It was suggested to me at our quarterly Town Hall Meeting at Unity of Birmingham this last Sunday that those not in attendance would like to hear the things I was talking about to those who were regarding my upcoming deployment and the ramifications for our church, so here, in a nutshell, is the straight skinny:
Item 1 – I will be coming back. Some folks have apparently been under the mistaken impression that because I am going on active duty that I am leaving the church permanently. This is not the case; I am merely going on military leave for the duration of my tour of duty. I will be returning at the end of next June, and plan to begin again next July 1 as your minister. My current contract runs through June of 2020, and I have every intention of fulfilling it.
Item 2 – The church will be well-led in my absence. Our very own Rev. Terry Price Ware has accepted the position of Associate Minister and Interim Spiritual Leader, and she will be working part-time at the church until my return. Rev. Terry will be available at the church on Tuesdays and Fridays, or by appointment for spiritual counseling, and she will be speaking twice a month. Our former Associate Minister, Rev. Christine Grace (now Senior Minister at Unity of Chattanooga) will be speaking one Sunday a month, and we have a quality lineup of guest speakers who will be coming in to round out the schedule. Additionally, we have hired Jolie Jones to serve as Church Administrator, and she will be there whenever the doors are open, which leads me to
Item 3 – The church hours have changed. In order to facilitate keeping the church staffed, we have had to pull back on the number of hours the office is open during the week. As of May 1, our new operating hours are Tuesday through Friday and Sunday from 10AM to 2 PM. Because that has the possibility of impacting our mail delivery, the church has a new mailing address: Unity of Birmingham, PO Box 131477, Birmingham, AL, 35213. Please use that address for all snail-mail correspondence, and mailed in tithes and love offerings.
We will have dynamic services, a thriving youth program, an excellent Board, and a core group of volunteer teams working together to continue the spiritual growth of everyone who comes to Unity of Birmingham. I have every confidence that the church I come home to will be in even better shape than the one from which I depart. My invitation to all of you is to find a way to step your game up a notch this year: pray a little more; serve a little more; give a little more. You will be amazed not only at what it does for our spiritual home, but what it does for you. And remember, you and our church home will always be in my thoughts and prayers.
With much love and many blessings,