Pastor Emily’s Blog

February 13, 2020

If you happened to have wandered into the Commons yesterday, here’s what you might have heard: The cover was white, kind of a papery, plastic-y material, with Precious Moments characters dressed up as biblical heroes. It was the one I used for sword drills: hardcover...

read more

February 6, 2020

I’ve got friendship on my mind this week. From the unexpected gift of a midday phone conversation with a soul friend, a few days at my annual ‘preacher camp’ with the dear friends and fellow pastor colleagues in ministry, an anticipated upcoming baby shower with...

read more

January 30, 2020

Over the past few weeks in worship, we’ve been talking together about calling -- Jesus’ calling of the disciples and his own call as God’s presence in this world. These past few days, I joined with about 30 other Baptist women in ministry to inaugurate a season of...

read more

January 23, 2020

The assistance started immediately. Edith’s unexpected paralysis was a total life change for the Carters. They had to reimagine every moment of their days, every rhythm they’d grown accustomed to, every way they tended their relationships and spaces. How would they...

read more

January 16, 2020

I’ve spent the past couple of days in Durham, gathering with a most dynamic group of Christian leaders to imagine how the institutions we lead might flourish with God’s abundant life. Called A Convocation of Christian Leaders, this group of pastors, denominational...

read more

January 9, 2020

Somehow, as if by accident or chance, the area around the lamp on my office desk has turned into a space for artifacts to orient my day. Over the years, I’ve gathered these small tokens of encouragement to anchor my working space with reminders of who I am and who I...

read more

January 2, 2020

Greetings from the second day of the year, beloved community! I pray this note finds you and yours awash in the hope, peace, joy, and love that has come to us in Christ! Knowing that sometimes the holidays are filled with more stress or different people or unfamiliar...

read more

December 19, 2019

Last December, I shared with you about Liam’s rearranging of our family’s nativity scenes, moving the animals to a front row manger seat because to him, they wanted “to smell the baby.” Just a few days ago, I was cleaning up around our house when I noticed two of our...

read more

December 12, 2019

Each year of my life as a choral singer, my Christmas season has started in the fall. That’s when the Messiah scores, the lovely anthems, the carol arrangements all come out in rehearsal. Notes are hammered out, rhythms are clarified texts are explored, vowel...

read more

December 5, 2019

“The bacon special, chunky hash browns, scrambled eggs, no toast.” “I’ll have the same thing as her, but add the wheat toast to mine.” “I’ll have the bacon special too, but grits in a bowl instead of hash browns. And a small orange juice.” “Egg whites scrambled on dry...

read more

November 28, 2019

O taste and seethe goodness of God who calls us to the table and meets us in every feast. -Jan Richardson Happy Thanksgiving, beloved community!As we gather around tables this week, I give thanks for the goodness of God who meets us there, no matter their shape or...

read more

November 21, 2019

On January 19, 2007, the beloved community of First Baptist Church on Fifth gathered in the Sanctuary for a prayer vigil. The Sanctuary was being renovated, as some of you remember. The pews had come out, the carpet had been ripped up, and the space bore signs of care...

read more

November 7, 2019

Six months ago, it was my joy to announce to the congregation the launch of our John 3:16 Innovation for Ministry Fund, First Baptist’s primary source for resourcing Christian creativity and innovation to serve the kingdom of God through the ministries and mission of...

read more

October 31, 2019

Several brief words for you on a stormy Halloween! First of all, I don’t know about you, but I am still aglow from Saturday’s Fall Festival on Fifth, right in our backyard! It was a celebration for the ages, and I am overwhelmed with gratitude for so many of you who...

read more

October 24, 2019

This Saturday, we are going to love our neighbors, right in our neighborhood. That’s what our Fall Festival coordinator Kim Wilkinson has said all along. And that is exactly what we are going to do.   Unless you’ve been traveling the world these past weeks, you surely...

read more

October 17, 2019

In Sunday’s Quarterly Church Conference presentation on the 2020 budget, several of you named a desire to read more in print regarding the church’s financial landscape in this season of budgeting and building work, beyond that which you have regularly seen and heard...

read more

October 10, 2019

As part of his wise teaching for our Wednesday night crowd yesterday, Dr. Bill Leonard asked us: “have you ever had an experience of being ‘other’, where you were clearly different than everyone around you?” Lots of nods, I noted, scanning quickly. I certainly had --...

