Tabor Presbyterian Church Calls New Pastor
Rev. Liz Hulme Adam has accepted a call as pastor for Tabor Presbyterian Church, beginning February 12. Rev. Adam is a Crozet resident and married to Erdal Adam, an optometrist. They have three children: Hannah, 19, now at American University; Phoebe, 16, at the Virginia Institute of Autism; and Silas, 13, at Henley Middle School.
Rev. Hulme graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1997 and has served churches in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
She has also served as chaplain at University of Virginia Medical Center and at Westminster-Canterbury in Charlottesville. Before accepting the call to Tabor, she served Orange Presbyterian Church as interim minister for more than two years. The Tabor community is already familiar with Rev. Adam’s energy and enthusiasm. She’s scheduled some new Lenten observances at the church, including an intergenerational study of the psalms, a weekly brown bag lunch, and a series of discussions on racism. For more information, go to taborpc.org.
House of Worship Safety Workshop
The Albemarle County Police Department is offering a workshop for congregation leaders and safety team leaders March 1 at First Baptist Church in Charlottesville. Senior Police Officer Joseph George of the county’s crime prevention program said the workshop will guide designated people from area churches on security surveys and assessments, on forming safety teams, and on ways to plan for an active assailant. George said he’s helped dozens of area churches with safety surveys. “This is a way to get everyone in one spot,” he said.
“There’s no one way to plan for an event like this,” George said. “Each situation is different. But we can talk about strategies like ‘run, hide, fight’ so people have some advance idea of how to react.” He’s hoping the workshop will inspire those attending to share information on their own planning process as well. The workshop will include lunch, and anyone responsible for security at a house of worship is welcome. Space is limited, George said, so registration is required, at 434-872-4558.
Bishop of Richmond Visits Crozet Catholic Mission
Newly installed Bishop of Richmond Barry Knestout, who is visiting churches across his vast diocese, which includes all the territory of Virginia below the Rappahannock River (to the north is the Diocese of Arlington), made an impromptu visit to Crozet Jan. 24 to meet with the leadership of the Crozet Catholic Mission. Knestout heard reports on the weekly mass being held at the Field School at 10 a.m., on the mission’s religious education and social outreach efforts, and on its financial condition and search for a church location. The Mission now has 140 registered households and mass attendance averages 225.
Mass in Crozet is cancelled for the first three weeks of February while improvements are made to the school’s main hall and will resume on Feb. 25. For more information, visit the Mission’s Facebook page, Crozet Catholic Community.
Mothers Find Support at MOPs
When Crozet native Amy James had her first couple of children, she was in Lynchburg, away from familiar surroundings, family and friends. “I had the same concerns as every young mother,” she recalled. Now a seasoned mother of three, she looks back on those early years with humor. She remembers wondering if she would ever be able to wear clothes without stains, take a shower in peace, cook a whole meal or do any of the day-to-day activities she took for granted as a career woman.
“Luckily, I found a MOPs (Mothers of Preschoolers) program,” James said. She quickly found out that she was not alone, that all young mothers shared the same self-doubts, the same fatigue. “And all of them wonder at one time or another if there is something wrong with them that they can’t accomplish everything perfectly.”
James, who has 5-year-old, 3-year-old and 17-month-old children, returned to Crozet. “I’d grown up in the Crozet Baptist Church,” she said. “I knew there would be mothers here who would benefit from a caring community, so I approached the church.”
The church welcomed her idea, and the local program was born. James is quick to note that it’s open to anyone, of any denomination or no denomination. “We are Christian-centered and prayer-based, but all are welcome,” she said. “We have representatives from quite a few faith communities.”
The national MOPs organization has refined a model that works well for most mothers. The local group meets twice a month on Mondays, from 9:30 to 11:30. Providing childcare is essential, James said, and for many it’s the only time in the week that someone else is responsible for their child. Mothers of infants are also likely to keep them with them in slings: either way is fine.
James said the two biggest issues for mothers are likely to be lack of sleep and the fear they will never have a role to play in the larger world. “While we can’t make up for the sleep, we do provide a hot meal and plenty of coffee,” she said. “It’s surprising how much something simple like this means to our moms.”
The program does engage them with the community as well. They spend time each month doing service projects, James said. And the group as a whole hears experts on organization, coping, relationships and grief. “There are serious issues among our young women,” James said: “miscarriages, bad health, post-partum depression, infertility. One of our biggest rules is to listen to each other without judgment.”
The meetings also have some time in small groups, where the mothers can share their concerns and get to know each other. As you might expect, this spills over into the everyday life of the mothers, James said. “They meet for coffee, email and call each other, keep in touch on Facebook,” she said.
James said that wonderful, experienced women have volunteered to provide child care at the meetings, and the program has grown to 35 mothers with 36 children.
Although there is plenty of space, the program is at its full capacity, simply because of a need for more volunteers, she said: “We have a waiting list now for mothers because we can’t accommodate any more children,” she said.
To volunteer or learn more about the program, connect through the MOPs Facebook page, or email or call the church.
Crozet UMC Offers Study Hall
Stephanie Hicks, the youth director at Crozet United Methodist Church, envisioned a safe place where students from middle school and high school could work on homework and get help with difficult projects.
Her vision is taking shape. The Wednesday night study hall at the church is underway from 7 to 9 pm each week, and it has grown as the needs and interests of the community’s young people have shaped it: “We’ve got a place for you, regardless of your church affiliation,” Hicks said.
Students find a quiet, friendly place to study, with Internet access and snacks, and they can also take advantage of the veteran educators who volunteer as tutors. Hicks said technical support is available for those who require more complicated Internet-based tools. Other teachers have extensive backgrounds in English and math, with more subjects being added, she said.
Those who have finished their homework are also welcome, Hicks said, and she’s planned hands-on activities each week. One recent week, young people made homemade dog biscuits to offer to area senior citizens as treats for their pets.
Future plans include an occasional field trip, game nights and movie nights. But mostly, said Hicks, she wants to encourage a feeling of community and support. “Even in this wonderful community, young people can feel isolated,” she said. She likes the idea that middle school students will meet high school students and perhaps feel less intimidated when they make the transition. She also likes the feeling of camaraderie that’s developing as students help each other.
“No matter what challenges you have in school or in life, we will be glad to see you,” she said. “Just come as you are.”
Stephanie Hicks, who recently assumed the youth director position, has an extensive background working with non-profits in Virginia and West Virginia. She lives in Crozet with her husband and two children.
Puppies Introduce Children to Prayer
Also at Crozet United Methodist, children will have a special Ash Wednesday service on February 14 at 6 p.m. They’ll choose a “prayer puppy” to help them understand the concept of prayer.
The puppies will be featured during each Sunday worship service in Lent as a fun way to teach children to pray for themselves and for each other.