Stories

  • Fall Party

    One of the highlights of the year at Chestnut Grove is our annual Fall Party. Connecting with others in community is a vital part of being church together. 


  • The Beauty of CHestnut Grove

    Katina Dudley sent me a text message with a picture of the Church on Wednesday, June 20th at 1:31pm.  That’s 1:31pm EST – I was in Seattle, WA at the time, so when I got it - it was 10:31am there.  It wasn’t one of those beautiful photos of Chestnut Grove with the rainbow in the background – although those are quite lovely.  I think it’s my new favorite.  To me, this photo is a truer, more accurate, and even more beautiful picture of the Church.  Let me tell you the story.... Continue reading



  • Jim Woodson

    Jim has been involved at Chestnut grove for several years now. After hurricanes hit Texas and Puerto Rico in 2017 Chestnut Grove sense God calling us to participate in the recovery efforts. Jim's granddaughter signed him up for a trip and on Sunday, August 12, he shared his story.

    Listen to his story

  • Sarah Ford

    Sarah is a Deacon at Chestnut Grove and served at the Earlysville Exchange for over a year. On Fridays she helps refugee families through the Exchange partnership with International Neighbors. Take a look at her story.

  • Amy Gaertner

    Amy is a deacon and Chestnut Grove and has taught at a local elementary school for twenty years. In the wake of the events in Charlottesville on August 12, 2017,  Chestnut Grove adopted a 2018 strategic priority of a "more diverse unity". On Sunday Amy shared her story of how she is growing and leading out in this area. 

    Listen to her story

  • Cindy Fargo

    Cindy Fargo has been a part of Chestnut Grove for a few years. She recently participated in our Intergenerational Formation Experience and on Sunday she shared her thoughts.

    Listen to her story

  • Wes Iseli

    Wes Iseli has been connected to Chestnut grove for over five years. He has a terrific gift of bringing laughter and mystery to others through magic. On Sunday Wes shared a little of his story and what he does on the road.

    Listen to his story

  • Sammy Rainey

    Sammy Rainey was involved in the Youth Ministry here at Chestnut Grove before going off to college. On Sunday Sammy shared how he experienced God and how is faith grew during his freshman year.

    Listen to his story

  • Community Worship & Picnic Reflections by: Charles Crenshaw

    It is Sunday June 3, 2018, Community Sunday for the village of Earlysville Virginia. This is the seventh annual community worship and picnic. The big top is up with several smaller tents for the 10:00 am worship service and the 3:00 pm picnic. Six local churches are participating and the community is invited.  Unity has been a key word for 2018. Chestnut Grove Baptist Church adopted Community Unity as one of their major priorities. Pastor King put things in motion in January by inviting other local churches to participate in a Wednesday evening Life Together program. Dinner followed by a program has been the agenda. Members of Buck Mountain Episcopal, Chestnut Grove Baptist, Mount Zion Baptist and Pleasant Grove Baptist churches have been the major participants. We have discovered we may have different ways of doing things and we may be different colors but our objective is the same. As a result, many of us arrive today knowing and understanding each other and being friends.


    Today we arrive on the Earlysville Green provided by the Rivanna Community Church under overcast skies and a forecast of rain. It appears that the big top will serve a different purpose than the usual shade in previous years. As people begin the gather there is greeting, happiness, laughter and a few hugs. The Worship Service began at 10:00 with music and song. There was prayer and scripture reading. Pastor Steve Miller, of Mount Zion Baptist Church in Advance Mills, delivered the message, a message that received four ovations. “If you are not following Jesus you had better change your direction.”  We need to be a lighthouse for others to follow. The message was followed by Communion, song and prayer. There was an offering collected, the proceeds will be divided equally to the Earlysville Food Pantry and the Earlysville Fire Company.


    Many hung around for a while talking and a few stayed on the set up tables and chairs under the big top, blow up strings of balloons and ready for the afternoon picnic. All of a sudden the skies open and the rain fell, the faucet was wide open for about an hour. With previous rain the ground could not absorb more, we were sounded in minutes by several inches of water. There will be no afternoon picnic on this day. An alternate plan was quickly placed into action. The picnic will be Monday evening at the Earlysville Fire Company. A group gathered Sunday evening and pulled the pork. Every avenue of communication was used to announce the change. 


