Being the Church While Not at Church

Emily Penfield Featured, From the Pastor

During this COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot gather at the church building; however we can still be the CHURCH, following Jesus Christ and sharing God’s love with others.  Here are ways you can BE THE CHURCH.  *Reach out to friends, family, church members. You can do this by phone or letter.  Call the church office if you need a particular phone number or address.  Leave a message if we don’t answer. Especially remember those who are alone where they are (home, retirement or nursing facility). *Worship God  You can do this ANYWHERE!  Pray, Sing, Dance, Read Scripture in your home, outside …

More Than Thoughts and Prayers

Emily Penfield From the Pastor

Last Sunday morning, a robbery and shooting happened a block from the church. A Birmingham police officer was shot trying to stop the robbery suspects.  Officer Finke remains in the hospital today; but we rejoice that he is on the road to recovery.  I had just arrived in the parking lot when the shooting occurred, but by the time much of our congregation were on the way to the church, many of Woodlawn’s streets, including ours had been barricaded. The investigation was in full force.  It can be very disconcerting to drive towards your church and see blue lights flashing …

Enfleshed

Emily Penfield From the Pastor

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.  (John 1: 14) “Enfleshed” is our theme for worship this Advent.  Advent pretty much comes with its own theme – it is the season we prepare for the coming of Jesus.  The thing is, there are SO MANY things going on at the same time as Advent that don’t prepare us for the coming of Jesus.  My hope is that worship every Sunday for the next few weeks will focus us on …

One Step Back, Two Steps Forward

Emily Penfield From the Pastor

I’ve been using this space in recent months to share with you about our church’s move to create a non-profit organization to sustain and grow our low-income food cooperative ministry.  This month is no different, except I want to share one step that we didn’t expect. We named our organization Table to Table, Inc. because the co-ops bring neighbors together serving each other to put food on their dining tables.  It also represents God’s bountiful table where we are fed a meal of forgiveness and redemption, and where there is space for all people.  We were notified last month that …

It’s Been Five Years!

Emily Penfield From the Pastor

September 2019 marks five years that we’ve operated our low-income food cooperatives.  The first one began meeting on September 2, 2014 with 10 families.  We’ve grown to serve 50 families which represent 156 people we are engaged with in our community.  Over the past 5 years, we’ve served 300+ people and made some wonderful relationships and connections, in the midst of this empowering endeavor. As communicated earlier this year, we’ve formed Table to Table, Inc, a non-profit organization supporting this ministry.  Currently, the Table to Table board is working on fundraising, with the goal of expanding to three co-ops.   We …

Community Event Wish List

Emily Penfield From the Pastor

Friends, As you are out and about, could you please help us with our “wish list” for items we would like to add to our stockpile for community events such as Trunk or Treat, the Easter Egg Hunt, and perhaps a new one or two!  Stay tuned! Just put the item(s) in the brown basket and we’ll get them sorted!  Also, there is one “big” wish at the end of this list.  It’s not an immediate need but is something we could really use if one becomes available. Thanks!Kenny   Community Event Wish List   Gently loved stuffed animals of …

Persistent and Persevering Prayers for Provisions

Emily Penfield From the Pastor

During July and August, our sermon series is on PERSEVERING, and we are using stories from the book of Acts to learn how to persevere in our discipleship.  As I was studying this topic, I came across another story where someone had persevered in getting what they needed.  In Luke 11: 5-13, Jesus tells of a friend who needs some bread and knocks on a neighbor’s door late at night with his request.  At first the answer is “no” but the friend is persistent in knocking and asking for bread.  Finally, Jesus says, the neighbor will get up and get …

Letters from the Council Chair and the Pastor

Emily Penfield From the Pastor

Peter, Paul and Persevering When conflict arises, do you fight or take flight?  Most of us handle stress, anxiety or other emotions that conflict or tension create, by staying with it and pushing through, OR running away.  Sometimes, depending on the situation, backing away is appropriate.   But when we think about ministry, justice work, courageous conversations, or working on healthy relationships what is usually called for is perseverance. When I was a young adult, I was definitely a runner.  And also an avoider.  I would go way out of my way to avoid a tough situation.  If I felt someone …

Vacation Time

Emily Penfield From the Pastor

It’s that time of year when many people take vacations and plan getaways from their routine.  It can be refreshing to take a break, check out different scenery, immerse yourself in a new environment.  Summer, which often has a relaxed schedule, is an opportune time for this.  I’m looking forward to my girls’ being out of school so we can take a trip together later this month. I’m really pleased that we now have an excellent way to keep people connected and engaged when they out-of-town or can’t come to Sunday worship:  our podcast.  A podcast is a recording that …

Walking Through Forgiveness

Emily Penfield From the Pastor

Most people who’ve ever forgiven someone know that forgiveness is a process.  It’s hardly ever instant.  My dad and I had a tough relationship during my teens and early 20s.  Soon after my wedding, my dad announced that he was divorcing my step-mother (the source of our trouble) and he wanted to come see me.  Matthew and I were living in Atlanta and going to seminary. My dad was coming in for a business meeting, but had a few hours to meet me.  It was a nice spring day and he suggested we go for a walk as we talked. …