Window | Summer 2021

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THE

S U MMER 2021 | V OL 7 3 | I SSU E 3

WHEN WE ARE TOGETHER

B Y R E V. S U S A N C L AY TON, AS S OCIATE PAS TOR , CONGREGAT IONAL CARE & ADULT FAIT H F ORMAT ION AND RE V. D AV I D S E A M ON, AS S OCIATE PAS TOR , FAITH FORMAT ION

T

he next time you hear someone tell their story, we want you to listen closely for one particular part. Pay attention to the point when they say their faith grew. Many times, people will say that their faith grew during the toughest times in their lives. And then they’ll say that engaging with God, God’s Word, their church community and God’s work in the world is what sustains them through the other times. The answer is God. The answer is God’s Word. The answer is God’s people. The answer is God’s work in the world. So, what’s the question? Whichever one you’re facing right now. What do I need to do to get my life back on track? Who could possibly understand the pain I feel? This past year has been one of the toughest times we can recall. And yet, God has been gracious and faithful through all of the ups and downs we’ve faced. We have

IPC ME MBERS OVERL OOKED T HE CIT Y F OR SUNSET COCKTAIL S AND SU P P ER O N J UNE 17 T O KICK OF F IPC CONNECT, A NEW MINIST RY OF CONGREGAT IO N A L C A RE OFFE R ING OPPORT UNIT IES F OR IPC ADULT S T O CONNECT.

missed you! And we’re so thankful that our church doors are open once again. This summer we’ve seen: • More than 80 children at VBS with 35 adult volunteers

• •

Approximately 65 children at Bible Times Marketplace with 25 youth volunteers and 40 adult volunteers Close to 150 members gathering at the Cooley’s for our first IPC CON TIN U E D O N P G 5

FEATURING

FEATURING

LEARN

MISSION

Meet New IPC Pastor Kevin Long P G 4

Farewell to Interim Pastor Dr. Steve Goyer P G 6

IPC's Summer Learning Program PG 8

Hunger never takes a summer vacation PG 1 0

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How am I going to make it through this?


UPCOMING

events See complete calendar online including details and updates: ipc-usa.org > connect

JULY 4 Independence Day, 11 am Worship Service Only, No Sunday School 5 Church Offices Closed

11-17 2021 Youth Montreat Conference 15 IPC Foundation Lunch & Learn: Community on the Rise, 11:30 am

IPC Connect Event: A Night at the Barons, 7:05 pm

18 Dr. Goyer's Last Sunday Preaching See page 7 19 Beer & Hymns, Iron City, 7 pm AUGUST

1 IPC Connect Event, An Afternoon at the Matinee, Noon 12-15 2021 Women's Montreat Conference 15 Fall Kick-Off Event See back 18 Youth Grant Teams Begin

19 IPC Foundation Lunch & Learn: PARCA, 11:30 am 16 Beer & Hymns, Iron City, 7 pm 22-28 Serve at First Light

27-28 Youth Confirmation Retreat 30 IPC Day School Begins SEPTEMBER

1 Wednesday Nights Resume

5 Intergenerational Sunday School Offering, 10 am 6 Labor Day, Church Offices Closed 20 Beer & Hymns, Iron City, 7 pm

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25 Fourth Grade Bible Retreat 26 Evensong, 4 pm

Calendar information included is current as of production time.

CONSIDER THIS

The Unexpected Way God Calls Us Dear IPC Friends,

There is so much I want to say to you in this Window that this whole edition could not hold it all. Therefore, I will edit myself within reason. First, I'm deeply grateful for the welcoming, trust, love, and community you've shown Anita and me these past 15 months. In ways hard to explain, coming back to Birmingham as your interim pastor, after leaving when I was six, has been remarkably redemptive and reconciling. It seems clear that the providential hand of God’s grace helped connect a circle I didn’t know

