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Faith, Food and Fellowship

December 1, 2011 by Blue Ridge Leader filed under Faith, Lifestyle No Comments
St. Pauls2 Dec

By Sue Thompson
The television sitcom ‘Cheers’ ran for 11 seasons, earning 27 Emmy awards and ranking number 18 in the top 50 greatest TV shows of all time. Every week a core group of colorful characters made their way to their favorite local bar to commiserate. Perched on wooden stools, nursing a cold one, they shared their troubles, offered bad advice, traded a few good barbs and hoped for an epiphany. The little bar in Boston existed in a season of perpetual advent, expectant of something good that never quite arrived. Cheers fans everywhere fondly remember the words to the show’s theme song: “Sometimes you want to go – where everybody knows your name and they’re always glad you came. You wanna be where you can see – our troubles are all the same. You wanna be where everybody knows your name.”

I recently had the privilege of visiting a ‘Cheers’ of sorts, out on Harpers Ferry Road in Purcellville, Virginia. Unlike their Hollywood counterpart, there’s no bar where you can lose your troubles for a time in a cold one. Instead you’ll find a simple fieldstone church building hugging the road in quiet repose. Framed by sprays of wildflowers behind a wrought iron fence, with its cemetery nestled close beside, Christian Community Church at St. Paul’s is a place where everybody knows your name.

Linda Sutler was there cutting the grass on the day I visited. Linda was born nearby in Lovettsville. Her mother’s great uncles did the stonework on the church, and the Mt. Olivette Church in Lovettsville too. Her mom was the organist at Mt. Olivette for 30 years. Linda isn’t a member of St. Paul’s but she comes regularly to cut the grass and tend the little cemetery. She knows Pastor Roland England real well. He’s been there for her over the years as she struggled with the grief of losing her seven- year-old son to a drunk driver, and he’s there for her now in a fresh season of grief for her son Randy who died a few months ago. Linda feels loved at St. Paul’s. “There’s comfort in tending the grounds here,” she says.

The Reverend Roland England has pastured this little flock since1998. “I just minister to people where I find them. I help with dental work, keep people out of jail and just love on them. These are the kinds of things I like to do. Church isn’t just the members. It’s the larger community of families connected with the church, he says.

The Reverend explains that he doesn’t aspire to a big congregation. “I’ve always pastured a small church. I like to visit my people. If you have a big church you can’t do that. I’m able to share Christ’s love and that’s what matters,” says the Reverend. He works as a security guard full-time but ministering to others is his where his heart is. He’s already seen his 70th birthday come and go. “I plan to keep on doing what I’m doing, good Lord willing, for quite some time,” he says.

He excuses himself for a few minutes to meet with a family who have come to plan a funeral, leaving me in the cool of the stone sanctuary to take in the simple beauty of this humble building. St. Paul’s began to meet here in 2000. The building stood empty for 30 years prior. Reverend England and his congregation approached the Lutheran Synod with an offer and bought the building for $1.00. Carroll Crim and his wife Doris prayed for 10 years for a new church in the Purcellville area. “This church” Carroll said then, “is the answer to those prayers.” Prayer is a big part of the life at St. Paul’s. It’s in the very walls of the building.

I’m roused from the quiet of the sanctuary to join the Reverend next door in his office so he can introduce me to the couple he’s meeting with. There’s talk of Doris Crim’s coleslaw and other important ‘family’ business. Roots go deep in this little church. Relationships are cherished. Everybody knows your name and they’re always glad you came. I start to feel a bit like family myself, sitting among these dear folks as they share their joys and sorrows.

Seems there are about 50 people in the congregation, not including all the folks in the community who aren’t officially members but make up the ‘family’ that is St. Paul’s. The core group is in Lovettsville and the rest come from Maryland and West Virginia. For three nights in December their numbers swell to over 100 people for their special Christmas services. “We light the oil lamps. It’s a traditional service,” says Rev. England. “We’ll mark the end of Advent with hymns as we welcome the Christ Child. People are drawn to tradition. It helps anchor them.”

