Volunteers are needed to help with brown bag hospitality on Wednesday, March 15th and Saturday, March 18th, for our neighbors who stop by for brown bags. This program provides a bag of non-perishable food to 48 local neighbors in need. Bag packing lasts from 5-6 pm Wednesday, and hospitality lasts from 10-11 am Saturday. We serve food and fellowship with guests as they arrive.
Contact Molly Merkle to volunteer!
Sunday, February 12, 2017, Beloved Community Church UCC celebrated the installation of Rev. Jennifer Sanders, the second minister to serve as head pastor of our congregation since our founding in 2000.
The service of installation celebrated the covenant between Rev. Jennifer, Beloved Community Church, the United Church of Christ and the wider community.
Continue reading Photos from our February 12th Installation Service
The sermon from Sunday, November 13 on Luke 21: 5-19 –
Y’all have heard of dystopian books and movies, right? The Hunger Games, Divergent, all those? All those stories that depict a dark, nightmarish science fiction world. Their popularity over the last few years has been really interesting to me.
In reflecting on why they’ve been such a big force, especially in media directed at teenagers and young adults, my theory is that they help us in our culture to begin to imagine a world that is quite different than the world we live in – although in some ways it’s more alike than we want to think or realize. I’s not just a different world, but a world that’s different in gritty and unpleasant ways. It is our nightmares come true.
That’s something of what is going on in this apocalyptic Scripture we’re focusing on tonight. Jesus is preparing people for a future that’s hard and will be hard. He’s reminding them to stay flexible, to be open to the demands on the moment – “make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance” – because they don’t really know what’s coming. Be ready. Be flexible. Be fluid. Be faithful.
Continue reading The World We Live In – a Sermon on Luke 21:5-19
The sermon from Sunday, November 6, 2016 on Luke 20: 27-38 –
I do not know what happens when we die.
I mean, I know what will happen to my body – that’s both the blessing and the curse of having a background in a medical field.
Ashes to ashes and dust to dust indeed.
But none of us can really KNOW what happens after we die until we get there. That’s part of the mystery of faith. Some people find that worrisome. I think it’s beautiful. The mystery of it is beautiful. Some things – even some things that matter very much – are just not based on scientific knowledge. I’m okay with that.
Doesn’t stop people from making claims or wondering, does it? Continue reading Child of the Resurrection – a sermon on Luke 20:27-38
In partnership with Family Promise and Baptist Church of the Covenant, rotating weeks with other churches across the city, we help to provide overnight shelter and meals for homeless families.
Volunteers are always needed to cook, serve and stay overnight once per quarter. You may be able to help by providing one dinner, lunch supplies, or by staying overnight with another volunteer from Church of the Covenant.
Our next dates to help will be Sunday, November 27th – Wednesday, November 30th.
The sermon from Sunday, October 30, based on today’s reading from Luke 19:1-10 (the story of Zacchaeus).
I love this story. I think it’s because Zacchaeus is short. Let’s hear it for us short folks.
I also appreciate Zacchaeus’ energy and determination here. It reminds me of a picture I saw on Facebook yesterday. Someone turned out on the late side for the parade that’s one of the highlights of Magic City Classic weekend. So this person was in the back of the crowd, but instead of a folding chair or stool, they’d brought tall step ladder – and they were sitting a few rungs up. They were in the back, so they weren’t blocking anybody. They were just coming up with a new way to make things work.
Continue reading What is Found There – a sermon on Luke 19:1-10
The sermon from Sunday, October 23, 2016 –
The words I offer you tonight in this sermon are an interpretation of the meaning we might find in this scripture. Every time you hear someone preach or someone teach or someone speak about scripture, they are all giving you an interpretation – their own human interpretation of these words that we find in the Bible.
The notion that any one human being – or any group of human beings – can describe to you THE definitive, absolute, and unchanging meaning of any Scripture is simply not possible – though many will claim it. All of us come to this place through our own human experiences and the lens of understanding that reflect the context of our lives.
That does not make our task here tonight less valuable. In fact, quite the opposite. It makes our work here together – and the ongoing conversation – all the more important. We are working with this extraordinary gift into the world, the Bible, as a unique tool, as a word from God, to help us make sense of our lives in this moment.
So I would argue that this Psalm [Psalm 65], this joyous song of thanksgiving and promise comes to us at a perfect time. We finally feel the changing of the seasons. We’ve closed out the summer and settled into the daily rhythms of the school year, the football season, and the holidays both behind and ahead.
Continue reading The Time of Harvest – A sermon on Psalm 65
The sermon from Sunday, October 16, 2016 –
Romans 2: 1-3 (NRSV) Therefore you have no excuse, whoever you are, when you judge others; for in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, are doing the very same things. You say, ‘We know that God’s judgment on those who do such things is in accordance with the truth. Do you imagine, whoever you are, that when you judge those who do such things and yet do them yourself, you will escape the judgment of God?
Tonight I’m doing a couple of other things I don’t usually do in sermons. I’ve strayed from the lectionary, which is the method we typically follow to select a passage of Scripture on which to preach.
And I’m going to talk about myself from a raw place. Conventional wisdom is to preach from your scars, those places that have healed up – not from your wounds. And yet the wound to me is in some ways a wound to our whole community – so I want to speak to it and from it for the sake of our common healing.
This does fit with one of my most basic foundations of preaching, which is that people have been preaching from the texts that make up our Bible for going on 2000 years now. That’s a lot of words that have been said about this one book.
So for it to be worth your time and my time for me to stand up here and say something and for you to listen – and not just read from something somebody else wrote 500 years ago – it makes sense that I would take these texts and examine them in light of the moment in which we live. Continue reading On Judging: A Response to “REPENT OR PERISH” theology
The Community Room will be open from 8 am to 4 pm on Saturday, October 15th.
Take time out for silent prayer, meditation, or contemplation downstairs in the Community Room. Stay as long as you like, whether that’s 10 minutes, 2 hours, or all day. People of all faiths and traditions are welcome in this shared silent space.
As always we will be surrounded by the noises of the city, the challenges of our culture, and the busyness of our lives. That is all the more reason for us – however many, however few – to spend some time in prayer, meditation, and reflection.
Join us from 5:30-7:30 for pizza with Beloved pastoral candidate Jennifer Sanders. We will have time to mingle, as well as a question and answer period with Jennifer at 6 pm. We’ll enjoy pizza from our neighbors at Post Office Pies. Please call or email to let us know if you plan to attend or if you have any food allergies so we’ll order enough for everyone!