existed until I got here. In a sermon a while back, I mentioned that in March 2020, when Covid-19 was becoming a huge “thing,” I prayed with my Jacksonville prayer group on March 7 for God to show a way to serve. However, I forgot to lift up longitude and latitude coordinates. That same night, Bill Carl (after he told me I was the 28th person he had called) asked if I would be interested in coming to Birmingham. I said, “No, but thanks for asking. I really don’t want to do interim ministry and especially out of town. But tell me about IPC so I can help you find someone.” We continued to talk, and two hours later, after Bill shared the “whole” story of what you had gone through, I hung up, found Anita, and laughingly goaded her, asking if she wanted to move to Birmingham for a year or so. “What are you talking about?” she laughed. Then I told her about the call and how I of course said “no.” She goaded me back, “You said ‘no’ already? Maybe you should have waited a day or so…” That night I surfed the internet reading everything available online about IPC, including the history of how it became “Independent Presbyterian” after Henry Edmonds was charged with heresy over his resistance to the doctrine of “substitutionary atonement.” This not only got my interest; it got my respect. Then I called around to some friends for their opinions, some of whom were part of the 28 Bill had already approached. I couldn’t shake it. Then, after a couple of days, my “no” became God’s “yes,” teaching me once again to stay open to the unexpected way God calls us. This is to say, I'm grateful to God, grateful to Anita for giving me up, and grateful to you for letting me help in some small way during my call with you through this very strange Covid-19 interim. Soon after arriving, many of you shared how “stormy” things were, but I quickly learned this IPC house was not built on sand. Digging (metaphorically) around in the dirt, it was clear your strong foundation was intact, shoring up the pillars of 106 years of tradition and faith. I got to know the superb staff who, while reeling a little and needing to catch their breath, soon mounted up like wings on eagles to help reorganize and find the right seats on the bus going forward. Meeting many of you “masked” members, who had nothing to hide, I found you were as strong as the beautiful stones that built this church (the Word of Christ the head cornerstone of course.) It’s clear to me you've not only survived the storms of 2019 and 2020, but you're stronger and leaner because of it. At the core, you are a remarkable, loving, learning, growing, generous, and questioning body of Christ. With Kevin Long as your next pastor, I believe you are set to begin a new and exciting way of institutional and faithful leadership in Birmingham and the Presbyterian Church (USA) going forward.


welcome

TO

IPC

As far as Anita and me back in Jacksonville, we're waiting for whatever new wind might blow to lift us up again, stronger and more grateful for the next thing. I can’t imagine it being more joyful and fulfilling than being in Birmingham with you, nor do I imagine it will be another interim ministry. However, God’s ways are not my ways, which is a good thing. Don’t be surprised to find us dropping in every now and then to say hello and worship with you as the body of Christ called IPC. Gratefully in Christ,

Chase, Virginia, Hill, & Walker Couch

Amanda & Lant Davis

Tammy & Eric Ponder

Rob, Katie, Madeline, Julie, & Dorothy Sorabella

Grace Daniels

Linda Jolley

Rev. Melissa Self Patrick

Emma Stewart

JD Tyler

New Members

New Members

New Members

Steve Goyer Interim Pastor

The Window is a quarterly publication of Independent Presbyterian Church, 3100 Highland Avenue South. The Window is published for church members and friends.

New Staff, Youth Intern

New Members

New Staff, Administrative Assistant, Part Time

JOINING IPC If you are new to IPC or considering a new church home, we would be delighted for you to contact us.

Cindy Shaw Assistant Engagement and Assimilation Coordinator 205-933-3696 cshaw@ipc-usa.org

New Staff, Director of Community Ministry & Outreach

New Staff, Assistant Director of Youth Ministries

New Staff, Director of Youth Faith Formation

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Stacy Pulliam Engagement and Assimilation Coordinator 205-933-3690 spulliam@ipc-usa.org


CH U RCH L IFE

WELCOME KEVIN LONG TO IPC

W

e joyfully announce IPC's new Pastor and Head of Staff. The congregation unanimously voted to extend a call to Kevin Long. See our recent Q&A with him to learn more as we prepare to welcome the Long family to Birmingham. AT WHAT MOMENT DID YOU KNOW YOU WERE CALLED TO THE MINISTRY? I was living in New York City at the time when I first sensed God’s call into ministry, but it actually took place in Pittsburgh, where I was back visiting friends and family over a weekend. I went to worship at a church where a dear friend of my dad’s, a man named Ken Bailey, was guest preaching. During one of the hymns we sang in that service, “I, the Lord of Sea and Sky” (Here I Am, Lord), I had what I can only call a lightning-bolt moment in which I had a clear sense that God was calling me to go to seminary—the one thing I had spent my life insisting I would never do. It still took quite a bit of arguing with God before I finally surrendered to that call.