This little church seems to know a thing or two about anchoring the community. The first Sunday of every month is Communion at St. Paul’s followed by a pot-luck dinner after the service. And breakfast is served every Sunday morning before worship. Then there’s the annual Cruise-In – a time of food and fellowship when church families and the community come together. And their “Galilean Service” on the Clatterbuck Farm every spring, when they worship outdoors before enjoying a picnic lunch. Faith, food and fellowship they call it. “Feed the body and the soul,” says Reverend England. A person could get used to this.

Eventually it’s time for me to take leave of this little family. Linda waves good-bye as I follow the well-worm gravel path through the flowers to my car and head back to town, past the shops and the restaurants with their bars. Unlike the characters in the little Bar in Boston who were always moving through a season of advent, expectant of something good that never quite arrived, the folks at St. Paul’s know the One who has come. Linda Sutler knows him in the gentle embrace of the people of St. Paul’s as she tends the grounds. Doris Crim knows him as she lovingly adds a heaping bowl of her melt-in-your-mouth coleslaw to a table already groaning with food at the annual Cruise-In. Reverend England knows him as he tends his flock in the midst of the searing grief of death and the soaring joys of life. These folks at St. Paul’s know that advent is a place in the heart where life collides with faith every day, and that the expected one always comes.

Christian Community Church at St. Paul’s can be found at 12623 Harpers Ferry Road, Purcellville, Virginia. Sunday school and worship begin at 10:00 a.m. every Sunday.

Susan Thompson, a writer and photographer and a native of Virginia, lives in Purcellville with her husband Tim and a Schipperke named Rocket.

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Events

June 2015
M T W T F S S
1

Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Summer Expressions: an exhibit of abstract paintings by artist Rebeca Roman and ceramics by potter Steven Shiraishi

2

Summer Expressions: an exhibit of abstract paintings by artist Rebeca Roman and ceramics by potter Steven Shiraishi

3

Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Summer Expressions: an exhibit of abstract paintings by artist Rebeca Roman and ceramics by potter Steven Shiraishi

4

Summer Expressions: an exhibit of abstract paintings by artist Rebeca Roman and ceramics by potter Steven Shiraishi

5

Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Summer Expressions: an exhibit of abstract paintings by artist Rebeca Roman and ceramics by potter Steven Shiraishi

Friday Night Jazz with Maddy Curtis & Caleb Nei

6

Summer Expressions: an exhibit of abstract paintings by artist Rebeca Roman and ceramics by potter Steven Shiraishi

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

7

Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Summer Expressions: an exhibit of abstract paintings by artist Rebeca Roman and ceramics by potter Steven Shiraishi

Harp Ensemble: Out of the Silence

8

Summer Expressions: an exhibit of abstract paintings by artist Rebeca Roman and ceramics by potter Steven Shiraishi

9

Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Summer Expressions: an exhibit of abstract paintings by artist Rebeca Roman and ceramics by potter Steven Shiraishi

10

Summer Expressions: an exhibit of abstract paintings by artist Rebeca Roman and ceramics by potter Steven Shiraishi

11

Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Summer Expressions: an exhibit of abstract paintings by artist Rebeca Roman and ceramics by potter Steven Shiraishi

Start Your Business (Loudoun)

12

Summer Expressions: an exhibit of abstract paintings by artist Rebeca Roman and ceramics by potter Steven Shiraishi

13

Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Summer Expressions: an exhibit of abstract paintings by artist Rebeca Roman and ceramics by potter Steven Shiraishi

Connor Duffy Live at North Gate Vineyard

Circle Unbroken, The Gullah Journey from Africa to America

Harp Ensemble: Out of the Silence

The opera "Adriana Lecouvreur" performed at North Gate Vineyard

Circle Unbroken, The Gullah Journey from Africa to America

Circle Unbroken, The Gullah Journey from Africa to America

14

Summer Expressions: an exhibit of abstract paintings by artist Rebeca Roman and ceramics by potter Steven Shiraishi

