At the beginning of August, VDOT installed a time-lapse construction camera to allow the public to view the progress on the I-64/I-264 interchange project. Our church is featured prominently in this time-lapse view. You can watch the time-lapse video on VDOT’s project website homepage here: http://www.i64i264improvements.org
Since its beginning 10 years ago, Project Comfort’s mission has been to bring comfort to people — whether that’s a making a pillow for a woman with breast cancer, an outfit for a newborn in need, a crocheted hat for a homeless person, a stethoscope cover for a medical missions trip, or a lap quilt for a veteran in the hospital. This sewing ministry is all about “paying it forward,” said Debbie Allen, one of the women who helped start Project Comfort.
On any given Tuesday, if you stop by the Cross Roads Center’s second floor, you’ll find anywhere between 6 to 26 volunteers from First Baptist Norfolk and other local churches sewing, ironing, cutting fabric, crocheting, or stuffing pillows. This group has made bibs for disabled children at St. Mary’s Home; helped start similar sewing ministries in Peru and South Asia; created items to send with our Mission Journey teams; provided baby quilts for pregnant teens; created backdrops and table cloths for our own church; and much more in the years since it began.
“Not only are we able to serve our local community, military community, and reach out across the oceans, we are also able to minister to our own right here as we work to serve others,” Debbie said.
Project Comfort is an unpaid volunteer ministry that is completely self-funded through donations. There is much work to be done, and you can be involved! If you’re interested in volunteering or donating to Project Comfort, please contact Debbie Allen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more about First Norfolk Women’s Ministries here: www.firstnorfolk.org/women
We received a ruling from the judge concerning VDOT’s request for a continuance in their case with First Norfolk. The judge granted the continuance and the new date for the trial will be set in August. We are thankful for the consideration of the judge although it didn’t go the way we desired. We believe that this is part of God’s wondrous purposes as we continue to shine the light of the gospel throughout the seven cities of Hampton Roads and around the world.
The hearing for a continuance with VDOT was moved from Friday, June 30, to Thursday, July 6. It will be held at 2:00 PM at the Norfolk Circuit Courthouse, Courtroom 4B (Judge Jerrauld Jones). We would like for as many of our members as possible to attend the hearing to demonstrate support of First Baptist Norfolk’s opposition to the motion for continuance.
If you are able attend, here are some basic guidelines:
- Have your photo ID (driver’s license) with you, but do not bring other items into the courthouse.
Leave phones, laptops, food, drinks, bags, etc. behind as they are not permitted through security.
- Please be in Courtroom 4B (Judge Jerrauld Jones) in the Norfolk Circuit Courthouse by 1:00 PM.
- The Norfolk Circuit Courthouse is located at 150 St. Paul’s Boulevard. Parking is available for the courthouse at the Commercial Place Garage (520 E Main Street, Norfolk) and the Dominion Tower Parking Garage (999 Waterside Drive, Norfolk).
- The church will be renting two buses, departing from the church at 12:30 PM. Seating on these buses is first come, first served.
- You are also welcome to park at the church and ride The Tide to the Civic Plaza Station.
On the evening of May 7, our church family gathered for a combined Campus Catalyst Town Hall Meeting and Church Conference. Geoff Hemphill, church treasurer, opened the meeting by giving a financial report. Our church “is in great shape” this year, and is even doing better than at this same time last year. Hemphill thanked church members for their generous giving to our missions and benevolence funds.
“Not only do you give to the budget, but you give above and beyond the budget,” he said.
During the Church Conference portion of the meeting, Pastor Eric Thomas held a vote to approve the four nominated messengers for the 2017 Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting, June 13-14, in Phoenix, Arizona. The vote passed, and the four messengers are Eric and Eydie Thomas and Phillip and Jan Herring.
After the Church Conference, Pastor Eric moved into the Campus Catalyst discussion. He iterated that although the construction on and around our campus has been difficult, it has also been a big blessing. The visibility of our church facility from the highway has never been better. In light of that, we have updated the sign on our building from First Baptist to firstnorfolk.org to point passersby to our website.
Another positive from the highway construction project is that we gathered together as one body at one time for Easter at the Ted, and it was “a tremendous blessing as a family of faith,” Pastor Eric said. This is something we would like to make a regular once-a-year event if possible, he continued.
Pastor Eric then reviewed our Ten-Year Vision to see 10 multi-site locations and 20 church plants in the next decade. He also reviewed our First Norfolk Advance One-Year Goal: Between January and December 2017, we will launch a campus in our multi-site strategy. We are making progress toward that goal, but have not yet finalized a location for our second campus location. As soon as it is possible, church leadership will announce the second campus location and bring it to a vote before the church.
The time period for our first 90-Day Objectives (Jan. 1-March 31) is over, but Pastor Eric introduced the next 90-Day Objectives (April 1-June 30) to our church:
- Select and train leader/core team: We will call the church to pray God’s will for them to join the leadership and core teams to be selected by June 1. (The leadership team will be First Norfolk staff and lay people who will be the “point people” for the new campus. The core team will be individuals who commit themselves to take the gospel to that neighborhood in Hampton Roads.)
- Establish footprint at New Campus: Leverage VBS, student/young adults ministries in neighborhood of new campus beginning at occupancy of new location.
- Implement Communication Plan: We will implement intentionally the compelling communication plan for the church and community to tell the story of First Norfolk’s advance.
- Develop multi-campus ministry model: Identify core values to guide multi-campus ministry to reach neighborhoods utilizing best practices with each context by June 30.
“God has used this church for 200 years in Hampton Roads for His glory, and He wants to use it for another 200 years,” Pastor Eric said. “But we have to join Him on that journey.”
The Campus Catalyst meeting ended with a corporate time of prayer. Pastor Eric again asked our church family to be praying over the Call to Prayer points he introduced in March.
“To be a part of this journey, you can pray faithfully for God to shine brightly through this church as we seek to glorify Him and advance His mission.”
The next Campus Catalyst meeting will be on May 28 at 5 pm, and will be a significant time of discussion and a potential vote about the second campus location.