airport expansion in the mid-seventies.

Lupe enjoyed little of the world’s riches, but her soul was rich in faith which produced the gifts of God’s Spirit.  I can still see the light of her smile in my mind’s eye.  Because of her deep love for God, Lupe named her sons Moses and Solomon.  She made sure her children were in Sunday School and church every week and at every activity offered for their age groups at the Phoenix Baptist Center where we led Bible studies, sewing, crafts, recreation, and other activities.

Though she had very little in the way of material goods, Lupe was always finding a way to give – a shared meal, babysitting time, a hanging flower pot with a macramé holder she had made, and a small stuffed animal which our daughter, then a toddler, still cherishes to this day.

Lupe had learned the Christmas lesson that the widow in the Bible who gave her famous mite had learned centuries earlier – that it is more joyful to give than to receive.  They learned this truth and lived it out because they loved God with a passion that came close to total devotion – heart, soul, mind, and strength.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, may we who have most of what we want and much more than we need become more like the widow and Lupe who gave from their little.  As we journey toward Christmas, may we give passionately to You of heart, soul, mind, and strength, so that we may know You more deeply as the Ultimate Giver.  Amen.