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WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE THEOLOGIAN? Lesslie Newbigin is probably my favorite theologian, but N.T. Wright would certainly be near the top of my list. I was also shaped heavily by Craig Barnes, Ken Bailey, T.F. Torrance, Andrew Purves, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Will Willimon, and Eugene Peterson, to name a few. WHAT WILL YOU AND YOUR FAMILY MISS MOST ABOUT PITTSBURGH? What we will miss most about Pittsburgh are the dear friends we have made here, especially in the church. Living in the manse on church property, the congregation has really become an extended family for all of us, as our kids have grown up running around the campus. We will also miss some of our favorite restaurants. And, of course, James and I will miss going to see the Steelers play.

THE REV. KEVIN LONG IS SHOWN WITH HIS WIFE, REBECCA, AND FAMILY: JAMES (17), JESSICA (14), KATELYN (13), AND THEIR DOG, BISCUIT.

WHAT IS ONE THING YOU AND YOUR FAMILY WANT TO DO TOGETHER ONCE YOU ARE SETTLED IN BIRMINGHAM? Perhaps the most important thing we need to do is find the best pizza shops in town. The Longs love pizza. WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO MOST IN YOUR NEW ROLE AT IPC? I am most looking forward to getting to know everyone on staff and in the congregation. I realize that will take a long time. But every church has its own personality, and it is always interesting to discover what that is. I am also excited to learn about the different gifts and passions in the congregation, which God can use to build his kingdom in Birmingham. Perhaps most of all, I am excited to discover what it is that our risen Savior has in store for all of us in the years to come. WHAT CAN WE AS MEMBERS OF IPC DO TO SUPPORT YOU AS PASTOR OF IPC? Several things would be very helpful. First, tell me your name every time we see each other. There are so many of you, and it will take a long time, and much repetition, to learn who everyone is. Of course, the only way that can happen is if you are there. So

THE REV. KEVIN J. LONG WILL BEGIN SERVING AS THE NEW PASTOR OF IPC LATER THIS SUMMER.

come to church and get involved! WHAT IS THE LAST BOOK YOU READ, AND WAS IT AN AUDIOBOOK OR REGULAR BOOK? Actually, the last book I have read, and I only read with an actual book in my hands, is the 14th and final book in The Wheel of Time fantasy novel series. Ever since I read The Chronicles of Narnia in elementary school and The Lord of the Rings in middle school, I have loved that genre of literature.


C O N T I N U E D F R O M COV E R PAGE

• •

Connect event and 110 at Virginia Samford Theatre for the second event. A newly formed Family Ministry Team who has been conducting “Porch Sessions,” which are relational one-on-one meetings with every parent in the church. Standing room only at Iron City Grill as we brought back Beer & Hymns An average of 25 Members in the Middle who meet each week for dinner, fellowship, and a study of Philippians

WE WE LCOMED AGES 2, 3, 4, & 5 AT VACAT ION BIBL E SCHOOL T O VISIT A DV EN TU RE IS LAND AND EXPL ORE T HE WAYS GOD'S GREAT L IGHT SHINES IN T HE W O RLD.

Each Sunday we’ve been able to worship God alongside each other, face-to-face, once again.

As we joyfully await the arrival of our new pastor Kevin Long and his family, staff and members are working hard together for a fall season filled with opportunities to encounter God, engage God’s Word, grow together as God’s people, and participate in God’s work in the world. Here are just a few things we are looking forward to this fall: • Expanded opportunities for Sunday Morning study for adults of all ages and life stages. • Resuming Wednesday Noon Day Chapel.

THANK YOU T O T HE AMAZING W OMEN W HO VOL UNT EER AS T RIBAL MO M S ALLOW ING IPC T O GIVE BIBL ET IMES MARKET PL ACE T O T HE CHIL DREN O F IP C .

