Pastor Emily’s Blog

October 18, 2018

I continue to be so thankful for the ways you are teaching me how to live into our church’s vision from God. You remember it by now, I’m sure: We are a community in the heart of the city called by Jesus to practice bold love of God and neighbor and boundless...

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October 11, 2018

Early last week, I traveled to Washington, D. C. for the annual board meeting of the Baptist Joint Committee on Religious Liberty (BJC), where I am grateful to serve as the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina’s representative on that body. Gathering 13...

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October 4, 2018

Over the past two weeks, Leslie Lowdermilk and I have hit the road. We have traveled around to spend mornings, afternoons, and evenings with many of you, receiving the gift of hospitality from many of our generous hosts who made these capital campaign gatherings...

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September 27, 2018

For the past few weeks, I have had the privilege of leading a small group Bible study on Wednesdays at noon on the letter of Paul to the Galatians. Together, our group has walked verse by verse through this extraordinary treatise, unpacking its meaning in light of...

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September 20, 2018

Often recently, I’ve found it hard to believe that after all this time, the season of a capital campaign in our church’s life together is finally upon us. But then I remember you, dear church You’ve listened carefully over the years and prayed intentionally for our...

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September 13, 2018

Perhaps the impending arrival of Hurricane Florence on our eastern seaboard is to blame, speeding toward us like a bullet in slow motion. Or maybe it’s just me. But regardless, I have found this week to be one in which the images seem sharper, the volume louder, and...

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September 6, 2018

This past weekend, my family traveled to Louisville, Kentucky for the wedding of a dear friend of ours. Early on Sunday, I took advantage of the opportunity and had an experience so foreign to my current Sunday morning rhythms: going for a run in Louisville’s Cherokee...

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August 30, 2018

Two days, four pictures, several celebrations, one community of faith! Last Saturday and Sunday were full ones in the life of the church, stretching from age to age and catching lots of life in between. First you see a number of our kids and youth, delighting in a...

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August 23, 2018

Among the myriad of items presented, described, and announced in Sunday’s Fall Preview gathering, one was particularly exciting -- that of our new church logo! For months now, the Outreach Ministry Team and staff has been hard at work with M Creative, a values-driven...

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August 16, 2018

The life of the church, much like the lives of individuals, organizations, and cultures, is subject to the shifting of seasons. But unlike many, our church’s shared seasons of life together rise and fall with the yearly calendar, the liturgical calendar, and the...

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August 9, 2018

“Given what we saw in there, you made the right decision to take them out!” I speak today not of church buildings or budgets, but rather of my son’s tonsils and adenoids, removed earlier this week. His doctors had noted their enlargement, the way his tonsils were...

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August 2, 2018

For about 24 hours this week, I gathered at the Avila Retreat Center in Durham with a group of pastors in CBFNC churches to engage in conversation about ‘pastoral leadership in divisive times.’ Convened by our own Chris Gambill and Larry Hovis, this small group of...

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July 26, 2018

We added a new beach activity to our family’s annual rhythms this year, and I think it’s going to become a favored tradition. A night’s stroll on the pier observing all the people and activities it had to offer yielded a very earnest 5 year-old that just HAD to go...

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July 21, 2018

Long before I became a pastor, I attended a retreat led by a pastor I greatly respect, whose conversation topic for those few days centered around healthy leadership and ministerial self-care. This pastor shared of deep conflict that had existed in her church,...

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July 5, 2018

On this day after so many of us remembered and gave thanks for the freedoms our country has long held and celebrated, I share with you a brief word from one of the most courageous defenders of religious freedom I’ve ever known, Rev. Dr. James Dunn. You’ve heard me...

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June 28, 2018

Over the last several months, a number of you have given freely of your time and energies to help with our Deacon subgroup-led ‘asset divestiture and relocation.’ Or, in layman’s terms, the cleanout crew! With your help, we’ve completed hours logged, muscles used, and...

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June 21, 2018

“Speak, o Lord, as we come to you to receive the food of your holy Word…” For the past three weeks in worship, we have sung this collective prayer for illumination as we open the scriptures together, inviting God to speak: speaking through words and Word, speaking for...

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June 14, 2018

I write you today overlooking the towers of downtown Dallas, as I and more than a dozen others from our church have gathered with our larger Baptist family for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s General Assembly. These few days of convening are for us a time of...