    Now it is Monday evening and Raes Ford Road is a busy highway. The communications worked, a huge crowd is gathering for dinner. The parking lot is over flowing, cars are parked on the road. The food line runs along two walls and out the door. It stayed that way for over an hour as people continued to arrive. More tables and chairs were set up. There was plenty of food and everyone had a wonderful time. Some said more were served than the usual outside afternoon number. There was entertainment for children outside. This writer ventured into the kitchen, in a matter of minutes I was turning pork on the stove, pouring the excess juice from the beans and refilling the volunteer serving line.  Quick thinking, quick action and volunteer help saved the day. A Community Sunday became a two day event.

  • Claire King

    Claire is a recently graduated Senior who has been involved in our youth ministry for several years. On Youth Sunday, Claire shared her story with the congregation. 

    Listen to her story

  • ALex JONES

    Alex is a recently graduated Senior who has been involved in our youth ministry for several years. On Youth Sunday, Alex shared his story with the congregation. 

    Listen to his story

  • Hannah Woodson

    Hannah is a recently graduated Senior who has been involved in our youth ministry for several years. On Youth Sunday, Hannah shared her story with the congregation. 

    Listen to her story

  • Caleb Turner

    Caleb is a recently graduated Senior who has been involved in our youth ministry for several years. On Youth Sunday, Caleb shared his story with the congregation. 

    Listen to his story

  • Davey SCHENCK

    Davey is a recently graduated Senior who has been involved in our youth ministry for several years. On Youth Sunday, Davey shared her story with the congregation. 

    Listen to her story

  • Brooke PorcAro

    Brooke is a recently graduated Senior who has been involved in our youth ministry for several years. On Youth Sunday, Brooke shared her story with the congregation. 

    Listen to her story

  • Dear Music Ministry

    Dear Paige, Tom, Mel, Sarah, and Mimi,

    Thank you so much for all of the time, effort, collaboration, flexibility and patience that went in to planning the musical portion of the Easter worship. The experience of singing with such a diverse group of musicians and singers was unforgettable.  I know the music during worship is blessing to those attending. I moved when I close my eyes and listen to others, but on Easter something really special happened.  I did not feel the pressure of a performance this time.  All of our unique sounds came together to share the good news of God’s reckless love.  I was expecting to feel worn out after spending four hours at church and singing in three services.  Instead, I left church with the euphoric high and optimism I use to feel coming home from church camp. Anything is possible when we come together and worship.


    I joined the choir less than a year ago, but have felt so welcomed and supported. I do not read music well. The parts are played separately at first, so everyone can hear and learn their part. I still like to stand next to someone who does read music, and I follow them when we sing. I am writing to thank all of you, but I also hope to encourage others to become a part of the music programs at CGBC.  We would be happy to welcome you too.


    With Joy,

    Amy Gaertner

  • Robbie Yeamen

    Robbie is a recently appointed deacon at Chestnut Grove. He shared his story on Sunday, January 14, 2018. Robbie is committed to serving Chestnut Grove in this role for the next two years. 

    Listen to his story

  • Sharon Veith

    Sharon is a recently appointed deacon at Chestnut Grove. She shared her story on Sunday, January 14, 2018. Sharon is committed to serving Chestnut Grove in this role for the next two years. 

    Listen to her story

  • Kristy ShiffletT

    Kristy is a recently appointed deacon at Chestnut Grove. She shared her story on Sunday, January 14, 2018. Kristy is committed to serving Chestnut Grove in this role for the next two years. 

    Listen to her story

  • Pete Porcaro

    Pete is a recently appointed deacon at Chestnut Grove. He shared his story on Sunday, January 14, 2018. Robbie is committed to serving Chestnut Grove in this role for the next two years. 

    Listen to his story

  • Katina Dudley

    Katina is a recently appointed deacon at Chestnut Grove. She shared her story on Sunday, January 14, 2018. Katina is committed to serving Chestnut Grove in this role for the next two years. 