A revamped Wednesday night gathering. • IPC Connect Events each month for adults of all ages. • Marriage enrichment seminar with date nights for all adults. This all begins at the churchwide Fall Kick-Off Event on Aug. 15 in Rushton Park (see back cover to learn more). We’re looking forward to brighter days. And for us, that means…
 1. Seeing your smiling face walk into the church and grab a cup of coffee in the parlor. 2. Seeing how your faith expands after a tough year. 3. Seeing you grow into the person God has called you to be.

It all boils down to seeing you. And we know there are others seeking a church home. We’ve seen many new visitors this summer who have voiced their need for a faith community during this time. Since the pandemic closures, many people have fallen out of the habit of going to church and connecting with God and God’s people. We hope that this fall is an opportunity to come back and invite someone to come with you. If this time has taught us anything, it’s that we are better when we are together as the body of Christ. We are eager to welcome you as you return and the new people God will bring into our midst.

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We’ve grown in our Sunday School classes as: • Rising 2-year-olds through 5K have been gathering together in person. • First grade through sixth grade have been meeting in person for Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. • Youth have been gathering along with a large group of adults for Jeff Leonard’s class to discuss “Seekers in the Hands of an Elusive God.” • Parents have been meeting at the Bridges Sunday School class to navigate the complexities of marriage, children, and family relationships with Dr. Stewart Jackson.


C HU RCH L IFE

MISSIO N

THANK YOU FOR YOUR MINISTRY: IPC SAYS FAREWELL TO DR. STEVE GOYER

"

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Steve has always admitted that he was quick to speak his mind (even if it got him in some trouble from time to time). But, he’s also quick to listen, especially to those who disagree with him. Not once did I see him shy away from jumping into a momentous and potentially conflictridden conversation. However, he did so with the deep abiding trust that with Christ as her Head, the Church can handle anything that comes her way, because God is bigger than that which may divide us. He modeled this trust to us at a very important time in the life of the church and for me personally. Without his guidance and (gentle) kick in the pants, I would’ve probably still been meandering along the ordination process. He has been a mentor and friend who has had an impact on my life and the life of IPC for the better." ~Rev. David Seamon, Associate Pastor, Faith Formation

DR. GOYER BEGAN HIS FINAL SERMON SERIES "WHAT IPC VALUES" ON SUNDAY, JUNE 27.

"

Steve stepped in as our Interim Pastor at a very difficult moment as the pandemic had just sent us into lockdown not long before he arrived. The church building was closed, the staff worked mostly from home for the first three months of the pandemic, worship was livestreamed with no one in the sanctuary but pastors and a few choir members, all church meetings and classes took place on Zoom—it was a strange time for all of us and a particularly difficult time to step into the role of Interim Pastor of any congregation. While it was a harder time for him to get to know the membership at IPC for a while, he got to know the staff quickly, even if it was mostly on screens for a while. I am grateful Steve was willing to take on such a challenge. He has been a great supporter and cheerleader for the staff at IPC in his time here. He has done the hard work of helping us all figure out staff restructuring in a time of numerous important staff transitions. He gives ample praise where praise is appropriate, he coaches when coaching is needed, and he provides a listening ear when that is what a staff member needs. Personally, he has been so helpful to me as I have been in transition in my own work as a pastor of IPC. He affirmed my move from Community Ministries to Congregational Care and has been quick to offer his support in my new role. I am grateful for his honesty, his affirming spirit, his faithful preaching of the Word, and his willingness to wade into the deep end with us at IPC in so many ways. Thank you, Steve!" ~Rev. Susan Clayton, Associate Pastor, Congregational Care and Adult Faith Formation

"

Rev. Goyer has been the steady hand we have needed during an important time of transition for IPC. He has been very supportive of our search process, highly mindful of the particulars of Presbyterian policy, and always careful to articulate the reasoning behind our procedures. We have accomplished much in the technical realm, such as new bylaws and a revised staff structure, but more importantly, we have regained the skill of engaging each other in civil discourse, understanding that we are united in Christ and that our focus should be to relentlessly serve Him in all that we do." ~George Taylor, IPC President of Congregation

"

