Happy New Year! We begin this first full week of the New Year resuming our regular schedule of weekday activities. This includes Wednesday evening Fellowship Supper, Prayer Time and Bible Study beginning at 5:30 p.m. and on Thursday, the Men’s Bible Study at noon and the Communion Service at 5:30 p.m. I look forward to seeing those able to attend any, or all, of these gatherings this week.
In the Bible Study this evening, we will refresh our minds regarding the beliefs we share with all Christians and how that common ground provides opportunities to identify shared values and to address needs across lines and labels that often divide people of faith.
Happy New Year! Here we go again; another year ending and one of unblemished days right before us. There is still a little time in 2019 to finish a task or two that you just have not addressed thus far and instead have carried them forward day after day. I find it a little disappointing if I drag too many unfinished tasks into a new year, especially the kind to which I am referring. These are those items so easily postponed, such as writing a letter or note of appreciation to a friend or a call to a family member or friend to initiate efforts to repair and restore a strained or broken relationship. Maybe it is to make anadditional financial contribution to your churchor other charitable organization, or send a note pledging you time and talents in the mission of that organization.
The opportunity is before us to end the year in a positive way, poised to embrace the days of 2020 that God grants to us. We should do so with a mind that is open, clear and eager to perceive the possibilities before us and to faithfully respond as God gives us guidance. May God bless you in 2020.
Worship last Sunday, the second Sunday of Advent, was a glorious and uplifting service. Of course, a bittersweet reality was on everyone’s mind as it was also the last Sunday for Dr. Roxburgh to serve as our Pastor for Preaching and Teaching. We have benefited from and enjoyed greatly Dr. Roxburgh’s teaching and preaching as well as the warm friendship developed over these years.
Following worship, a reception was held in Dr. Roxburgh’s honor at which we all had an opportunity to personally express our love and appreciation to him. Thank you to all who had a part in creating the wonderful service of worship and to those who labored to provide the superb reception. Everyone may not have received the invitation to participate in the special love offering presented to Dr. Roxburgh. If you would like to contribute, send your gifts to the church office or you can submit them on-line.
This Wednesday evening following the Fellowship Supper and Prayer Time, we will take a look ahead at the Wednesday programming for the next several months. On Thursday, the Men’s Bible Study will meet at noon, and at 5:30 p.m. the Communion Service will be held in Memorial Chapel. This Sunday, the Sanctuary Choir will present the Advent and Christmas music they have been preparing. It will be a wonderful time of worship. Each of these gatherings are opportunities to further prepare ourselves in this Advent season as we wait with expectancy, anticipation and excitement. Matthew writes in his account of the gospel that a forerunner of Jesus would come and prepare the way for the Messiah: This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord make his paths straight.’” (Mt 3:3)
We know that Christ has come and we await his coming again as the risen Christ promised the Disciples when he departed. He also promised that another would be sent, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, to be with us until that day,
We have the opportunity each day to prepare our lives for the one that is with us now as we wait for the one to come. During Advent, through prayer and meditation we listen for the voice of God. What is God saying to you? What is God revealing to you? What is God directing you to do? In what way is the Spirit of Christ nudging you?
It seems as though we were just getting our fall calendar of events scheduled, and now suddenly we are already in the first week of Advent. Please take note of the various opportunities available to make this Advent season a very special time for you and your family. If you have not already signed up for the daily Advent devotionals that are scheduled to go out to subscribers, please take a moment to do so. SSBC members wrote these devotional emails which adds to the enjoyment and inspiration we receive from them. The cover art which provides a visual expression of the Advent theme, “Come, let us walk in the light of the Lord.” (Is. 2:5) was designed by our own Chris McClendon-Bennett. Additional art by SSBC children contributes even more color and variety to the printed devotional booklets available in the Davis Lobby and the Narthex. Thank you to all who helped produce the guide this year; we all are being blessed by these efforts.
We are back on schedule with our Wednesday and Thursday activities after the week off for Thanksgiving, so please take notice of those events in the weekly calendar.