    Listen to her story

  • RISE AGAINST Hunger

  • Jeff Thomas - Neighboring

  • Alan Alfano

    So, I have resisted writing about why I give for some time now. I think it is because, perhaps, I have been concerned that my approach may be seem overly simplistic and maybe even cliche. You see, the main reason I give of my financial resources is because God said to. Really. It is that simple. But let me back up a bit and clarify…


    First, there are more than 2000 references to money in our Bible. That’s a lot! In fact, about four times the number of references relating to prayer. So, I am thinking what I do with money is important, not only materially but spiritually as well. When I read through the Old Testament I find that giving the first and best of what people owned, as a sacrifice was a required as part of Worship. It was not optional. It wasn’t really optional in the New Testament either, I just kind of assumed that we would be giving out of gratitude and appreciation for all that God has done for us through Christ.


    I think we all know down deep that all we have really belongs to God. Through His grace and mercy we get to use the resources He generously puts before us. He has always promised and continues to promise us that He will provide as we have need if we just trust in Him.


    I have found that in my own life, giving is a critical part of the rhythm of my faith. I remember learning that to be part of a church meant giving of my time, talents and resources. It is just what we do, part of how we care for each other and living proof of our willingness to rely on God. I give, trusting God, that He is faithful to His promise of care and provision in my life. He said so and even told us we can test him on this one thing (See Malachi 3:10).


    Practically speaking, giving liberates me from the worries and fears that cause me to want and hoard. It allows me to open my eyes to see God working in places I had not expected. What I do with money may say more about me than I sometimes want it to, but giving sacrificially, even when I am not sure what the outcome will be always says, “I trust you Lord.” And that’s what I want my life to say.


    Your brother in Christ,

    Alan


  • Kellie Gildersleeve

    Kellie continuously felt a nudge to serve with CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) and finally gave in. On Sunday, August 13 she shared her story of how she felt God calling her into this roll and what is doing as a result.

    Listen now

  • Carrie Soubra

    Carrie Soubra has been a part of Chestnut Grove for several years. She recently served as the Interim Youth Minister which is a significant part of her story of God's work in her life. She shared her story on Sunday, August 13. 

    Listen now

  • Landon and Erin Collins

    Giving has always been a part of our Spiritual journey as a family yet I don’t know how Spiritual it has always been. Only within the last five or six years has giving truly lead us towards a fulfilled life of following Jesus. There are three reasons our family gives of our resources, which include: Time, Finances, Home, Energy, and God-given Gifts. 

    Joy: Our family has truly experienced the joy of giving ourselves and our resources away. I read somewhere in the Bible that it is better to give than to receive and that seems to resonate with us. It hasn’t always been easy and sometimes we wonder why we do it. But when we see how God has used what we have given back to Him, our hearts are filled with joy.

    Perspective: If every breath we take is from our Creator then certainly all our other resources come from God as well. Giving has allowed our family to develop a healthy perspective of all that we possess. This includes the air we breathe, the children we have been blessed with, the house we live in, the gifts/passions we have been given, and our finances. We have done our best to understand that all we have comes from God and giving it away has helped us in this endeavor.

    Obedience: Giving of yourself and your resources isn’t always easy, in fact most of the time it’s difficult. Whether it is giving away finances when the budget is a tight that month, opening your home when you would rather just have a quiet evening, or giving of your time when there is other stuff to do, giving requires us to die to ourselves and nobody wants to do that. However, we trust that the Creator of our lives knows far more about what leads to an abundant and full life than we do. 

    So we do our best to give out of obedience and in doing so we have developed a healthy perspective and have been filled with Joy.


    Landon & Erin Collins

  • Jane Gildersleeve - Neighboring

    Our little cul de sac has been pretty stable for years with little change in residents. This spring, we had two families move out and two new families move in. I was able to meet the couple next door quite easily as they were outside when I arrived home. It was more difficult to meet the couple across the street. One evening, I saw them outside and introduced myself. I found out that they had a 10 yr old and were expecting another son. I thought that they could probably use a baby gift as they probably did not have too many baby things left from a 10 yr old. I tried to bring over the baby gift several times but Lateesha did not answer the door. A couple of weeks went by and I was hosting for a Potluck/Potluck at my home. We had a wonderful time. As I was saying my goodbyes to everyone, I noticed that Jamille, the new dad was outside. I grabbed the gift and went over and talked to the proud dad and gave him the gift. I then went home to cleanup from the dinner. Within 30 min, I heard my doorbell ring. It was Jamille with a hand written thank you note. I think he was surprised that a stranger would think of them. Turns out he is an EMT which is good to have around!