I'm a big fan of Steve Goyer. I think he has been a marvelous blessing to this congregation. One thing I particularly admire about him is his refusal to endorse certainties, other than the certainty of the grace of God. I admire his poetic imagination and his habit of making connections between Scripture, stories, current news, and the care of Creation. I enjoy his self-deprecating humor, except that he deprecates himself far too much, in my opinion. He doesn't mind revealing himself as an emotional and caring man—either quick to feel and quick to tears, without being embarrassed about it. But he's rock solid in every way I've experienced his presence here. I especially like it when he comments on some present human audacity and then looks at us quizzically from the pulpit and says, 'Really?' It makes me sad that he's leaving us, but it seems he's leaving us in good shape. He'll very likely come and see us again at times, I do hope." ~Linda Nelson, IPC Member


" "

Steve and I had two common bonds other than Pastor and member. Our first wives had died at relatively young ages, his in an automobile accident and mine of breast cancer, and we both had been remarried for approximately the same length of time. We spent one late afternoon over drinks sharing our journeys. The other was our love of golf. He is a very good golfer and played with me nevertheless. Besides our friendship, the thing I most valued about Steve as Pastor is that he is a unifier and helped IPC in that capacity." ~Lee Walthall, IPC Member

DR. GOYER AND HIS FAMILY. TOP ROW (L TO R): DAUGHTER AMANDA, WIFE ANITA, DAUGHTER MEGHAN. BOTTOM ROW (L TO R): GRANDCHILDREN FINN & BROOKLYN

"

The first Sunday the Goyers arrived at IPC, I introduced myself as Zoe Cassimus's friend. Zoe is a mutual friend with family in Jacksonville. On that day, there was already a special place in my heart for them. Anita was so delightful—beautiful in her bright yellow dress. We hit it off immediately and arranged for lunch that week— socially distancing and a two-hour long non-stop lunch. Dr. G and I began to have dinners together (he's a great chef), and oftentimes we ate Kim's amazing curbside meals, all masked and socially distancing while enjoying them each at the opposite end of his huge kitchen island. His Hearth. Dr. G has touched my life in so many major unforgettable ways. We have laughed uncontrollably, cried the same, and molded this special amazing lasting friendship. Anita coined it 'Frat Night.'

F A R E W E L L T O D R . G O Y E R O N J U LY 1 8 Dr. Steve Goyer will preach his last sermon on Sunday, July 18, officially ending his interim ministry at IPC. During morning worship, he will conclude the “What IPC Values” sermon series at the 8:45 am and 11 am services, and you are invited to a congregational farewell reception to be held from 9:45 to 10:45 am. Join us that evening for dinner, celebration, and conversation with Dr. Goyer as he guides the final discussion of the "I've been meaning to ask” series during the Table worship service.

He and I talked about major events in our lives. I am going to have a very hard time seeing the Goyers leave, but never saying 'goodbye.' I know there's a perfect Bible passage that would describe my feelings. I remember being so sad when Brian Lays left us, but on the other hand, I was so thrilled to think of what God would accomplish through his life at Riverside, which is The Greater Kingdom of God that we should always consider, correct? Having said that, I know that the Goyers will continue their lives in whatever God has for them in His plan, and they will touch many more lives as they have mine. His amazing sermons have made me stronger in my faith, confident of who I am, and what I believe. I find myself loving deeper, respecting those who I don't always agree with, always trying to find a common ground, and being 'kind' not just 'nice.' There's always been a common thread in his sermons. As humans, we have an innate need to be together in community and in faith, love, and beauty. That is IPC...that is 'our' song. I am finding some comfort in one of my favorite Broadway Musical Songs from Wicked. It's For The Good. The words say, 'So much of me is [made of] what I learned from you. ... Because I knew you, I have been changed for good.'" ~Robert Hill, IPC Member

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What I’ve said since May of 2020 is even more true today, “Thank you for saying 'yes!' You walked with us through the past 14 months of change asking only for our best, and we are in a new place because of it. I’ll be forever grateful for your generous counsel and leadership. Thank you! Your encouragement to do whatever we do in an 'orderly and decent' manner allowed us to do hard work and make big decisions together. We now have bylaws! It’s a good man and true follower of the Holy Spirit who leaves his precious wife and home to come to a fragile congregation during the most uncertain time in life any of us has ever known. It was all a God thing!" ~Judy Matthews, IPC Past President of Congregation