This Sunday is the last Sunday that our beloved Pastor for Preaching and Teaching, Dr. Roxburgh, will be with us. After his trip to Scotland to visit family, he will return to teach at Samford and to devote time to research and writing. We have all been blessed through his ministry with us at Southside now into its fifth year. We have learned much through his teaching, and we have been inspired, comforted and challenged through his thoughtful homilies delivered lovingly from a pastor’s heart. We will honor Dr. Roxburgh this Sunday following the worship service with a reception in Dillard Lobby. I hope you are present to express to him your love and appreciation for leading and walking alongside us through these years. We will certainly miss him and pledge a prayer of Godspeed for his work and life in the days ahead.
This is Thanksgiving week and our usual schedules and routines will be greatly altered to celebrate with family and friends. Hopefully, as we gather around the table to enjoy a Thanksgiving feast, or engage in conversation while resting and relaxing with loved ones, we will take time to offer thanks to God for our many blessings. Although we as a church family will not have our usual Wednesday evening actives, there is an opportunity for everyone to gather with our friends in the Southside neighborhood for the annual Five Points Community Thanksgiving Service today at 12:00 p.m. This year, the service is being hosted by South Highlands Presbyterian Church, 2035 Highland Avenue. Following the worship service, for those able to stay, we will share a meal with our community neighbors. (There is no charge for the lunch.) I look forward to seeing those able to attend the service.
I hope and pray that you have a wonderful and happy Thanksgiving, and I look forward to seeing you on the first Sunday of Advent 2019.
A lot is happening in our neighborhood this week, some at Southside Baptist Church and some in our larger community. In addition to our weekly activities, the Southside Faith Communities is holding the 3rd of a three part series, Serving the Homeless: Homeless Prevention Series, this Wednesday. Those able to attend are encouraged to join other volunteers at 8:30 a.m. at Highland’s United Methodist Church to assist in their daily feeding program. The volunteers will discuss the experience among those participating from 10:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. Lunch and a panel discussion will be conducted from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.. Below is a list of those on the panel that will be presenting and answering questions.
Moderator – Adam Burns, Senior Pastor at Church of the Reconciler
Parrish Knorr, Senior Director of Housing at the YWCA
James Fowler, Director of the Dept of Transportation, City of Birmingham
Lisa Singer, Staff Attorney at Volunteer Lawyers Birmingham
Val Green, Assistant Director at the Firehouse Shelter
Jessica Evans, Street Outreach Advocate at CAP
I encourage you to attend and participate in as much of this event as possible.
On Wednesday evening at Southside, we will have a Thanksgiving celebration with good food, fellowship and a time of giving thanks through worship. I look forward to seeing you then.
I pondered that question again this past Sunday as I witnessed God’s activity within the walls of the building where we all gather each week. In addition to our congregation’s fellowship, study and worship, the Korean Baptist Church, Lighthouse International Church and The Church at Birmingham all met for worship in different parts of the building as we simultaneously worshiped in the Sanctuary. Iron City Church worshiped in the Sanctuary in the late afternoon, while at the same time, the Korean Baptist Church prepared for an Installation Service for their new pastor to be held in the early evening. I participated in that service and, on your behalf, delivered words of congratulations and encouragement to Rev. and Mrs. Kim and the Korean Baptist Church. As the installation service was ending, a group of about a dozen pediatric chaplains arrived for a Pediatric Chaplains Workshop in the Heritage Room. I reflected on the events of the day as it drew to a close. The various congregations in their worship spaces, Drennen Hall filled with 150+ people from the various Korean communities of faith in Alabama, and chaplains honing their gifts and training, all reminded me that God’s activity surrounds us. Christ’s Spirit is present in this community and in this space. It is tremendously difficult, perhaps impossible, to determine the value of a sacred place where God’s love, mercy and grace, touch lives, relieve suffering, provide healing and wholeness, and offer hope for today and eternity.
We follow our regular schedule of activities this week with fellowship supper and Bible Study tonight and the Communion Service on Thursday. I hope you will make plans to participate in these opportunities this week.