Summer Stories: Hungary Mission Trip, Part 2

Thank you for listening to our Summer Stories podcast series about our 2019 mission trips and camps! We are grateful for all who contributed to help organize, fund, and pray for all of the groups who participated this summer, and we hope you enjoy hearing some updates. This series will be released on Tuesdays for the next few weeks.

This summer, we sent a group to Hungary to work with Lea and Doug Coppage to help lead a baseball camp. In this podcast, listen to some of Ben Peery’s thoughts about their time together.

Summer Stories: Hungary Mission Trip 2019, Part 1

This is the first in a series of podcasts with stories from summer trips and camps! We are grateful for all who contributed to help organize, fund, and pray for all of the groups who participated this summer, and we hope you enjoy hearing some updates. This series will be released on Tuesdays for the next few weeks.

This summer, we sent a group to Hungary to work with Lea and Doug Coppage to help lead a baseball camp. In this podcast, listen to Cole Severns chat about an average day on their trip, experiencing a new culture, and communicating across a language barrier.

Mission: Coppage Q&A – Summer 2019

We were so glad to welcome Doug and Lea Coppage back home on Sunday! Doug and Lea have been living and working in Hungary for over a decade, sharing and showing the love of Christ in many different ways. This summer, Tabernacle sent a small group of folks to visit and work with Doug and Lea in Va?. On Sunday, we chatted with Doug and Lea, and with the team who visited them in June. Thanks to Terry Witt for moderating!

Camp Alkulana Work Day

At 7am on a Saturday morning, a drowsy group of five drove together, willing to spend their day working at Camp Alkulana. As we arrived, Beth Wright greeted us with a warm smile and big plans for our day. As she spoke about the ideas she had for our work that day, our minds were filled with creative plans for how we would complete our tasks. A small group of us began creating new outdoor seating using wooden planks, created by other church groups, made out of trees found on the property. Another small group built a new staircase using rocks that were dug up during the installation of the new retaining wall. As we asked for help, communicated our ideas, and worked side-by-side, the daunting tasks we had been assigned were efficiently completed by newly-formed friends. Tabernacle’s hard work this past Saturday is only a small section of the work many churches are contributing to Camp Alkulana. Church groups had come before us, preparing the property for the work we completed that day. From creating the wooden planks to digging up the rocks, our tasks would never have been possible without the community of churches who had come before us. This community of churches, whose tasks helped to prepare for the tasks of others, is one of many communities that will be created on the property of Camp Alkulana this summer. 



Members on Mission: Mark Snipes – Metro NYC Christmas Lunch

16 Turkeys–That’s A Lot of Bird!

Over the course of 48 hours, eight members from Tabernacle traveled to Metro Baptist, in New York City, to prepare a Christmas lunch for over 300 New Yorkers.

One evening, as I was waiting for three of the turkeys to finish cooking, I sat down with one of the pastors of Metro and asked about the people who would be eating this meal. Pastor Megan said that this was her third time being a part of this meal and she has learned two important lessons about those the church serves: 1. Each person has a unique story; and 2. When you sit and listen, you learn that those you serve have a deep, rich understanding of God.

Pastor Megan went on to say that those who will eat this meal are an assorted group of people. From veterans, some struggling with PTSD and others just unable to reengage with normal society, to people who have made some very bad decisions in life, to those who have just had some hard breaks. Others are people who have recently lost jobs and others who have been disowned from their family for lifestyle choices. Some have been poor for a long time (generations, even) and others are just temporarily in this position.  

As I sat on the church van on the way back to Richmond, I began to think about the people who would eat a part of one of those 16 turkeys. Perhaps somehow we were connected. Though we may never meet, the cooks and the diners have a common experience through a meal. In a very sacred way, we have broken bread together.

I do wish that I could have sat and eaten with some of the diners. Remembering my conversation with pastor Megan, I wonder what I would have learned about God?

I live in a world where I, and most of those I have chosen to live life with, have little to no idea what it is like to be poor or marginalized. My tribe is often middle class Americans who live in adequate homes, eat three meals a day, have never been incarcerated and, though addiction affects all of us in one way or another, live lives where addiction does not control us.

I wonder what I could have discovered about God from those who are aware of their need for God’s provision daily, from those who know what it means to be hungry, in need and even oppressed?

When I approach scripture, I acknowledge that these texts were written to groups of people who knew what it meant to be marginalized, to be poor. I wonder, then, how those who have this similar experience today relate differently to scripture from me? Do they have life experiences that I am missing that give them a more keen insight to God?

Most of my life I have looked for mentors who are well-educated, successful people. Perhaps it is time that I pass the microphone to those who have different experiences, seeking to learn from those who have traveled down different avenues of the Kingdom hoping that our understanding of God is shaped in ways that I never thought possible.   

May God bless and continue to enrich the lives of all those who accept turkey meals, and may God open the ears and hearts of all the cooks.

Members On Mission: Laura Severns – Fan Feast


Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays.  There are such precious memories of gathering at both grandparents’ houses with Fall decorations, my favorite foods, but most of all…the stories.  After eating way more than we should, our extended family would sit around the large dining room table and tell the stories of our family:  stories of my grandparents dating during WWII; stories of my parents meeting in youth group at their local church; stories of my Dad terrorizing the neighborhood with his brothers when they were teens.  Every year, the stories became more embellished and more entertaining resulting in hours of laughing and reminiscing and “remember whens.” 

     In our immediate family, our Thanksgiving tradition includes the Fan Feast at Tabernacle Baptist Church.  For the past fourteen years, our family has been part of this event that welcomes church members and neighborhood guests to share a meal of gratitude together.  Like my Thanksgiving memories of childhood, there are Fall decorations, favorite foods, and most of all the stories that are shared.  Over the years, the kids have graduated through the ways to serve at the Fan Feast.  As young children, they helped by decorating placemats and helping to clear the tables.  With age, came more responsibility…they were trained in beverage service and finally food service, carefully delivering plates of food to our guests.  In recent years, it’s been the treasured job of sitting with our guests and sharing stories.  There are friends who return each year and look for our kids to remark on how they’ve grown and “remember whens.”  When I asked our children this week about the Fan Feast and why it’s special, they shared that they love the time with our neighbors.  They love helping, but most of all, they love sharing the stories.  So on Saturday, join us at the table.  Pull up a chair, eat some favorite foods, and share in some life stories.   There’s a place that has been set for you.

Tabernacle Stories: Katye Snipes (04/25/18)

“No one else sees the world the way you do, so no one else can tell the stories that you have to tell” (Charles de Lint). 

Each spring, we invite members of our church to share stories of their journey of faith. We believe it’s important to share these stories to point to God’s presence in our lives, all along the way. These story-sharing sessions have been incredibly meaningful, and have provided a wonderful way to get to know one another better. This series will meet in the fellowship hall from 6:00pm to 7:00pm on Wednesday evenings. Tabernacle Stories begins on April 11th and will continue until May 16th.

We hope you will join us for one of our upcoming TBC Story sessions:

Upcoming Sessions:
May 2nd – Kathy McGraw
May 9th – Jacque Green
May 16th – TBA