L EA RN

LEARNING, LOVE, AND F U N AT T H E F A R M

"

What a thrill to see students back at the Children's Fresh Air Farm for in-person learning this summer! Time to try to make up for some of the educational time we lost to Covid-19 and all of the obstacles it placed in students' way this school year. Academic progress is crucial, but even more important is the love and personal growth Summer Learning students will experience up at the Farm this summer. Thank you, Lord, for this sacred and beautiful place that has been nurturing the children of Birmingham for almost 100 years!" ~Margaret Cobbs, Chair of the Children's Fresh Air Farm Committee

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"

I have had the privilege to work at the Children’s Fresh Air Farm for five summers now. It’s been amazing to watch it grow in size and with the students' needs. I am fortunate enough to have been given the opportunity to teach the 7th grade class this year—the same class that I taught in the 4th grade, my first year teaching at the Farm. The first day of camp was shocking—the little kids that I knew from 4th grade were now young ladies and young men! Now I witness the students use the skills we taught in 4th grade to be strong leaders for the camp and their community every day. Due to Covid-19, students have been stuck in their homes and going through the struggles of virtual and hybrid learning. While many may question the name of the Children’s Fresh Air Farm, this summer it is indeed living up to its name. As the second week of camp is wrapping up, students have been participating in small group learning all around the Farm! It is truly a blessing for both students and teachers to have some 'fresh air' this summer after a long year in education due to the pandemic." ~Marion Dukes, SLP Teacher

S U M M E R L E A R N I N G AT T H E FA R M

One of IPC's oldest outreach missions

B Y CAT HERINE GOUDREAU, IPC DIRECT OR OF CHIL DREN AND YOUT H MINIST RIES, CHIL DREN’S F RESH AIR FARM PROGRAM DIRECT OR

At the beginning of 2021, I found myself wondering what the Summer Learning Program (SLP) at the Children’s Fresh Air Farm might look like this year. The committee quickly decided that we had to find a safe way for children to be there in person. Birmingham City Schools students had not received in-person instruction in over a year, and data about learning loss, loss in social-emotional skills, and the need for physical activity and healthy food was staggering. We decided on some program modifications that we felt would keep everyone safe. For the last 12 years, IPC has operated the SLP at the Farm as a way to support students during the summer and help prevent the “summer slide.” Statistically, students who are not engaged in academics in the summer can lose two to three months of academic gain. In contrast, our students make gains of two to three months in reading and up to six months in math skills. In the mornings, campers receive three hours of academic instruction from certified teachers and volunteers. They work in small groups with at least two to three adults in every classroom so that the instruction they need is always on their level. Students enjoy a delicious breakfast, lunch, and snack daily, and each day our younger students participate in chapel while our older students engage in Bible study. This summer we’ve been studying the life of Jesus. In the afternoons, we operate like a traditional summer camp, giving kids the opportunity to just be kids! We have tennis, art, music, drama, PE, playground time, swim instruction and free swim, cooking, gardening, lacrosse, drumming, bird house building, and more. On Fridays, our campers participate in field trips to explore their city and serve as a reward for the hard work they do all week long. While we worried about how Covid-19 might impact us, we also knew this would be the most important year ever to offer students a high-quality summer program where they could learn, grow, and play together. We are so proud of the almost 80 graduates of our program and cannot wait to be back together soon.


YOURS IN CHRIST

IPC Youth Ministry

BY J.D. T YL ER, DIRECT OR O F Y O U TH FAIT H F ORMAT ION

It has been such a great summer for our youth at IPC. We’ve had youth serve as tribal assistants at Bibletimes Marketplace, serve dinner to the wonderful women at First Light, attend a Barons’ game, and gather together on Tuesday nights to grill out on the patio at Highland Hall.

STEWARDSHIP

Return. Reconnect. Renew.