Loudoun Symphonic Winds

Loudoun Symphonic Winds

Gallery Coffeehouse: Readers Theater, Duck Hunter Shoots Angel

Gallery Coffeehouse: Readers Theater, Duck Hunter Shoots Angel

15

Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Summer Expressions: an exhibit of abstract paintings by artist Rebeca Roman and ceramics by potter Steven Shiraishi

Woodgrove Class of 2015 Baccalaureate

16

Summer Expressions: an exhibit of abstract paintings by artist Rebeca Roman and ceramics by potter Steven Shiraishi

17

Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Summer Expressions: an exhibit of abstract paintings by artist Rebeca Roman and ceramics by potter Steven Shiraishi

18

Summer Expressions: an exhibit of abstract paintings by artist Rebeca Roman and ceramics by potter Steven Shiraishi

Six Self-Promotion Strategies to Attract More Ideal Clients

19

Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Summer Expressions: an exhibit of abstract paintings by artist Rebeca Roman and ceramics by potter Steven Shiraishi

Last Ham Standing

20

10th Annual Western Loudoun Artists Studio Tour

Summer Expressions: an exhibit of abstract paintings by artist Rebeca Roman and ceramics by potter Steven Shiraishi

Western Loudoun Artist Studio Tour

Nathaniel Davis Live at North Gate Vineyard

21

Western Loudoun Artist Studio Tour

Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Summer Expressions: an exhibit of abstract paintings by artist Rebeca Roman and ceramics by potter Steven Shiraishi

Father’s Day at North Gate Vineyard: Oysters & Live Music!

22

Summer Expressions: an exhibit of abstract paintings by artist Rebeca Roman and ceramics by potter Steven Shiraishi

23

Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Summer Expressions: an exhibit of abstract paintings by artist Rebeca Roman and ceramics by potter Steven Shiraishi

24

Summer Expressions: an exhibit of abstract paintings by artist Rebeca Roman and ceramics by potter Steven Shiraishi

25

Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Summer Expressions: an exhibit of abstract paintings by artist Rebeca Roman and ceramics by potter Steven Shiraishi

26

Summer Expressions: an exhibit of abstract paintings by artist Rebeca Roman and ceramics by potter Steven Shiraishi

June Fourth Fridays at Breaux

Culinary Garden Summer Music Series

27

Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Summer Expressions: an exhibit of abstract paintings by artist Rebeca Roman and ceramics by potter Steven Shiraishi

Creative Movement for Children (Ages 7-10)

Dance Improvisation for Tweens (Ages 11-13)

Ken Wenzel Live at North Gate Vineyard

28

Summer Expressions: an exhibit of abstract paintings by artist Rebeca Roman and ceramics by potter Steven Shiraishi

29

Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Summer Expressions: an exhibit of abstract paintings by artist Rebeca Roman and ceramics by potter Steven Shiraishi

30

Summer Expressions: an exhibit of abstract paintings by artist Rebeca Roman and ceramics by potter Steven Shiraishi

1

Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Moonlight Zip Tours in Middleburg Virginia

2

MAIN STREET THEATER: AristoCats

Moonlight Zip Tours in Middleburg Virginia

3

Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

MAIN STREET THEATER: AristoCats

Moonlight Zip Tours in Middleburg Virginia

4

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

5

Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Garden Party

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View From the Ridge

An Open Letter to the Citizens of Purcellville

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Mark Your Calendar, They’ve Asked for Our Input So Let’s Give It To Them By Steady and Nobull The Purcellville Planning Commission has tentatively scheduled a series of public input sessions June 4, 11 and 18 at 7:00 p.m. at town hall for the proposed sweeping zoning changes. These major …

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Lifestyle

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Team Mathias 5K and Family Fun Run To Be Held June 13

