News from the Pastor

May 30, 2024

I am so thankful to God that I have been able to serve Woodlawn UMC for the past twelve years.  I have grown as a pastor and as one of God’s beloveds during my time at this church.  Thank you for the wonderful brunch and for including Matthew and the girls in the celebration.  We appreciate the gifts and gift card and all the notes and words you have poured out.  We appreciate all that you are! ​I am also thankful for a few weeks off before I begin my appointment at Pleasant Grove UMC.  This will give me time to travel and see
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April 23, 2024

There are some biblical scholars that say that the gospel stories of the loaves and fishes multiplied, was a miracle of generosity rather than a miracle of food creation or production. That when the people in the crowds saw the little boy with five loaves and two fish share his food, that they remembered they had a little with them too, they decided to quit hiding the sandwich they brought, they realized they could share and still have enough to eat. And everyone would have enough to eat. Our vision statement begins, “We gather at God’s table with our neighbors
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February 12, 2024

What We’re Hoping as an RMN Church As most of you know, Woodlawn was the first church in Alabama to affiliate with Reconciling Ministries Network. ( If you want more info on RMN, you can go to rmnetwork.org.)  I recently met with our RMN organizer, Helen Ryde.  Helen has worshipped with us before, most recently last spring.  Helen shared what RMN is focused on right now and as an RMN church, these are things for you to know and respond to. *General Conference will be held April 23– May 3, 2024 in Charlotte, NC.  This conference was delayed because of
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June 20, 2023

Worship this summer (June, July and August) will look a bit different, and I’d like to share with you what to expect.  Each Sunday we’ll begin with soft music from the piano or a guitar as we ready ourselves.  Continue to greet friends and catch up, but I also hope you’ll take a couple of minutes to center yourself and breathe deep.  We’ll use the same morning prayer each week in our opening, which we also used in Lent. The first hymn will be a hymn of praise, and the hymn after the sermon will be one of reflection.  The
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March 17, 2023

Transitions, whether welcome or not, often have our hearts and heads going in different directions.  We’re moving from past to future, our emotions can be contradicting or exaggerated and trying to muddle through can have us unsettled.  In the Church Office we’re going through a couple of transitions right now.  Jan Conway, who has been our Administrative Assistant for 10 years (plus stints as the organist and the choir accompanist) is retiring this month.  Jan has been my right hand during this time.  She has run the church office in a very welcoming and efficient way. One of the things
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February 1, 2023

There are times in life when our souls feel full, and other times they feel dry.  When they are full, we can often roll with the punches and manage time in the valleys easier.  When our soul is dry, we may have less capacity to make it through the hard times, or listen for guidance from the Holy Spirit.  I’ve realized in the past couple of years that I need regular soul-tending to stay close to the Divine Life that is God.  There are many ways this can be done.  One thing I do is try to start my mornings
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October 6, 2022

Last Sunday I began a 9-week series on The Beatitudes, which are found in Matthew 5: 1-12.  Nine weeks is a long time to spend on twelve verses, but the more I read, study and pay attention to what’s revealed to me, I’ve come to understand the Beatitudes as a foundation to understanding how God loves us.  Beatitudes are blessings.  The Greek word used in Matthew is makarios, which is translated “utmost joy.”   Of course, blessings bring on happiness – they are the riches of life.  If God is blessing you, then you are favored with God’s riches.  But from
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August 10, 2022

The Rev. Henry Gibson has been appointed, by Bishop Wallace-Padgett, to plant a new ministry in the Roebuck area. With the appointment, Henry will relate to 4 East Birmingham churches: Center Point, East Lake, Huffman and Woodlawn.  Some of you will remember Henry when they came to preach a few years ago.  Henry has been the pastor of Eulaton and Clay UMCs and most recently the associate pastor at Highlands UMC. We are crafting what it means for Henry to “relate” to 4 churches  – but most of it will be  engaging in ministry to the east side of Birmingham. 
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August 10, 2022

I like to keep the congregation up to date with what’s going on in the United Methodist Church.  As news of our impending “split” can be found in many forms of media, I think it’s important for us to know what is accurate and applicable for our local church. Along with our Lay Leader, Al Coltrane, and Lyn Cosby (Assistant Communication Director for the NAC), I attended the North Alabama Annual Conference June 22-24th.  As our denomination faces changes ahead, it was acknowledged honestly that some congregations are preparing to disaffiliate to either join the Global Methodist Church or other options.
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May 31, 2022

Now that the WCA has founded the Global Methodist Church (GMC), many people are wondering how that will impact the UMC. The truth is no one knows for sure. It seems obvious that many churches will choose to disaffiliate from (leave) the UMC, but the details of how that will be accomplished have not been determined. They will not be determined until our next General Conference which has now been postponed until 2024 due to the Covid pandemic and the backlog of visa applications for people wanting to attend. For more details see the April 28 issue of UM News
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