B Y K E N N O N WALTHALL, S TE WAR DS HIP MINIS TRY T EAM CHAIR

"Return to me, for I have redeemed you." ~Isaiah 44:22 The doors of our beloved church are now open again, and we can return. Return to gather and worship. Return to reconnect and live out our faith together. Return to find whatever sanctuary we need to renew from our uncertain world.

Every time we meet, I’m so encouraged and excited for all that God has in store for our program. In between our times with youth, we’re doing all we can to prepare for full programming come this fall. With Confirmation, Sunday School, Sunday night Youth Group, and Wednesday night Bible studies all ahead of us, there is much to prepare and much more to anticipate. God is moving in the lives of our youth, and I can’t wait to see all that He does!

You’ll find the word "return" more than 400 times in the Bible, and the Stewardship Ministry Team has found ample inspiration in returning to IPC. On behalf of our team, I introduce this year’s stewardship campaign theme: "Return. Reconnect. Renew." We express our gratitude to church leaders and to you for your service and your gifts that have allowed us to return to our church home. Please look for more information soon about our annual stewardship campaign.

Stewardship Ministry Team Members Kennon Walthall (chair) Alan Drennen Beth Hillhouse Rich McRoberts Paul Simmons Sumner Starling Fairy Sutherland Staff: Denise Moore, Stacy Pulliam, Lindsay Jones, and Patricia Harper

IPC YOUT H SERVED AS T RIBA L ASSISTANT S AT T HIS YEAR'S BIBL ET IMES MARKET PL ACE HELD AT T HE CHIL DREN'S F RESH AIR FA RM IN JUNE.

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In the meantime, join us at the Fall Kick-Off Event on August 15 (see back cover). Our team will be there sharing in the joy of returning, reconnecting, and renewing with our IPC family. We also have a sweet treat in store for you at the event.


M I S S ION

HUNGER AND FOOD INSECURITY DURING A PANDEMIC

B Y LYD I A C H E N E Y, HUNGE R & FOOD INS E CUR ITY COMMIT T EE CHAIR

T

he Hunger and Food Insecurity Sub-Committee is part of the Community Ministries Team. Since March 2020, this smaller group has been addressing food needs in our community. Early in the pandemic, the IPC Food Pantry was forced to close and has not yet reopened. A team member suggested we establish another way to offer food to our neighbors. After some research, we purchased two large, outdoor-friendly cabinets, which we named Blessing Boxes to hold canned and packaged food as well as paper products/hygiene items. They are placed outside near the Community Ministries entry near the IPC storage door on 31st Street. Each week a group of dedicated volunteers, called Pantry Partners, purchases food and hygiene items for both containers. Items go fast, especially paper and hygiene, as food stamps do not cover the cost of most paper and cleaning products necessary for a home. Access to Blessing Boxes is from 10 am to 4 pm Monday through Friday. Staff have observed that the hygiene cabinet

is emptied almost every day. With the exceptions of canned meats, dry milk, snacks, and pop-top fruit items, food items don’t go quite as fast on a regular basis. How many people visit the Blessing Boxes? We do not have a firm count as the cabinets do not have a “counter” mechanism for how many times the doors are opened. What’s the monetary value of the contents of both cabinets? When fully stocked, a recent survey/tally showed the value to be approximately $500. Blessing Box users include individuals, families, and nearby homeless communities. Mrs. S., a woman in her 40's told a volunteer, “I don’t know what I’d do without this. I lost my job in the pandemic and my husband is barely working.” Another homeless man told a staff member, “Your church has kept a group of us alive with your food.” The Pantry Partners are faithful supporters of this effort. Other generous donors have provided funds, both cash gifts and endowed funds. The sub-committee (Lydia Cheney, Susan Dukes, Anna James, Pat Lazarus, Pam McLean, Betsy Middlebrooks,

Melissa Robinett, Liz Saunders, and David Woodruff ) anticipates the need for Blessing Boxes will extend beyond 2021. We thank everyone who has supported this program to make it successful.