    Now, we wave and say hi. I need to get to know them better but at least we have a start


  • Melissa Ballif

    When I was asked to write about stewardship, I searched for the right words and stumbled across the following quote: “Stewardship is more than an obligation. It’s an opportunity—to witness to the reckless nature of God who gives the free gift of salvation by grace to all who will receive it. Generosity is the fullest expression of the life of a steward, one who has been given a gift, a gift that must be used wisely and for a purpose, bringing glory to God.” [Excerpted from “Contagious Generosity” by Jim Sheppard & Chris Willard, Zondervan, 2012]


    When we reflect that all we have and all we are is a blessing from God, we are obliged to respond. With gratitude, we return a portion of that which we have been given. I view giving to the church as an opportunity - a chance to participate in good works with an active Savior and a caring church community. One way to grow in faith is to challenge ourselves to continually invest more of who we are and what we have into God’s calling for our lives. Sharing of our time, our talents or our treasures is not easy but it is rewarding.


    Melissa Ballif

    Finance Chair 2017


  • Evan Mitchell

    Evan is a recently graduated Senior who has been involved in our youth ministry for several years. On Youth Sunday, Evan shared his story with the congregation. 

    Listen to his story

  • Tucker morris

    Tucker is a recently graduated Senior who has been involved in our youth ministry for several years. On Youth Sunday, Evan shared his story with the congregation.

    Listen to his story

  • Sammy Rainey

    Sammy is a recently graduated Senior who has been involved in our youth ministry for several years. On Youth Sunday, Evan shared his story with the congregation.

    Listen to his story

  • Katie Alfano - Whole Hearts & Rough Edges

    Katie Alfano has been serving in the music ministry at Chestnut Grove for roughly 20 years. She began by leading the Children's choir and for the last 13 years she served on staff as the Director of Music Ministries.  Sunday, January 22, 2017 was Katie's last day serving on staff as she is officially retired. She shares the story of her journey with God and at Chestnut Grove.

    Listen to her story

  • Bill Tornrose

    Bill Tornrose has previously served as a deacon. On Sunday, January 15, 2017 he was reappointed to serve another two years. He shares his story of how God has recently been working in his life. 

    Listen to his story

  • Melissa Ballif

    Melissa is a recently appointed Deacon at Chestnut Grove. She shared her story on Sunday, January 15, 2017. Melissa is committed to serving Chestnut Grove in this role for the next two years. 

    Listen to her story

  • David Proffitt

    David is a recently appointed deacon at Chestnut Grove. He shared is story on Sunday, January 15, 2017. David is committed to serving Chestnut Grove in this role for the next two years. 

    Listen to his story

  • Freedom Sunday - Erin Collins

    On Sunday, September 25 we celebrated Freedom Sunday in connections with International Justice Mission in order to promote awareness of the problem of modern day Slavery. Erin shared her story of her calling and passion to women who have been caught up in the sex industry or trafficked.

    Listen to her story

  • Freedom Sunday - Val Lokker

    On Sunday, September 25 we celebrated Freedom Sunday in connections with International Justice Mission in order to promote awareness of the problem of modern day Slavery. Val shared her story about her connections with international labor and sex trafficking.

    Listen to her story

  • LIVING FREE

    Living Free is committed to providing active, non-active & retired patriot families with the life skills and support necessary to face their next BIG adventure in life together. On Sunday, August 28 several individuals connected with this ministry shared their stories of serving others.

    Listen to their story

  • Earlysville Exchange

    Established in 2014 by Chestnut Grove Baptist Church, the Earlysville Exchange is an outgrowth of our broad commitment to serving the needs of our Earlysville neighbors and surrounding counties. On Sunday, August 28 several individuals shared their experience of bearing fruit through this ministry. 

