August 7, 2023

There’s a lot going on in the presbytery this month and I thought I’d share a few of the happenin’ things. When my siblings and I used to lovingly call our mother out for what we perceived to be gossip, she was aghast and declared emphatically, “It’s not gossip; it’s just sharing prayer joys and concerns.” So here are few of the prayer joys and concerns from around Sheppards and Lapsley this month:

  • We are excited to hold two services of installation this month. The Rev. In Chan Bae will be installed as pastor at the Korean Presbyterian Church of Birmingham this Sunday, August 13th at 4:30pm. And Nicole Newton will be installed as Associate Pastor at First Presbyterian, Birmingham on Sunday, August 20th at 3:00pm. Services of installation are services of the presbytery and the whole presbytery is invited. It is a joy to welcome these new leaders!
  • Covenant Presbyterian Church is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this Sunday! One of our new church developments, Covenant is an important Presbyterian witness in the Aniston area. God bless you for your faithfulness, past, present, and future!
  • Two of our churches are engaged in pastoral searches (and learning to maneuver the new denominational matching system which is being rolled out this summer). South Highland Presbyterian Church (Birmingham) and Grace Presbyterian (Tuscaloosa) are each seeking Sr. Pastors and their search committees are well underway with the help of their liaisons from the Commission on Ministry.
  • Two of our churches, Five Mile and Fairfield Highlands are in the process of laying down their historic ministries.
  • Two churches, Reform Presbyterian and Odenville Presbyterian are seeking to dissolve their relationship with the PCUSA. Reform is seeking to be dismissed to another reformed denomination and Odenville is seeking to simply disassociate and become independent. The Presbytery has formed an Administrative Commission for each of these congregations and will report out to the presbytery for its action when their work is complete.
  • Two of our churches, 2nd Presbyterian (Homewood) and Edgewood Presbyterian (Homewood) are in the process of discernment towards a possible merger. They, too, are aided by a presbytery-elected Administrative Commission.
  • Stillman College has elected a new president – Dr. Yolanda W. Page. We will have the pleasure of meeting Dr. Page at our August presbytery meeting.
  • We are thrilled to host William Yoo, Columbia Presbyterian Theological Seminary professor and author of What Kind of Christianity: A History of Slavery and Anti-Black Racism in the Presbyterian Church for a one-day event on Monday, August 21st at Mountain Brook Presbyterian Church from 8:30am-3:00pm. Following Dr. Yoo’s presentation, former PCUSA Co-Moderator, Dr. Greg Bentley will be on hand to respond and to facilitate discussion. Registration is open and the link is on the presbytery’s website under “Events.” I hope to see you there!
  • There are up-coming rally days aplenty all throughout the presbytery as the summer comes to and end and a new program year begins. May God bless and make fruitful all the plans carefully and faithfully being offered.


Ok. That’s it for the joys and concerns for this month. To everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven. Thanks be to God.


As ever in prayer,


Sue Westfall

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