Pastor Emily’s Blog

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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February 1, 2018

Over the past few weeks, I have delighted in hearing stories of transformation. Our youth who, after a weekend retreat together through which to deepen in relationship to God and each other, shared vulnerably with each other about their lives on an ordinary Wednesday...

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January 25, 2018

“Mission is the church in motion.” This quote from German theologian Helmut Golwitzer was how we began our time of adult faith formation last night, led beautifully by our Associate Pastor for Youth, Adults, and Missions, John Thornton, and our Missions Committee...

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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...

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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,...

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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...

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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...

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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 magazine...

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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...

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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...

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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,...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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