read more

October 3, 2019

In worship this Sunday, we will gather around the table alongside Christians of all kinds, all nations, all expressions. We call it World Communion Sunday, a day when we orient ourselves to the oneness we share in Christ, a oneness made known intimately around...

read more

September 26, 2019

On Monday and Tuesday of this week, I had the honor to travel to Washington, DC as part of my work on the board of directors for the Baptist Joint Committee on Religious Liberty, or BJC for short. I was there to represent you and other CBF Baptists from North Carolina...

read more

September 19, 2019

Cheerful balloons dotted the railings. Volunteers staffed tables in droves, ready to be helpful to each guest. Staff members were planted in their spaces, eager to envelope every visitor into the vision their space makes possible. Food trucks, Italian ice, the silent...

read more

September 12, 2019

As I’m sure you know by now, this Sunday, our church family ‘moves back in’ to the Sanctuary after several months away! We celebrate that the repair work has ended, and that we can return to this beloved space which bears decades of witness to God’s work of Love...

read more

September 5, 2019

Like some of you I’m sure, I have found myself unable to look too far away from news reports of Hurricane Dorian’s landfall. I write today from my back porch, where every gust that rustles the trees, every siren that screams in the distance, every sound and rumble and...

read more

August 29, 2019

With heart and voice, colorful balloons and homemade bread, logo-dotted sweets and a community filled with the Spirit of hope and abundance, Sunday’s fall kickoff launched us into a bold and boundless year ahead! Bold love and boundless compassion, as many of you...

read more

August 22, 2019

I think my love for a working place to dream started, oddly enough, in hotel rooms as a kid. Our family traveled occasionally for short stays while at a conference with dad or on a non-beach vacation. I’d enter the room, put my things down, and go straight for the...

read more

July 25, 2019

I’m feeling a bit nostalgic in these summer weeks amidst this, the 10th anniversary of some major markers in my life. In June of 2009, I graduated from Wake Forest with my Master of Divinity degree. Two weeks later, I moved to Louisville, bought my first house, and...

read more

July 18, 2019

“It’s like we’re not even reading the same Bible.” That comment, made last night in an Adult Ministry Team meeting in response to a question about what cultural conversations most press upon our people, prompted vigorous nods around the table. Lamenting the divisive...

read more

July 11, 2019

There is a special kind of magic that seems to hang in the air at youth camp. Unlike many of the cultural rhythms of their everyday life, campers aren’t geared incessantly towards productivity and perfection and management about what comes next. One meaningful change...

read more

July 3, 2019

Our Homebound Team co-chairs gathering to pore and pray over a list of those beloveds who are home-centered in their daily rhythms, followed immediately by a room full of women who have carefully and creatively crafted notes of encouragement to send out among our...

read more

June 27, 2019

There is a unique kind of joy found in the gift of colleagues who are willing to bring their full, incarnational selves to this work of Love. And this week has been filled with that joy! Nearly our full staff stepped away from our usual rhythms for awhile this week,...

read more

June 20, 2019

Walking up those historic steps, I confess that I was more in a hurry and distracted by the sight of familiar faces to fully understand the gravity of that moment. The full weight of the moment just didn’t register until, with hundreds of voices raised singing “Lift...

read more

June 13, 2019

If ever I’m sure I’ve discovered the movements of God in the world, God finds some way to unmoor me from my expectations in ways that always, always lead to broader trust and abundant transformation. If ever I thought I had the world figured out, I have only to lift...

read more

June 6, 2019

“When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.” - Acts 2:1-2 For half a day this week, I accompanied Liam’s...

read more

May 30, 2019

Last spring, our church affirmed four priorities for mission and ministry to guide the shape of our work. These are: Cultivating the well-being of children Becoming a teaching and learning church Mitigating poverty in our community Growing in number and faithfulness...

read more

May 23, 2019

Sometimes I near the end of the full week and wonder: now what exactly happened this week? It sparks my gratitude for an ever-present phone and camera used to capture moments, stories, glimpses of the movement of God around me. Today’s post stems from those pictures!...

read more

May 16, 2019

Just outside my office hangs a lovely print, centered upon which is the classic Wendell Berry poem, “Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front.” The wisdom of this 84 year-old prophet abounds, and like the stories and teachings of Jesus -- stark, real, timeless --...

read more

May 9, 2019

This past week has afforded me two distinct and meaningful opportunities to gather with fellow pastors to talk, pray, plan, and listen to the movement of the Spirit of God all around us. The first was on Monday, where some thirty or more pastors were welcomed by the...

read more

Pin It on Pinterest