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June 7, 2018

This past Sunday, a good crowd of you gathered in Kelly Auditorium for the first Sunday of our churchwide summer Sunday School class. By now, I’m sure you’ve heard that we are reading Rev. Adam Hamilton’s book, Making Sense of the Bible, looking carefully at the big...

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May 31, 2018

Perhaps you remember the context for these four words. A year ago this Sunday, Kelly Auditorium was packed to the gills as the Special Committee on Facilities and Mission offered a presentation to the congregation regarding the future of our church. There, we all...

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May 24, 2018

I suppose it’s only appropriate that the air conditioning broke on Sunday! On the final Sunday in which we were to gather in Buildings B & C, particularly in the chapel, we entered in to find nearly 80 degrees of warmth there to greet us due to a cranky old HVAC unit...

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A Word from Kaylee Godfrey

“Emily’s Post” By Kaylee Godfrey [old intern, new member] Since I have reached the conclusion of my internship at First on Fifth, Emily has graciously allowed me to hijack her weekly post to share with you all some of the wonderful things that have happened to me this...

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May 10, 2018

I have had the pleasure to participate in not one but two recent installation services for new friends and colleagues of mine who have recently begun their pastoral tenures at sister Baptist churches in the Triad. The first was the service of installation several...

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May 3, 2018

I write to you today from ‘preacher camp,’ where with these dear pastor friends of mine, I’ve spent several days in the mountains immersed in the work of the pastorate. Our trust and love for one another, for God, and for the church seem to run as deep and wide as our...

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April 26, 2018

I’ve shared with you before about how I have seen a professional counselor a few times in my life. As I look back on the patterns of when I have sought this kind of help, they seem to have occurred particularly in seasons of transition or change, times when I have...

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April 19, 2018

Some cautiously but all with courage, they trickled into a side room down in Kelly Auditorium as the morning warmed into being. Their questions and hopes for this place filled the room even more than they themselves packed the seats. Friendly greetings from the nearby...

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April 12, 2018

I write to you today early this morning from a hotel room in Nashville, where I’m here alongside a handful of other young pastors within the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. We have joined with hundreds of others for a conference called Q Ideas -- think TED Talks for...

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April 5, 2018

Happy Easter, beloved community! Sunday’s Easter celebration was for me filled with the spirit of new life in abundance. From the early morning breakfast assembly of goodies and coffee and new outfits, to a Sanctuary teeming with people hungry to hear good news, to...

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March 29, 2018

Just around the corner rose a burst of silver star balloons, flying as a pack in the wind while anchored to a faithful friend. Colleagues trickled in, some alone and others in groups. Shouts of recognition, long hugs of true affection years in the making, eager...

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March 22, 2018

Throughout our Lenten journey together, we have been exploring the landscapes of the path. Together, we have discovered the terrain of the wilderness and the interior, the masses and the marketplace, the world and the hour. And as these forty days draw to a close, the...

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March 15, 2018

My line of work often puts me in conversations about the seismic changes in American religious life all around us. As “volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous” as this landscape is (so much so, the acronym VUCA has been coined and used to describe it!), what is...

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March 8, 2018

I can’t tell you the number of times already this week where I have found myself recalling images, sounds, and moments from our service of worship this past Sunday! I saw the room filled with the beloved community: old friends and new members, saints and sinners...

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March 1, 2018

Like clockwork, I hear the strong and sturdy footsteps above my office, heralding his arrival each morning for another day in the work of Love. Except for Tuesdays, of course, when he has warmed up the church house in the dark, arising early in faithfulness to his...

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February 22, 2018

By the time Thursday rolls around in the weekly life of the church, I sometimes have to pause to remember and make sense of all has happened throughout the week. As I did that exercise this morning, it occurred to me that much of my time this week -- and some of yours...

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February 15, 2018

Settle in, friends -- today’s post is a longer update (with a cameo from Gary Knight too!) on happenings in our church that you need to know about.   First of all, last Wednesday the gathered community at First on Fifth heard a presentation from the Special Committee...

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A Word from John Thornton

"EMILY'S POST" is written this week by John Thornton, Associate Pastor for Youth, Adults & Missions “Take a few minutes and just write down three words that you think describe your life right now.” That was how I opened the first of three group conversations with our...

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