I am not a planner. That probably doesn’t come as a surprise to many of you.
I have never had the knack that my older sister has of making a 5-year plan for her life and sticking to it, checking things off one by one. I don’t think I’ve ever even tried to make a 5-year plan; I knew that if I did, I would lose it before I even started it.
When it comes to travel I make all my plans at the last minute and I make sure they are flexible because who knows what might come up to alter your plans.
In a way, I take heart in my lack of planning. The old saying makes sense to me, that “when people plan, God laughs.”
I’m not much of a planner but when I look back on my life, it makes sense. Even with all the mistakes I have made along the way, I can see some intelligent design, and the intelligence is not mine.
I’m not much of a planner but I’ve learned that God always has plans for me. Over time, I have become much more intentional in listening to the Spirit whispering to me, nudging me, urging me, cajoling me, inviting me, maybe at times even howling at me when I just wouldn’t get it.
I have learned to listen to God. Sometimes I get very clear direction in my dreams or from the wisdom of others. Other times I just know, I just know that it is God leading me along a path.
When I was seeking ordination, I began to wonder if I was hearing God’s voice or my own. I had just about decided to withdraw from the ordination process when three leaders at a national gathering of multi-faith activists sought me out to say that God had led them to urge me to stay in the ordination process.
I took that as a sign that could be trusted.
The following was Rev. Angie’s charge to Rev. Paul Eknes-Tucker, the new pastor at our sister church Pilgrim UCC, on the occasion of his installation service Sunday, October 4th, 2015 in Birmingham, Alabama.
I charge you to love wastefully.
Cast seeds of love everywhere
Without thought of where they land,
Without worry about whether
Under the dark earth
They are beginning to sprout
Or whether they will bear fruit.
It is not your job to bring fruit from a seed,
That is God’s work.
Your work is to sow the seeds
Of wanton, prodigal love
In the hearts of your people
And to remember that
are your people.
You are invited to the Alabama-Tennessee Association Annual Meeting at Covenant Community Church Friday October 2nd through Saturday, 3rd, October 3rd, 2015. This meeting will begin on Friday with a dinner at 6 pm and will conclude on Saturday afternoon around 3.
On Friday evening, we will hear a keynote address from Rev. Traci Blackmon (shown above), pastor of Christ the King Church UCC in Florisant, Missouri, who is a voice for justice in Ferguson and beyond. We will also enjoy worship led by Rev. JR Finney and the worship team at Covenant.
Saturday, we will have workshop discussions on race and will continue the business of the AL/TN Association of the UCC.
For details and a registration form, please contact Mr. Joe Griffin at Covenant Community Church, 205-599-3363.
Friday, October 9th (evening): Church Council retreat
Saturday, October 10th, 9 am – 3 pm: Full church retreat
All are welcome! The cost is free, but we welcome donations to help defray the costs of food and lodging.
You are invited to the public premiere of a film featuring our Beloved Rev. Lawton Higgs, about his journey from a racist upbringing to founding a multiracial church. This screening is free and open to all, Friday, October 9th, 6:30 pm at Beloved.
More details from the Kickstarter campaign: “In 1984, the Rev. R. Lawton Higgs, Sr. had a religious epiphany standing in the turn lane of 8th Avenue N., in Birmingham, Alabama.
‘I discovered that my beliefs were incompatible with God’s call to love one another,’ he says. In that moment, Lawton became a ‘recovering racist,’ and in the years to follow, he founded a multicultural, multiracial church in the heart of downtown Birmingham, ministered to the homeless, and became an advocate for the poor.”
Sunday, October 4th through Tuesday, October 6th, we need volunteers to help us host homeless families at Baptist Church of the Covenant (2117 University Boulevard).
Volunteers are needed to stay overnight from 7 pm-7 am (a portable mattress will be provided in a private room; you only need to bring bedding). You will be able to socialize with the families and kids who are staying at the church and make sure they have what they need.
Volunteers are also needed to provide dinners, breakfast foods and sack lunch ingredients.
Beloved supports this ministry by partnering with Baptist Church of the Covenant four times a year. Family Promise is unique because it is a network of churches offering up their buildings for homeless families to stay together. It is one of very few programs that can accommodate entire families without splitting them up. Family Promise also provides a case manager to help families get back to stable housing.
Contact Linn Groft to volunteer!
Volunteers are needed at 5:00 pm Wednesday the 21st to help pack Brown Bags for around 50 families who get food assistance each month.
Volunteers are also needed 9:45 am Saturday, October 24th to help host neighbors who stop by for a brown bag. Hospitality ends at 11. We serve food and fellowship with guests as they arrive.
Contact Molly Merkle to volunteer!
I used to think that Jesus’ admonition to “shake the dust off your feet” was a silent, nonviolent and slightly snarky protest against those who didn’t welcome the followers of Jesus.
But recently I joined faith leaders from across the country in a deep immersion in Honduras and Guatemala seeking to understand root causes of migration.
Now I hear Jesus saying,
“When you go into a community, go with your hands and pockets empty. Bring no gifts that leave room for empty promises, no gifts that can be used to manipulate, no gift that may insult or mislead. Come with empty hands and an open heart. If the community does not receive you, then leave, and as you leave, shake the dust off your feet. Take nothing that is not freely given, not even the dust on your feet. If the community doesn’t welcome you, leave it just as you found it.” Matthew 10:9-14.