Welcoming a Newcomer to the East Side

Emily Penfield Featured, From the Pastor

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.  …

Where We Are and Where We’re Going

Emily Penfield Featured, From the Pastor

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. …

Where is the Church Update

Emily Penfield From the Pastor

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 …

Wholeheartedness 2.0

Emily Penfield From the Pastor

Eliza got a 2000 piece jigsaw puzzle for our family to do. It’s huge – it takes up half of our dining room table. We were working on it every day for while, but it’s hard, and we’’ve slacked off.  One reason that it’s hard is that some pieces seem to fit together, only to figure out later that they don’t – the better match is somewhere else.  So we take a piece out and put the real one in place. Sometimes we do this in life – we realize our actions and behaviors aren’t genuine or the best we …

Renewal Leave

Emily Penfield From the Pastor

In agriculture, farmers will occasionally allow a field to lie fallow or go unplanted for a season.  During this time the soil can “rest” and regain nutrients that will increase its fertility for future crops.  In October, our District Superintendent, the Rev. Sherril Clontz and our Pastor-Parish Relations Committee, chaired by Rachel Townsend, approved a renewal leave for me.  This is a time for my mind to lie fallow, for me to rest and regain some nutrients to continue my ministry appointment at WUMC.  Our Book of Discipline allows for pastors to take such a leave after 6 years in …

Updates on COVID Protocols and Visioning Process

Emily Penfield From the Pastor

At our August Church Council meeting, Chairperson Kenny Keith gave a report from her connection with the Jefferson County Health Department.  They are projecting that COVID cases with the delta variant will rise in September, especially after Labor Day.  The advice we’ve been given is that we can safely stay in-person for worship, but to not have congregational singing, even with masks.  So, hopefully, just for a few weeks, we won’t sing hymns.  However, our small but mighty choir will lead us with music so that we can still make a joyful noise to the Lord.  We will also continue …

Being Nimble

Emily Penfield From the Pastor

Until this past year, I had really only used the word “nimble” when reciting the nursery rhyme, “Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack jump over the candlestick.”  I’m not sure why Jack needed to jump over the candlestick, but I guess being nimble kept him from getting burned.  We have needed to be nimble during the COVID-19 pandemic so we cause the least amount of harm in gathering for worship and participating in other activities.  The dramatic rise in COVID cases caused by the Delta variant calls for being nimble and changing some of our protocols. Starting this Sunday, …

Quad W

Emily Penfield From the Pastor

One of the initiatives of the North Alabama Annual Conference is Ministry with the Poor.  I have served on the conference’s Ministry with the Poor Team for two years, and last year I stepped up my commitment by working with Quad W. Quad W is a national organization that our conference partners with to put college students in ministry with the Poor internships.  This summer, 8 college interns, who I’ve recruited, will come to Birmingham and live at Avondale Samaritan Place (at AUMC).  They each have 1 or 2 placements that they’ll serve which puts them in relationship and mission …

Greeting and Vision

Emily Penfield From the Pastor

No matter who you are, where you’ve come from or where you’re going;No matter what you believe or doubt:No matter who you love;God loves you and you are welcome in this place. Each Sunday we begin with that greeting. This was the greeting before I was the pastor here, so we’ve been using it for over 9 years.  To me it communicates that we are welcoming and accepting of people who have different backgrounds, different ways of thinking and different ways of loving.  In that way, it describes our congregation and how we understand God.  It says a lot.  But …

Accountability From Your Pastor

Emily Penfield From the Pastor

A friend was telling me they got an Apple Watch for Christmas.  Besides answering phone calls on your watch you can also set activity goals for the day. The goals are represented by rings, and when you complete your goal for the day, then the ring closes.  This friend was saying how helpful it was to have accountability for their physical activity and exercise, “got to make the rings close.”  There are lots of ways we can find accountability for the goals and behaviors we want to practice.  Apple is appealing to those who want an accountability tool for their …