    Listen to their stories

  • Frank Ballif

    Frank has been attending Chestnut Grove for several years. About 18 months ago he made a shift from being a consumer of religion to coming alive by following Jesus. Frank shares his story of how God has been Forming him over the last 18 months. 

    Listen to his story

  • Dominic Ruiz

    Dominic is a member of the Youth Ministry here at Chestnut Grove. This summer he had the opportunity to join God in sharing the gospel and helping someone find new life in Jesus Christ. On Sunday, August 21, he shared how he was Formed through joining God as He was working in others. 

    Listen to his story

  • Children's Ministry

    Each summer our Children's Ministry attends CentriKid. On Sunday, August 21, Barbara Ewdards and several of the kids that went to camp shared how God was at work in their lives, connecting them with eac hother and with Him. 

    Listen to their story

  • Katie Alfano

    Katie is the Music Minister at Chestnut Grove. On Sunday, August 14 she shared her story of connecting with God through times of worshiping with others.

    Listen to her story

  • Robbie and Allison Yeaman

    Robbie, Allison, and baby John Henry live in rural Madison VA. On Sunday, August 14 they shared their story of incarnational ministry and participating with God as they try to love their neighbors as Jesus would.

    Listen to their story

  • Rebecca Abernathy

    Rebecca sings in one of Chestnut Groves praise bands. On Sunday, August 14, she used her voice to proclaim God's restoration of all things. 

    Listen to her story

  • Lauren Tornrose

    This summer Lauren was on staff at Centrifuge. She had several opportunities to see God at work celebrate what He was doing. On Sunday, August 14 she shared a few stories of God at work in the lives of a couple of teenagers.

    Listen to her story

  • This is my father's World by Laura Vinzant

       In 2001, Schuyler and I had been married for 2 years. I was 28 years old and beginning to think about starting a family. Then September 11th came. Among the many thoughts and emotions I felt at that time, I started wondering about the wisdom of bringing a new life into such a dark world. 

       Fast forward two years to September 2003 when Callie was born. We were at war with Iraq. Hurricane Isabella had just ravaged the mid-Atlantic. The headlines from the day of Callie’s birth included one that read “More Americans in Poverty in 2002, census study says.” Time had dulled my fears a bit, but the world still seemed a scary place.

       My friend Holly Sinclair had given me a cd with songs to listen to as I spent those first weeks home with my new baby. One of the songs on it was This is My Father's World – a familiar hymn that began to take on new meaning for me. “This is my Father’s World, O let me ne’er forget that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.”

       This is my Father’s world. The evidence is all around us in “rocks and trees and skies and seas” – and I could see it especially clearly in the tiny fingers and wispy hair of my newborn. She is one of the wonders wrought by His hand.


  • Jesus by Lindsay Harris

       As I reflected about Jesus on Youth Sunday, I thought of Him as not discriminating. His love for his Father’s people isn’t discriminating nor does His death discriminate against any particular sin from being saved by grace. Jesus’ love and forgiveness are for all who will receive it and are given by Him in a thoughtful way that allows Him to meet people where they are. Our current national and world climate appears to be in quite the opposite state, offering up status and power as forms of love in a discriminating ideology with selective forgiveness. This includes race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, disabilities, age, appearance, education, parenting styles, employment, possessions….the list goes on.

       I used to pray for God to make the discrimination stop and for people to start forgiving. More recently I added to my prayer: "please reveal to me how I’m participating in discrimination so that I may stop; please reveal to me how I can forgive; please help me to love others without discrimination; please help me to be ever growing in knowledge to be open in mind, in heart, and in perspective. Please help me to be an expression of You so that Your people might know You better."

       As follower of Jesus, I have the opportunity to extend love and grace to all of God’s children. And as I member of the Church, I know the Church’s members have this opportunity too. I was reminded recently that a musician is very powerful and moving but a band or orchestra of musicians is the very essence of the art of possibility. And the art is catching and beautiful! We are all individually blessed with spiritual gifts but collectively as Church we are a powerful expression of God’s love and forgiveness to all of God’s children. What a different looking “here on earth!”