12 Jun 2015

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Next Loudoun County Household Hazardous Waste Event Set for June 27

12 Jun 2015

Loudoun County Seal Color

Loudoun residents are invited to participate in the next Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) collection event from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Saturday, June 27, at Freedom High School, 25450 Riding Center Drive in South Riding. Loudoun residents are welcome to bring Household Hazardous Waste from their homes to these events. Typical HHW includes: fluorescent bulbs, household batteries, oil-based paints/stains/varnishes, paint …

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Wild Loudoun

Belted Kingfisher – Streamside Rock Star

3 Jun 2015

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It’s hard to say what you noticed first. The cool blue streak of color. The piecing cry – a sharp rattle – here one second and gone the next. The splashy exit as a very spirited bird made off with a very unlucky fish. These are the behaviors, sights and sounds of the belted kingfisher, one of our local waterways’ …

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Around Virginia

Governor Signs Senator Black’s Campus Sexual Assault Bill

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On Thursday, May 28, Sen. Richard Black traveled to Richmond for the bill signing ceremony of his bill, Senate Bill 712, the Campus Sexual Assault Bill. Black’s law will change the way that Virginia’s colleges and universities handle sexual assault cases.  “When I heard about the Hannah Graham case, I …

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McAuliffe Announces Movie To Film in Virginia

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Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced that Virginia has been selected as the filming location for “Loving,” a motion picture based on the true story of Richard and Mildred Loving, a Virginia married couple who, in 1958, were arrested for violating a state law at the time prohibiting interracial marriage. The couple …

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Bipartisan Legislation Hopes To Reduce Wasteful Spending

blueridge2

U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Rand Paul (R-KY) have teamed up on a bipartisan proposal to empower federal workers to identify and cut down on unnecessary federal spending. The Bonuses for Cost-Cutters Act of 2015 would build on existing law by expanding a program that allows U.S. government …

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Sports

WLVBC Ignite Takes 2nd at Tournament

13 May 2015

Ignite Takes Silver at Spring Fling resized

Western Loudoun Volleyball Club U15 Team Ignite placed second at the NVVA 15’s Spring Fling Volleyball Tournament on Sunday, May 10 at Belmont Ridge Middle School in Leesburg. Ignite met the host team, NVVA 15 Fairfax Black, in the finals. “I’m proud of each player for pushing hard through 10 …

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Valley Lady Laxers Off to a Strong Start

6 May 2015

ladieslacrosse

By Mac Shuford The Loudoun Valley Ladies’ Lacrosse Team is off to a strong 5-2 start this year with their recent victories over district foes Dominion and Park View. After losing seven starters to graduation off last year’s state runner up campaign, Coach Tracey Albro has been busy rebuilding her …

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Mary Rose Lunde

The Summer Semester Is No Break

3 Jun 2015

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By Mary Rose Lunde So, what should a college student do with their summer? The appropriate response is relax; summer is meant to be a break complete with sleeping until noon each day and marathons of episodes on Netflix. Instead of doing this however, many college students wake up earlier …

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Sarah's Closet

Summer White Out

3 Jun 2015

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By Sarah Nearis Good fashion has a feeling. As we head into June and the warmer summer months, the feeling you want is one of being cool, easily put together, and comfortable. White has a way of cultivating that cool, comfortable feeling. A crisp pair of white capris. A simple …

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Letters

Reflections for Father’s Day, a Child’s Constitutional Rights

15 Jun 2015

Bob Ohneiser

I’ve been a licensed attorney and a father since the late 80’s. Yet, I wonder about how many of our country’s legal theories – theories …

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Minimum Wage: A Wrench in the Gears

3 Jun 2015

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By Delegate Dave LaRock You may have read in the news recently that the second-largest city in the United States, Los Angeles, voted to raise …

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No Tax Increases

1 Apr 2015

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– By Delegate Dave LaRock I’ve heard it said that elections should be held on April 16 so that people would cast their vote while …

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