Pastor Emily’s Blog

October 19, 2017

A year has passed today, but the memories are seared into my very soul. That Finance Committee meeting and the contractions that started in the conference room. The hopeful prayers for me and the baby boy stirring within me, lifted up from those faithful stewards of...

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October 12, 2017

I learned from my pastor buddies this week about a study just released in Canada called The Halo Project. Begun with the certain knowledge that religious communities (churches, synagogues, mosques, temples) hold social, spiritual, and communal value for the cities in...

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October 5, 2017

I have traveled some for work this past week, noticing that just about anywhere I go these days in ‘church-related circles,’ people have heard about our recent decisions related to our church’s physical footprint! It quickly comes up in conversation, and I’m asked...

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September 28, 2017

A liturgical tradition that I’ve come to love and deeply appreciate is that of World Communion Sunday, where Christians from all around the world share in the bread and cup together as an act of unity and mutual love. Begun in 1933 at Shadyside Presbyterian Church in...

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September 21, 2017

It has been so fun this past week to hear so many of you talking about your ‘type’! Since we began our Wednesday night class on the Enneagram last week, I’ve heard you say everything from “I’m such a 4!,” to “So THAT’S why I do that!,” to “There are 9 types, but I...

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September 14, 2017

Many of you know that I have been part of a program this past year through Leadership Education at Duke Divinity School called “A Convocation of Christian Leaders,” a year-long seminar for about 30 young pastors, denominational leaders, and seminary professors. For...

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September 7, 2017

Have you have noticed a new look on our website? If you visited http://firstonfifth.org since September 1, it has looked different than you remembered! We are so fortunate to have worked on our new site with FaithLab, a media company that helps churches and nonprofits...

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August 24, 2017

I’m certain it’s due to my life stage, but I have been seeing a lot of chalkboard signs on my Facebook feed over the past few weeks. All these pictures show kids of varying ages and sizes -- some with toothless grins, others crying because Mommy is making them take...

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August 17, 2017

“Open my eyes, that I may see, glimpses of truth thou hast for me…” I wonder how many of us have sung this old hymn and felt a real and honest desire for our eyes to be opened to the truth God has for us. In a dizzying array of information at our fingertips, facts and...

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August 10, 2017

‘Tis the season around here for a mid-year assessment when our staff completes annual job evaluations. In my mind, an evaluation is a tool of measurement upon which to reflect upon the events, priorities, decisions, gaps, and oversights of the past year of work. Part...

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August 3, 2017

I had the good fortune this past weekend to attend the 52nd Annual Freedom Fund Banquet of the Greensboro chapter of the National Association for the Advance of Colored People (NAACP). Along with about eight others, I had been invited by some friends at our sister...

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July 21, 2017

Ask just about any church like ours, and you’ll find that church life in the summer takes on a different rhythm than those hard-charging months during the school year. Many folks take vacations. Often, churches pause their Wednesday night gatherings for the summer....

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July 13, 2017

David and I agreed with each other yesterday -- this summer is whizzing by so fast! It’s mid-July already, which reminded me to check in with all of you about how your $50 “living neighborly” projects are going! In early May, we sent every family home from worship...

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July 6, 2017

My view at the moment is of the screen porch at Amma and Pop’s house. (Amma and Pop are the grandparent names of my parents.) Up above, the whirl of the ceiling fans makes this blazing hot July afternoon in Georgia manageable. To my right, baby Silas is making...

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June 29, 2017

I wrote to you last week about the unusual nature of these past few weeks, which have been so in numerous ways! Sprinkled into all the fullness of June have been several experiences for me which have reminded me of the breadth of God’s work of Love to which we all...

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June 22, 2017

You could say it’s been an unusual few weeks around here! I can’t tell you the number of times this month that I’ve wished to have had a course in seminary on engaging the media. The intense interest in our church’s future has, at times, felt like a floodlight has...

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June 15, 2017

Today’s article stems from a recent writing assignment from Ethics Daily in observance of Father’s Day about how my dad has been an encourager for me in ministry, and how other fathers of ministers could do the same. The following is my response. Enjoy, and happy...

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June 8, 2017

I can’t speak for all our staff and Special Committee, but I can say unequivocally for me that this past week has been like no other I’ve ever experienced: where some of the highest highs and lowest lows are bound up and buoyed by the God who never leaves us and the...

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June 1, 2017

June 4 is starred and circled and pinned on my calendar as a benchmark moment in the life of our church. It is, of course, Pentecost Sunday, when we celebrate the birth of Christ’s church and the unleashing of God’s spirit into the world -- howling, rushing, breathing...

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May 18, 2017

This week, our pastoral staff slipped away from the office for two days of retreat at the St. Francis Springs Prayer Center in Stoneville, about 45 minutes away from here. The center itself was so lovely, each brick and beam on the grounds carefully chosen for all...

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May 11, 2017

Oh, if you could have seen the looks on your faces! It’s not often that the pastor starts talking about handing out money, especially cold hard cash at the door. So when I said in Sunday’s sermon that each family unit in the room would receive a $50 bill when they...

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May 4, 2017

You might remember that last year, I spent a few days in May at what I called “preacher camp”! Nestled in a friend’s family cabin in Black Mountain, five pastor friends and I gathered for this inaugural experience of sermon-planning and story-sharing. We had watched...

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April 27, 2017

Conventional pastor wisdom tells us that talking about money from the pulpit is a mood-killer. “No one wants to hear that!,” the elusive they say. I suspect it’s hard to talk about money in the church for lots of reasons, chief among them that one’s relationship with...

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