IPC Blessing Boxes PLEASE HELP US STOCK SUMMER ESSENTIALS •

Water bottles & Gatorade (individual sizes)

Canned meats

Peanut butter

Jelly

Fruit cups

Pop-top canned fruit and soups

Powdered milk

Toothbrushes

Toothpaste

Deodorant

Toilet paper

Paper towels

Laundry detergent (small)

Pet food (small bags & cans for dogs and cats)

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Thank you for your extra compassion and quick response! Questions: Contact Lisa Holloway at lholloway@ipc-usa.org or (205) 933-3725 I PC 'S B L E S S I N G B O X E S ON 3 1 S T S TR E E T S OUTH.


PA R T N E R S H I P S

Creative Ways To Meet Need In addition to the Blessing Boxes, the Community Ministries Team discovered and developed new, creative partnerships during the pandemic.

COMMUNITY MINISTRIES

Hunger Never Takes a Summer Vacation

B Y R E V. M E L I S S A S E LF PATR ICK, DIR E CTOR OF COMMUNIT Y MINIST RIES AND OUTREACH

This summer, IPC Community Ministries is paying close attention to the people behind newly released poverty data. Alabama Possible’s “Barriers to Prosperity” Data Sheet 2021 reports that 16.2% of Jefferson County residents struggle below the poverty thresholds (1 person, $13,000 annual income; 4 people, $26,172 annual income). Of our neighbors and beloved families we serve who are struggling in poverty, 22.5% (or approximately 150,730) are children, and 20% of Jefferson County children are food insecure (14.4% total number of people in Jefferson County are food insecure). Get involved and help IPC Community Ministries provide extra support for our vulnerable, food insecure, and temporarily unhoused neighbors: First Light Shelter for Homeless Women and Children IPC is providing and serving supper for 30 women and children at First Light, August 22-28. We are in need of volunteers and supper for each night that week. You can sign up online at ipc-usa.org/connect. Donate to the Blessing Box Food Ministry Donations can be dropped off or sent via a delivery service from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday to IPC Community Ministries' entrance on 31st St. South. You can also make a financial contribution online at ipcusa.org. Help Feed Neighbors in Need We're helping Highlands UMC to provide 50 sacked lunches every Tuesday for the homeless. You can sign up online at ipc-usa.org/connect.

The silver lining is that we are able to serve double the number of people previously served in our Food Pantry, and these neighbors, friends, and STAIR families only have to make one stop instead of the usual two-stop, pre Covid-19 process. Our team is discerning whether or not to maintain this process after summer. We have also appreciated partnerships with Rojo and Bogue’s restaurants, who with our congregation’s support, provided thousands of free meals for our neighbors. With summer’s arrival and their businesses picking up, both have decided to bring this pandemic partnership program to a close. We are thankful for the owners and friends at Rojo and Bogue’s and encourage you to thank them next time you dine with them.

11 | IPC | THE WINDOW

M E M B E R S O F SUS AN CLAY TON’S BIBLE S TUDY GROUP VOL UNT EERING AT F I R S T L I G H T I N J UNE .

We expanded our relationship with City Meats in Woodlawn and have sent up to 75 households per week to this family-run grocery store, where they receive non-perishable food as well as two kinds of meat, two bags of frozen vegetables, and fresh milk and eggs.


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Save the Date

J O I N US FOR I P C'S FA LL K I C K- O F F O N S U N DAY, AU GUST 1 5 Special Events Include 10–10:50 am: Adults visit Highland Hall for a light breakfast and to learn about IPC’s ministries. Explore booths to get involved or reconnect through weekly and Sunday classes, congregational events, small groups, community ministries, and other faith formation opportunities. Sunday School classes begin the following weekend. 10–10:50 am: Children, Youth, and Youth Confirmation classes begin. Attend Sunday School for the first day of the fall term curriculum. Noon–2 pm: All are invited to a multi-generational congregational event immediately following the 11 am worship service. Find food trucks, tents, live music, yard games, inflatables, door prizes, and other fun activities on 31st Street and at neighboring Rushton Park.

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Morning and evening worship services to be held at regular times: 8:45 am, 11 am, and 5 pm. Casual dress for worship services. Find the latest information Visit IPC’s website to learn more about our Fall Kick-Off and to subscribe to our congregational e-newsletters. To be sure you receive our e-newsletters, please add or update your contact information at ipc-usa.org.