Pastor Emily’s Blog

January 18, 2018

I write to you today from my desk at home, where just outside my window, mounds of snow now dot the bushes. It’s quiet, save for the occasional squeals of our neighborhood kids who have found a nearby hill to be the prime spot for sledding. My day’s agenda has been...

read more

January 11, 2018

What I learn on any given week from the creative staff at First Baptist is legion, and a pastoral staff workday we had a few months ago was no different! We had spent the morning in prayer and careful discernment about this pivotal moment in our church’s life,...

read more

January 4, 2018

Happy new year to you, beloved community! I hope this weekly note finds you well, or if not well, in the midst of seeking wholeness and restoration of you and your family in 2018. The days of post-Christmas holidays were so nice for my family, as we gathered with both...

read more

December 21, 2017

Last week, Liam and I went to Clemmons Moravian Church on a Thursday afternoon to see our Annabelle in her new preschool’s annual Christmas show. When it was time for her class’s part of the show, she and 15 other of her new friends walked onto the stage, all decked...

read more

December 14, 2017

I’m keeping my post brief this week, simply because the words I’d love for you to read aren’t my own. You likely know that for the past few months, we’ve been working with Yonat Shimron, an accomplished journalist who writes for Faith & Leadership, an online...

read more

December 7, 2017

This time last week, I had the great privilege of gathering in our conference room for a meeting. These such gatherings are routine in the work of ministry as it takes the coming together of people and vision to make ministry come to life. This was the last of several...

read more

November 30, 2017

I walked through the office yesterday and caught a glimpse of our Ministry Assistant, Amy Cook, surrounded by pages and pages of an Advent booklet for our kids that she was putting together. Of course I needed to snap a photo and share it with the world on Facebook to...

read more

November 23, 2017

“You mustn’t wish for another life. You mustn’t want to be somebody else. What you must do is this: “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks.” I am not all the way capable of so much, but those are the right instructions.” ― Wendell Berry,...

read more

November 16, 2017

“With your stack of paper, write down one asset (physical, social, emotional, partnership, etc.) that First Baptist has -- one per sheet. Do as many as you can until I say stop!” These were our instructions in Sunday’s “Imagining the Future” gathering. Piles of paper...

read more

November 9, 2017

“When it rains, it pours.” That old adage could point to goodness: a trickle of lucky breaks that have become a windfall, joy and hopefulness in abundance. Or it often indicates an unexpected deluge of work, of tasks to complete, of anxiety and fear, of sadness and...

read more

November 2, 2017

Some of my earliest and most significant memories of church life are filled with the sounds and strains of hymns:“Blessed Assurance” at the conclusion of an emotional, week-long revival. “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder” and “Victory in Jesus” sung in the heat of an...

read more

October 26, 2017

It was pretty much the best thing ever to walk into the church’s Fall Festival last night to see our own Sally Mir decked out in costume as Martin Luther! She had it all -- the robe, the beret, and a copy of the 95 Theses with a hammer in hand. Part of what made this...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

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....

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

Pin It on Pinterest